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Designer and founder of Lionstudio, SIHAN LEI discusses what she wanted to be in school and which aspects of her job she enjoys the most

How did you get to be where you are today? I wanted my jewellery to be more wearable and so I realised becoming a designer was more suitable for me, so I set a goal to be a jewellery designer and I moved towards it.

Introductory para as she didn’t supply enough: Designer Sihan Lei founded Lionstudio in 2013, adopting the lion as part of its brand name as a symbol of power, courage and strength, all representative of the characteristics Lei wanted to convey with her jewellery. Her collections are inspired by the Buddhist philosophy that ‘beauty is born out of struggle’, and from this Lei produced a collection using carefully chosen, oversized Swarovski crystals and nickel-free hypoallergenic double plated brass.

Describe yourself in three words. I would say I am single-minded, as well as contradictory and also sensitive.

When you were at school, what did you want to be and why?

When I was at school, I wanted to be an artist who used jewellery to describe a story. I had a special feel for and understanding of diff erent metals and because I was a story teller becoming a narrative jewellery designer was perfect for me.

14 | Jewellery Focus

Which aspects of your job do you enjoy and why? I enjoy being creative and designing a new collection. I love fresh and new ideas and so developing a new collection (or story) is a very exciting process. I fi nd that heating and heating repeatedly to make jewellery is boring and is a waste of a life.

What is your proudest achievement? Honestly, it’s knowing myself, knowing my goal well and still being able to focus on it.

What is the best advice you’ve been given in work or in life in general? The best advice I have ever been given is ‘don’t watch what other people do, watch your own goal and budget.”

What is your next goal? Lionstudio is currently working with fashion designers and is looking to show more on catwalk in the near future. I will also be at Paris fashion week and London fashion week.


Rising hallmarking fi gures are great news but the party may be short-lived

By Scott Thompson, founder and CEO of Carat*

There is growing evidence that many parts of the UK are coming out of the great recession. I am pleased that many of my colleagues and friends in the jewellery industry are sounding more upbeat. However there is a risk that the very things that got us into the great recession in the fi rst place are coming back to haunt us.

While I won’t deny there have been some great

improvements in sales, it is hard to get excited if there are some economic clouds on the horizon that may require some of us to put our rain jackets on, again. Particularly the Chinese market, there is a signifi cant

slowdown in growth in this area with some hard truths to swallow as one of the fastest growing economies deals with its own housing and credit bubble. That bubble was formed for the large part off the back of the 2008 global meltdown, as China still wrestles with trying to switch from an export economy to domestic consumption. Meanwhile in the UK, quantitative easing, and suppressed

interest rates are contributing to ever rising housing prices based upon a national obsession with this asset class. This perfect storm may just be planting us right back where we started in 2008. Rising hallmarking fi gures at our assay offi ces are great news for our industry but if it is based upon the fact that people are feeling ‘house rich’ again, the party may be short lived as we saw only fi ve years ago. I am of the opinion that real estate prices should more or less only be able grow with wage growth, especially since this is how our mortgages are paid (with the exclusion of London that has to deal with external forces). If house prices increase 20 per cent in a year and salaries are technically shrinking with infl ation, where does the extra money come from? In the words of the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney: rising house prices pose biggest risk to our recovery. | June 2014

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