QC Jewels’ bling with zing

New Zealanders already have a strong profile on the global coffee stage, but one Kiwi is now striving to take her country’s contribution to the coffee scene to a whole new level. Claris Jones-White is the creator of what could possibly be the world’s first line of coffee-inspired jewellery, QC Jewels. Jones-White’s coffee career has taken her all over the world, and it was while working in Cape Town, South Africa last year that she met one of the world’s foremost diamond setters, Keith Edens. “I love gems and jewellery,” Jones-White tells GCR Magazine. “For me it’s got the same feeling to it as coffee – it’s all from the ground up and it’s about the journey from origin, so I was just like ‘teach me everything!’” This meeting with Edens, who also works on possibly the world’s most famous jewellery collection, the Crown Jewels, sparked off a collaboration that would see the worlds of coffee and bling collide. “I had designed a coffee-inspired jewellery range years ago and I had the files just sitting on my laptop, so I showed it to him and he loved it,” she says. Edens then introduced Jones-White to Cape Town goldsmith Panos Kominons and the three embarked on a 10-month process designing and refining what would become QC Jewels’ first collection. The range includes four Process Puzzle Rings that showcase the evolution of coffee, from crop to cup. The rings are designed to be worn as a puzzle, with every ring made to be worn with one another and gently slot into place. With designs that represent the different stages of the coffee process – from watering and flowering through to the cup – they are interchangeable making the coffee combos endless. There is also a range of Sensory Stackers, solid band rings that are engraved with popular sensory attributes: salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. These jewels can also be worn as a two-way ring set, as on the opposite side from the text of each ring are hexagonal cut-outs that, when stacked together, reference the symbols for the chemical compound of caffeine. Complementing the rings are a range of Jasmine Jewels. These ear studs, drop earrings, cufflinks, and pendants are all in the shape of the coffee flower, which only appears for a few days per harvest, filling the air of the coffee farms with a sweet jasmine aroma and transforming plantation landscapes into snowy white fields. Rounding out the collection are two sterling silver pendants featuring the coffee-related hashtags #makersgonnamake and #pouringitup. “I loved really getting the chance to get down and dirty with the jewels and the metals, learning all about them and the different kinds of soils they come from – just like coffee really,” she says. Now back in her hometown of Nelson, on the South Island of New Zealand, Jones-White is planning to sell her collection online, as well as taking it on the road to major coffee events such as the World Barista Championships and industry expos around the world. And maintaining the project’s strong links with South Africa won’t be hard, with all of the jewellery still being made there and Jones-White pledging to donate a percentage of the profits to the anti-poaching efforts of the South African organisation, the Rhino Army. In the meantime, Jones-White is also working on opening another new avenue of coffee exploration, joining forces with New Zealand brewers, Moa Beer, to develop a cider made with the dried skins of the coffee cherries, which are known as cascara, along with apples from her hometown of Nelson. And this new venture could also pave the way for her next collection. “This one is very much about coffee, but in the future we could do something that focuses on wine or beer or anything else that starts from the ground up,” she says. GCR

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