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The Ultimate Gift Guide: Jon Dibben

Alex D'Arcy-Orga 10/12/2015 Creative Director
jon dibben jewellery, guildford, surrey

The best gift to give is one bestowed with love. In fact the best anything, whether it is a thought or action is when the aforementioned is crafted with love. It’s the best feeling isn’t it? One that you want to spread far and wide at this time of year. And so often the expression given within these forthcoming months, “It’s the thought that counts”, is drawn by love, like Rudolph and his pals pulling on Santa’s sleigh through the night sky on Christmas Eve. Love and thoughtfulness achieve their optimum when combined. It’s almost science, right?

Abstract thought aside, what better gift to give than that of something that has had both thought and love given to it by both mastermind and maker; both by customer and by craftsman? Jon Dibben is undoubtedly a master of the latter. We caught up with this esteemed jewellery designer at his workshop and showroom, based in Smithbrook Kilns on the outskirts of Cranleigh, to talk about all things fair in love and jewellery making.

Jon’s quest for beautiful shapes and materials can be found originating on the beaches of Greece in the late 80s. As he inter-railed across Europe, he ended up on in Greece and came across artisan jewellery makers plying their trade on the beaches; “I think I got fascinated by the process of how you work the wire to end up with the finished item. I saw the things they made and thought that I wanted to do that. I've got this idea that actually that could look good there and like this. I wanted to have the ability to do that. I was fascinated by the process and the materials”.

“As well as the benefits that (Fairtrade) gives to the workers, it gives us great traceability as to where what we get comes from”.

That fascination with materials continues today as a staple and selling point of Jon’s jewellery. A staple that we should all embrace. “Because we've always made things in the workshop from scratch we've always been surrounded by raw materials and it coincided with me starting to think, ‘well we phone up and get this block of gold or platinum, but where to these things come from?’ The fair trade story had been bubbling along and we called the guy who had been the driving force. He came and looked what we did we signed up to be one of 20 in the world when the Fairtrade Gold initiative was launched. As well as the benefits that it gives to the workers, it gives us great traceability as to where what we get comes from”.

This altruistic outlook does not stop with the championing of fair-mined and fair-trade gold and platinum; the intent of this mission is also to provide thoughtful, exquisitely made jewellery. As well as the beauty of Jon’s own ranges, clients are able to visit the workshop and have a piece of bespoke jewellery designed and made. If you will, this is a piece of jewellery that has had the love and thought given to it in considerable quantities.   

“A huge part of what we do is the research and design… My perfectionism runs through everything we do”

“People are sometimes surprised at what it costs. We all know that 99% of the jewellery out there is mass produced and has had very little human man hours making it. A huge part of what we do is the research and design. Because we’re perfectionists, I don’t like taking someone’s ideas and then finish working and think, ‘oh, that’ll do because that’s the budget’. My perfectionism runs through everything we do. With mass produced jewellery, they’ve had those headaches, worked out how to make it and then make 100,000 pieces. So if someone wants us to really nail something beautifully and we’re only making one of it, then there are going to be costs. Not for everything though; with eternity rings in particular, it is more of a case of ticking the boxes, decision making and getting the details right. ‘How do you want the diamond set? Do you want something different to a diamond?’ Beautiful rings take time. In an ideal world, bespoke rings would be for everyone.”

From consultation to commission, a bespoke piece of jewellery can take up to a couple of months with several meetings with the client in between ensuring that everybody is on the same page when it comes to the vision for the finished piece.

In terms of inspiration, Jon Dibben is a man of natural leanings. The juncture between nature and its functionality is one that we have touched on before whilst in conversation. “I do appreciate being in nature. The way it makes you feel and slow down. When designing you’re inspired by a bit of everything. It could be a piece of wood that I’ve seen when out walking the dogs. But ideas have got to translate into a piece of jewellery. It’s got to be viable.”
This natural, expressive design in the form of a piece of jewellery is abundantly clear as you walk into Jon Dibben’s showroom. Gorgeous leaf-like pendants and earrings sit nestled behind glass door cabinets of dark wood. Mr Dibben’s got a clear vision, and he welcomes you dear reader to invest in the vision, for your own sake; for a keepsake of your very own making.

For all the love, thought and time that goes into Jon’s work, it was the latter that he would want to give as the ultimate gift to someone this year. “It would be a gift of time and allowing someone to have that time to settle down into themselves and to see what’s there. As a world we all move so fast that no one has that time to be still, to take stock. That would be the ultimate gift that I could give.”

Find out more...

Visit the showroom at 40a Smithbrook Kilns, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8JJ 
Tel: 01483 278 170 Email: info@jondibben.com Web: jondibben.co.uk

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