CC-Steding, the Jewellery Studio Melding Fine Arts with Minimalist Punk

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LucindaPhotography by Oscar Foster-Kane

Nichola Farnan and Ben Chaplin, the duo behind CC-Steding, are driven by a desire to see how their “jewellery lives on other people”

  1. Who is it? CC-Steding is a jewellery studio founded by London-based creative duo Nichola Farnan and Ben Chaplin
  2. Why do I want it? Responsibly made designs melding the craftsmanship of fine jewellery with a minimalist punk aesthetic
  3. Where can I find it? CC-Steding is available at Browns and SSENSE as well as directly through the studio’s own website

Who is it? As London-based designers Nichola Farnan and Ben Chaplin sought a way to weld their creative universes together, jewellery appeared as the instinctive middle ground to combine their experiences in fine arts, fashion, and mechanics. What they wanted was to avoid “the throw-away, seasonal, gendered elements of fashion but maintain functionality,” explains Farnan. And, unlike most fine arts, to create democratic work “that is smaller, that can travel, that can take on individual meaning.” 

With their respective careers fully fledged, jewellery design was initially a collaborative release: “We were doing other things and it was a really fun way for us to work together. We built it personally in a way that it didn’t really owe us too much and we could do what we wanted with it,” says Chaplin. His mum, a silversmith, showed them the ropes and the rest of the craft was honed tinkering and testing products for themselves.

The resulting designs, which were inspired by the harnesses and chains of their “scruffy punk” childhoods spent at gigs, didn’t remain personal for long. Stylists began borrowing their sculptural takes on knock rings and sleek pearl-laced curb chains for shoots, and the duo started producing jewellery lines for brands such as Hanger Inc. Jewellery became Farnan and Chaplin’s creative focal point and CC-Steding studio, a name inspired by musician Walter Steding, was launched.

The duo’s design process is driven by a desire to see how their “jewellery lives on other people.” As their designs integrate into the personal realms of others, Farnan and Chaplin encourage them to document their responses through music, film, photography, and other arts. From Saskia Dixie’s short film to Thom Sonny Green’s sonic reaction and, more recently, Anna Howard’s artist book released at Dinner Party Gallery, these artistic collaborations showcase the very human dimension of their jewellery – with more flesh, more substance than a static lookbook.

Why do I want it? Balanced and weighted in solid reclaimed 925 silver, the contemporary designs meld the craftmanship of fine jewellery with a minimalist punk aesthetic. Each handmade piece is crafted with the intention of longevity: to bear witness to a human life and not just be an accessory to it. A portable sculpture, they are designed to both feel and look good from every angle, “from when you take it off and it’s on your bedside table as well as when it’s on your body.” 

The designers actively celebrate the well-worn aesthetic that time – and life – can bring to their pieces. One of their primary reasons for working with silver is that it “bears the marks of the process that happened to it.” As Farnan encourages, “You have to go and live your life in it for it to look like that. That’s your life completing our design which I think is the nicest thing.” The pieces can be returned to the studio for repairs and alterations to ensure that each design continues to grow with its wearer.

This relationship between jewellery and its wearer is pushed further in CC Steding’s latest collection. Alongside their signature chains, found rings and lockets, collected with the magpie-like approach of a teen amassing pins from music gigs, are given a renewed lease on life. Elegantly looped together to form necklaces or bound between polished chains, their sophisticated bricolage “feels sturdier and more thoughtful than traditional settings,” explains Chaplin. 

For this collection, the duo collaborated with photographer Oscar Foster-Kane to capture their friends styling their jewellery through the reflection of a banged-up sheet of metal. The twisted portraits place their jewellery in a fantastical dreamscape where anyone is free to interpret their jewellery as they want. “We couldn’t be more excited by how diverse our customers are and when someone’s mum wants a piece, that’s just as cool as when some famous actor wants one.”

Where can I find it? CC-Steding is available at Browns and SSENSE as well as directly through the studio’s own website.