Meet our latest Wow Woman, the wonderful Dinny Hall.
Jewellery Designer, entrepreneur and founder of the eponymous Dinny Hall Jewellery, she's a real inspiration for women making it on their own and one of our Founder Alice's favourite jewellery designers. We sat down with Dinny to talk about all things jewellery, creativity and one of a kind finds.
At the age of about seven or eight at a village jumble sale, I bought a little brooch for a few pence. It turned out to be a Cartier piece made from ebony, diamonds, rubies and emeralds - an amazing find!What was the first piece of jewellery you ever bought?
That Cartier brooch and it's still one of my favourites.Where and how did you learn the craftsmanship to become a jewellery designer?
I did a BA Honours degree in jewellery design at Central St Martins School of Art and went on from there often learning by my mistakes.Where do you get your design inspiration from?
I’m inspired by the things that I love the most. I love to travel, particularly in the Far East and Sicily, architecture, nature and film but also by certain momentous times in my life. For instance, when I was pregnant with my son Lorcan I designed jewellery that had birth and re-birth at the core of the idea, seeds and pods and goddesses all played a major inspirational role back then.
Another time when I was going through a great challenge in life I designed a collection called Almaz, which means Diamond. Diamonds are the hardest natural material known to man virtually indestructible and formed over billions of years so I chose the ‘diamond’ geometric shape to work with to signify strength and endurance.
I designed both for my contemporaries and myself in the beginning often inspired by a particular muse, women from the past who I thought had great presence and style. Josephine Baker, Nancy Cunard, Talitha Getty or actresses from great Italian film director Visconti, like Claudia Cardinale or Silvana Mangano.
But I always had one eye on unusual glamour and fashion, and the other on the market, and I began to enjoy the challenge to design for an ever wider audience.What are you currently designing?
I’m designing a range inspired by the sea and shore in Norfolk where I live most of the time with my partner Piers and mini Black Schnauzer Bo. Our three boys are grown up.
There’s a reef ecosystem totally unique to the area which has formed because it was once Doggerland, a bridge of land that linked Britain to Holland in the megalithic period. Mammoths and Axe heads have been found on the sea bed. I’m rather obsessed with this lost land under the water and this is what is inspiring me for the next new collection. Though I can’t call it Doggerland!What has been your favourite collection from your 35 years of jewellery design?
My favourite collection is nearly always the one I’m working on. But with time to reflect, I tend to wear the simplest of designs. My favourite pieces are the diamond Shuga tennis bracelet and the Eos solid 10 karat gold Hoops from my Signature Collection. I also have a soft spot for our Suffragette collection. I designed it to commemorate the Suffragette movement and its incredible impact on women’s rights. We've recently re-released the sell-out collection in support of Women’s Aid and I'm proud to say that a percentage of the collection’s proceeds are donated to support the important work they do.
It’s not a piece of jewellery but a famous diamond. The Sancy Diamond, which is in the Louvre. It's a stunning Moghul cut diamond with an incredible history, you could make a movie from the story. This diamond inspired a whole collection years ago. I would have it set simply in a pendant so that I could hold it and be mesmerised by it beauty!How important is sustainability in the jewellery industry and what are you doing to pave the way for a more sustainable / ethical business?
It's incredibly important. From mining to blood diamonds, the industry has a lot of history to repair. We are proud to be endorsed by Positive Luxury and have been awarded their Butterfly Marks for achieving high levels of responsibility and sustainability in our business practices. It is an ongoing journey though and there’s much more to be done.What should our customers look out for when buying ethical jewellery? How can they be sure what they are getting is better for people and the planet?
Avoid un-backed up claims. For instance, are man-made diamonds really sustainable or ethical? I think that for many companies it’s easy to state ‘we are ethical and sustainable but it is a minefield. It's as bad as buying food in a supermarket you don't know what to believe. I advise looking out for brands or jewellers who are accredited by either Positive Luxury or The Responsible Jewellery Council both of whom put in thoroughly stringent testing in all areas of business from sourcing to production to employment and much more.
Hoops along with rings are my favourite pieces of jewellery to design. I’ll never run out of ideas for another hoop earring and I could write a book about them.
If you have several piercings use your Hoops in your main lobe piercing as your ‘anchor’ piece and then like seasoning a culinary dish add your studs or smaller hoops to perfect the ear curation. You can wear Hoops any time anywhere but just don’t expect to go unnoticed if you want to wear them large!What are you proudest of with your eponymous brand?
I’m proud of having become a good businesswoman when essentially, at my core, I'm a creative dreamer. I’m kind of proud that the sort of jewellery I was designing decades are ago is still relevant toda. In fact, much of what I design today is a reinvention of what I designed all those years ago. I’m like a chef who perfects her dishes throughout a lifetime. I’m also very proud of my son Lorcan who I brought up as a single Mum.If you were to describe your job in three words what would they be?
Creative, Collaborative and Challenging.What do you love most about your job and why?
That it’s creative, collaborative and challenging! The landscape is constantly changing, no more so than now and I like a challenge, it keeps me young at heart.What were your dream jobs when you were younger? Did you ever think you would start your own business?
I always wanted to be a designer. At the age of eight or nine I was already designing the insides of houses down to the clothes the people wore. I would draw a house without a facade and then design every room even down to the pillowcases! But when I went to Art school on a foundation course I found that I loved working with precious metals and that was how my journey began.
It’s no problem for me to stay true to my core, it’s just cost me financially at times. I certainly believe in the power of positive energy as well as ‘what goes around comes around’.What does ‘wellness’ mean to you?
A healthy heart with a healthy mind leads to a healthy body.What are three things everyone should know to better their health?
- We should get to know our psychological weaknesses then work on them.
- We should understand that being lazy and bored is completely unproductive and if we are unproductive we become lazy and bored.
- We are what we eat.
I love to cook and walk in beautiful countryside. Or, if I’m in London, Hampstead Heath or Regents Park. I do Pilates (via Zoom now) and I have my own mat-work equipment. I've been doing Pilates since I was 26 and I’m still learning. I love the movies, but it’s all Netflix right now!
(Dinny wears our bamboo yoga top, the Boogie Tee)
Love and let yourself be loved and remember that there’s all kinds of love.What is your single piece of advice to the next generation of women?
Strive to have it all but remember that to do some things well that you are unlikely to have it all, all of the time.Who is your ‘Wow Woman’?
My Mum, Barbara Hepworth, Jacinda Ardern and Queen Elizabeth the first and for 21st century glamour our very own Kate Moss.And finally, if you could only live in one item of Asquith clothing what would it be and why?