Jewellery designer TOMASZ DONOCIK, who recently moved into a new showroom in the hip London neighbourhood of Shoreditch, is building his brand identity as an artist who innovatively expresses his love of colour. Drawing inspiration from the Art Deco movement, his creations are strikingly bold, exuding confidence through angular and geometric designs. In an interview at his showroom, David Brough delves into Tomasz’s artistic journey to uncover the essence of his unique creations.
How did you get into jewellery design?
I came to the UK from Austria at age 18 and did a foundation course at Central St Martins. My heritage is Polish, but I grew up in Austria.
At Central St Martins I discovered that jewellery was a way to express myself. Formerly in Vienna I did painting, but jewellery allowed me to express myself in a 3D format.
After getting my BA from Central St Martins, I studied goldsmithing, silversmithing, jewellery making and metalwork in a Master’s course at the Royal College of Art.
I evolved as an artist who specialised in jewellery.
Tell us about your early career?
After I graduated from the Royal College of Art, I was offered a design position at Stephen Webster, who discovered my work (particularly the Chesterfied bangle (pictured below). I was predominantly involved in the Stephen Webster men’s jewellery design team for a year.
I went on to freelance for De Beers, Garrard and other brands, and received a lot of interest from media. I then started developing my own brand around 2008.
In 2011, I won New Designer of the Year at the prestigious Professional Jeweller awards.
Furthermore, in 2013 I was asked to participate in the Rock Vault showcase, which was led by Stephen Webster and the British Fashion Council. This platform gave me the opportunity to exhibit at the Couture show in Las Vegas, where between 2013-2016, I won 5 awards ranging from Best Debuting Brand to Best Gem-Set Brand and Editors’ Choice.
In 2017, I was asked by the Goldsmiths Company to design and make the Diamond Stellar necklace (see below). This couture piece incorporated 19 carats of baguette diamonds set in platinum. To enable it to sit comfortably around the neck there are in total 266 hinges allowing it to flex.
My career moved forward, and I was stocked in Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, Neiman Marcus and Gembox (Boston), among others.
What is your design ethos?
I like working with baguettes. My pieces are Art Deco-inspired – bold and confident; angular and geometric. I love “painting with stones”. I mix precious and non-precious.
In men’s jewellery, I like using diamonds and leather. I love leather for its versatility. Some of our most creative pieces are in men’s jewels.
How is the market for men’s jewellery evolving?
In men’s jewellery, brooches are becoming more sought after. On the red carpet, more men are wearing brooches.
Pearls are also coming back. Cultured pearls are among the most sustainable materials.
Across your jewellery designs, what are your favourite materials to work with?
My favourite is emerald. The colour is enchanting, and I like seeing the veins, the imperfection. The emerald bears the earth’s fingerprints.
I admire the colour of stones such as hematite, malachite and howlite.
My favourite metal is rose gold, which works well for men and women, and brings a warm sensation.
How is the bespoke segment of your business doing?
We are growing in terms of bridal. We get more enquiries for centre stones that are alternative to diamonds, such as tourmalines. Clients come to us because they know we’re all about colour.
What are your plans for the future?
Valerie Demure, who is celebrated as a curator of exquisite fine jewellery pieces, will act as my sales representative. Our focus will be very much on developing Tomasz Donocik as a brand.
As a brand one needs to have a consistent message and a strong social media presence. Stores want to buy into brands.
Valerie will create a brand marketing strategy for wholesale and retail. Brands need to create a clear message and look.
You recently held a designer showcase “winter fair” event in your Shoreditch showroom, featuring other London-based designers. Will you stage more of these events?
Yes, we plan to stage these designer events here three times a year. There is no other designer shopping opportunity in London like this one. All of our nine participants sold pieces. Our next event will be in April 2024.