The Brighton-born, London-based jewellery designer makes beautiful pieces in an environmentally conscious way
- Who is it? Bleue Burnham is a rising jewellery designer based in London
- Why do I want it? Burnham makes ornate, organic gender non-specific pieces that take inspiration from – and give back to – the natural world
- Where can I find it? At bleueburnham.com and a range of stockists including Browns, Matches, Mr Porter, and SSense
Who is it? “As soon as I saw the first thing I made there was no turning back,” says rising jewellery designer Bleue Burnham. Born and raised in Brighton on the south coast of England, Burnham is now based in London, where he has a studio at 180 Strand. Prior to this, he spent several years living in Manchester, studying business with a focus on sustainable fashion. “I thought it was wise to study business to enable me to take my passion and turn it into a living,” he says of his degree, which led him to take on the role of Head of Sustainability at Oliver Spencer. “It has definitely helped my journey.”
Burnham’s background in business – and his clear flare for it – is evident in the rapid ascent of his namesake brand. Launching in 2018, Burnham quickly secured orders from Harvey Nicols, Matches and SSense, which were followed by Browns, Mr Porter and Tres Bien the following year, and today sells his wares through a range of stockists, in addition to his website. “I’ve always known that whatever I did I wanted to run my own business,” he says. “When I was a child I was very entrepreneurial and would continuously try to sell things I had made or my services to make some pocket money.”
Burnham’s love for jewellery stretches back to his youth, too: “I have always had a deep love for jewellery and the way it not only adds to your style, but also its ability to take on meaning within life,” he says. “The knowledge that a piece of jewellery (if it’s made from solid metal and not plated) is going to last for many years and can be handed down through generations adds another layer of connection which is beautiful.”
It was in 2015 that he started making jewellery himself, after a friend showed him how to make a ring. He was “instantly hooked” and spent the next three years practising and finding his voice as a designer – and it’s that voice that makes his brand so special. With no formal training, Burnham made it up as he went along, unencumbered by the ‘proper’ way of making jewellery. Forging his own style, his designs take inspiration from the natural world, appearing at once ornate and organic, meticulously crafted and roughly hewn, of the moment yet timeless.
And while they were born out of Burnham’s own love for jewellery, the majority of his pieces are gender non-specific, sitting outside of the traditional boundaries between men’s and women’s pieces. “I’ve always been pretty easy about wearing any jewellery and have worn lots of women’s jewellery,” he says, “which I think is why my approach to design is perhaps a bit more relaxed.”
Why do I want it? Burnham’s most famous design is the Rose Garden Signet, a rectangular ring set with six gems (in varying precious stones; the metal also varies, with 9kt gold and recycled silver available), the face of which emulates the texture of leaves. It’s a thing of beauty. His other designs are equally beautiful and naturalistic – spanning more rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces, set with brightly coloured stones.
Hand-made in London, pieces are created from hand-modelled wax casts, using 9k gold, recycled silver and lab-grown stones. Made from solid not plated metals, they are designed to last, taking cues from the way jewellery is often passed down through families, from one generation to the next.
In fact, Burnham’s latest collection references this idea explicitly. Titled Grandma’s House, the collection takes inspiration from “the beauty of a grandparent’s home – a place where wisdom, history, love and connection bloom and continue on their journey”. “The concept was born from not being able to visit my grandparents’ house through Covid which is one the most important places in the world to me,“ he continues. “I’m in love with this collection and can’t wait to share it with the world.”
While longevity is something that lies at the core of his designs, Burnham’s pieces are sustainable in many other ways too. Committed to being part of the solution instead of the problem, his impressive environmental stance is laid out on his website, explaining everything from where he sources his precious metals, to the actual production of his pieces and even the bank he uses, as well as revealing that each piece of jewellery sold stores 125kg of greenhouse gases. It’s a commitment that is best surmised in his brand mission statement: “To create articles of timeless beauty which are developed and actualised from detailed research of human culture and its connection to the natural world. Striving to use our creativity to heighten and amplify the beauty of this connection. In line with this connection, our business and vision of success is guided by being part of the solution for environmental progression.”
Where can I find it? At bleueburnham.com and a range of stockists including Browns, End Clothing, Goodhood, Harvey Nichols, Matches, Mr Porter, Oliver Spencer, SSense, and Très Bien.