Last month, we were invited to the press evening of a brand which instantly won us over – VIERI. Established by the very talented Guya Merkle, VIERI is a fine jewellery brand dedicated to its ethical ethos. Combining intricately striking designs with an overarching principle of sustainable conduct (the designer only uses recycled gold for her collections), we were instantly won over by the brand’s novel concept. Intrigued by Guya’s journey, we sat down with the design talent to discuss her sources of inspiration, sustainability and all things jewellery.
The VIERI Journey
Guya: I inherited the company after the sudden death of my father. At the beginning it was quite hard for me to run the business as I was just 21 years old. However, after some years I decided change was needed, and that I would need to find the missing link, and bring my personality into the company. I discovered this on my journey to Peru, after my GIA in London.Visiting the gold mines and seeing how difficult and harmful gold mining is for people and this planet, I finally found my purpose in this business: making beautiful and responsible jewellery that brings the best to everybody who gets in touch with it.
The Many Sources of Inspiration
Guya: Women are my inspiration, especially their strength in combining and handling so many roles at once. My debut collection for VIERI is dedicated to the transformation women can go through by using clouds in all their shapes and colours. For me a cloud is a wonderful symbol to reflect what women are able to to and just how wonderful they are.
A Usual Day in Guya’s Life
Guya: It always starts quite early as my little son does not like to sleep for long. I like that, because it gives me some more time with him, to play or read a book, and have breakfast with him, before I drop him off to day care. After that, I head straight to the office. Juggling motherhood and building up a business can be quite difficult. I always try and balance meetings and quiet time at the office to go through new ideas, designs and plan new partnerships. I really do enjoy quiet moments, but also meetings, where creativity flows and new partnerships are formed. I always try to combine as many meetings as possible when it comes to traveling, to reduce my carbon footprint – this works quite well and I always love visiting new cities.
Sustainability Meets Jewellery Design
Guya: It’s not just about the design, but even more about the materials. We use recycled gold for all our collections and when it comes to gems, we always look for the best sources we can use stones from. We also use a lot of recycled stones (from previous jewellery pieces) for the one-of a kind masterpieces. One of the most important steps we made is giving back by partnering up with the Earthbeat foundation, which I founded 2013. It is about bringing alternative income solutions, trainings and education to gold mining communities, and to empower them and uplift their livelihoods. In my opinion it is important to create partnerships instead of exploitation.
The Impact of Social Media
Guya: When I took over VIERI 5 years ago, social media was already a thing, but far away from what it is now. It is a great tool, to connect with people and to tell your story. You can reach a lot of people with similar interests, and spread the VIERI brand story. Working with the right people can bring a higher reach, and the great thing is you can directly communicate with your audience. I really like that!
The Insider Tip for Aspiring Designers
Guya: Always believe in your vision and yourself. Follow your inner voice and trust your feelings you know best. Also, don’t give up too early – it can be a long journey to success, but on the way you learn so much about everything and it is absolutely worth it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – I’ve made plenty of them, and it lead me to were I am today.
Follow VIERI: @vierifinejewellery