What is Tohum’s philosophy, and what prompted you to establish a jewellery brand?
Tohum was born out of a deep passion for the simplest forms of beauty. I wanted to create a brand that is all about life in its purest, most beautiful form, and I combined this with my love for original pieces that express individuality. The Tohum philosophy celebrates every stone's unique natural beauty with expressive design.
Were you always interested in jewellery design? Did you dream about becoming a jewellery designer? How did your career lead you to Tohum?
I have always loved jewellery but never thought I would become a jewellery designer. I have always been intrigued about natural materials and their beauty. I came to discover tribal arts, especially body adornment, during my many years of travel and their striking natural simplicity captivated me. I dreamed of making beautiful pieces from wearable nature. That is how it all began…
What kinds of materials and techniques do you use to create your designs?
Every Tohum design is a bespoke piece, handcrafted using traditional techniques. We enhance the character of each stone, and work with materials in their purest essence. We don’t use machinery to duplicate pieces. In terms of materials, we use all kinds of things that come from nature: crystals, fossils, meteorites, almonds, shells, corals, wood…
What are your favourite stones and materials?
I love working with antique tribal ivory, crystals and wood. But every stone and material has its own beauty and it’s a real pleasure to discover it, both for the maker and the wearer.
Where do you find the stones? Can you tell us a bit about the process of choosing stones for your designs?
I love to travel. I have a deep connection to Africa and that’s where I find very special pieces. I choose my stones on the road, everywhere I go – mostly Africa, but also Europe, Asia and the Middle East. I always choose them personally, one at a time. This selection process is a big part of the way I design. The shape, weight, gloss and pattern of the stones are the initial indications of what will become a unique piece of design. And the feeling I get when I first see them is the inspiration for the creative idea.
In addition to your collections, you also create custom-made pieces for your clients. How do you select a stone suited to a certain individual?
This is one of my favourite ways of working. First, I try to find out as much as possible about the person. Their character, passions and values are defining pieces of information that lead to a piece that truly expresses them. Lifestyle and physical attributes are also important because they inspire a sense of aesthetic. Based on what I discover about the person, I come up with ideas that would best capture them, and I work with materials, shapes and colours that suit them best. The whole process of design becomes entirely personal, a journey that we take together.
Can you tell us about the first piece you ever designed?
I made my very first piece out of a West African trading shell. I found this special artefact at one of my favourite tribal art galleries in New York and fell in love with it instantly. I remember placing it in my hand and wanting to keep it with me forever. Then came the first idea and the very first Tohum: an unusual, oversized, flat shell ring. To this day, this is what I wear most of the time.
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