- Words Monique Boreland
Ella Bull talks us through her bespoke ring designs, including the thought process behind her "boob ring"
Ella Bull is a London based jewellery designer known for her visionary collections. Stemming from a formal knowledge of gemmology, metallurgy, craftsmanship and design, Ella’s collections span across precious metals and stones– slivers, golds, diamonds, opals and rubies, the result of which is ultra unique elegance.
A stand-out piece includes the iconic “boob ring”, a laser engraved breast outlined ring made to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Adorned with pink tourmalines to dot the nipples, the design was followed by a successful visual campaign with humorous hashtags (#getyourbapsout, #nicepair, #hotboobs) that saw 10% of all sales donated to a breast cancer charity.
At her studio within Peckham Levels, we sat down with the bespoke designer to talk influence, future plans and more!
How did you start you career in jewellery crafting?
It was a gamble, I moved to London for a years apprenticeship at The British Academy of Jewellery (without a job lined up) however I proceeded to gain valuable experience working within various jewellers, as well as working on feature films as a costume prop modeller – creating costume jewellery. I have also gained qualifications from the Gemological Institute of America as a jewellery professional – this provided much knowledge in gemology and metallurgy, with the addition of my passion for craftsmanship and design I was set on the path to start my own jewellery business. The technical skillset and business savvy I learnt from these varied ventours is priceless. Putting hours of practice in, was and still is necessary to refine the craft of goldsmithing.
How does your British heritage influence your designs?
It’s not so much my British Heritage that is the influence, but traditional British jewellery design itself. You can’t go wrong with timeless classics like the signet ring, I love to recreate symbolic piece’s with a minimal and modern aesthetic. I hope that my style embraces these piece’s and highlights the beauty in them.
What’s your favourite design and why?
I can’t answer that – it’d be like choosing my favourite mate! My taste and designs are always evolving which makes my job really exciting. To keep myself engaged I need to be constantly challenged, so when someone comes to me with an idea, I love to run with it and develop the design throughout the making process. There’s nothing more exciting than sitting down and thinking ‘How am I going to make that?!’ and the resulting piece becoming better than expected. That’s my favourite. It is also always a real pleasure to work with someone on a bespoke engagement ring – you feel a connection with the piece and couple as you know it’s hopefully going to stay with them for a long time! It’s an honour to be involved in that process.
How long does it usually take for you to create a design?
How long is a piece of string! Something simple can be completed in ½ a day or alternatively I can spend months agonising over making a ring perfect. To find common ground my turnaround time for a commission is around 8 weeks.
Your ring designs and campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness month were striking (photo attached). What was the idea behind that? / Will you be doing something similar in the future?
The design actually started as a commission for a client, it then evolved into a series of rings – identical but for different nipple colours. The ring itself is playful and I tried to imagine a way in which it could be marketed that was also playful. People seemed to engage in the project, I think this was due to a few different reasons – the design of the piece; the meaningful cause behind it and also the interactive way they could get involved.
New rings have been designed and made with a similar idea in mind, I’m just waiting for the right time to move forward with them. There is a cervical cancer screening awareness week coming up later in the year.
Anything exciting coming up?
Right now is a very exciting time for me. Currently lots of opportunities are being presented, often in the form of collaborations and projects in areas I haven’t worked in before. Along with this I’m having a lot of fun working out the direction I take the business as it evolves from infancy to adolescence. I don’t want to give away too much away, but watch this space…