“I suppose people don’t know that I’m a rebel at heart,” she tells La Femme in a frank, easy- going interview that feels more like a chilled out chit chat. “People have this perception that jewellery designers are glamorous. However, I like to think I’m an earthy person, quite content with a raw stone around my neck, sitting on the beach,” she explains.
And despite this insistence on laid-back jewellery, the British jeweller counts some impressive names amongst her clientele: Nicole Scherzinger, Sienna Miller, Adele, Annie Lennox, Carrie Mulligan and the list goes on. Dinny celebrated her 30th anniversary in business in 2015, and has stayed true to her “earthy” approach she embraced back in 1985, when she set up her line shortly after graduating from Central Saint Martins. A year later, supermodel Christy Turlington was styled in a pair of Dinny’s earrings and the beat hasn’t stopped since then.
Do you have a background in jewellery artistry or was it completely new?
Completely new. As a child I discovered a little figure head with beautiful features. I bought it for something silly like two shillings (about 50 fils) and turns out it was a rather valuable Cartier piece with amazing sapphires, ruby lips and diamonds – such beautiful work and what a rare trinket. I was of course made to return it to the owner. From then on I suppose my love and eye for jewellery design began.
“Build up your jewellery wardrobe gradually, just as with clothes.”
How has your home country or upbringing influenced your design?
My designs are not influenced by my upbringing one little bit! I rejected the floral, 1970s Laura Ashley décor in the family house and never shared my parent’s taste, acting against my middle-class background.
What’s the first piece of advice you’d give to women when accessorising with jewellery?
Wear what you love and feel most comfortable in. I would suggest starting with one piece, whether it’s earrings or rings. Build up your jewellery wardrobe gradually just like you would do with your clothes. And play with your jewels! Dress them up or down.
Have you done any designs inspired by Arabia?
Not as of yet, but I’ve been strongly influenced by Moroccan culture, from the architecture to the patterns on old Islamic buildings. My Talitha collection in particular is inspired by this rich culture.
What is your favourite thing about the style of Middle Eastern women?
I have a rather romantic idea of Middle Eastern women and their fabulous style. I feel they can pull off more beautiful multi-coloured jewels and pile it on. Equally they look great of course in hoops! European women look better in paired down jewels, I think.
What is your favourite metal to work with?
I love both gold and silver, but technically you can’t go so bold with gold anymore.
What’s something about fine jewellery that people need to know?
Fine jewellery needs taking care of, just like a smart car. They are unique in their own little way and can’t be repeated, so they must be looked after. No two stones are the same, and people must remember that they are investment pieces worth taking care of. You must trust the person you’re buying from and you need to purchase the right jewellery for the particular individual. It is after all a lifestyle!
Where is the DH brand’s HQ?
Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill for more than 25 years, with stockists all over the US and Europe, and three more London boutiques. We also do pop-up shops in the UK here and there.