The Secret Life of Plants: How Nature Inspires Jeweller Bleue Burnham

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Bleue Burnham
Bleue Burnham

As the London-based jewellery brand release a series of special videos made in collaboration with Isabel + Helen, Burnham talks about the intelligence of plants and why nature is the true meaning of life

“Nature is my closest connection to the meaning of life,” says London-based jewellery designer Bleue Burnham. “It’s always been a way of understanding the bigger picture, whether that’s spending time in nature and it making you feel better, or through the colours it presents, or through looking at the scientific intelligence of plants.” 

An appreciation of the natural world runs like a thread through Burnham’s handmade rings, necklaces and bracelets – from the environmental way in which the pieces are made, packaged and shipped, to the vibrant colours of the lab-grown gems he uses. Burnham grew up in Brighton, surrounded by family members who loved gardening, and later honed in on environmental sustainability within the fashion industry while studying a business management degree at university in Manchester. After graduating, he landed a job as head of sustainability at men’s tailoring brand Oliver Spencer, made his own jewellery on the side, and launched his eponymous brand in 2018 to great acclaim – for his first ever showroom at Paris Fashion Week, Bleue Burnham picked up Matches, Ssense and Harvey Nichols as stockists. Francis Bourgeois, the TikTok trainspotter who has emerged as something of a national hero, has been photographed wearing Burnham’s designs, while the brand has already collaborated with Gucci and Palm Angels.

But, despite his many successes, nature is still the most important thing in Burnham’s life. “Especially now, technology can disconnect people from the natural world. I think it’s important that we still champion that connection to nature for people’s wellbeing, but also for the preservation and protection of the natural world.” The brand’s studio is based in 180 The Strand in central London, where Burnham creates pieces by hand alongside two other team members. “With our jewellery, the magic happens in the making,” he says. 

His most recent collection, The Secret Life of Plants, is named after Peter Tompkins’s 1973 book. “It’s a seminal work that looks at the deeper intelligence of plants that perhaps we don’t give them credit for,” Burnham explains. The London-based design studio Isabel + Helen (the duo are best-known for their epic, birds-eye view visuals for Craig Green) have created a series of videos with Burnham, where the microscopic surfaces of his jewellery rustle magically into life. Birdsong can be made out in the background of the videos – and for a moment, diving into the surface of Burnham’s sapphire gemstones can feel like a transcendental experience akin to immersing oneself in nature. “As a brand, our design philosophy is to amplify the beauty of the connection to the natural world,” says Burnham. “Everything we do is engineered to promote a better and more meaningful and fulfilling relationship to the natural world.”