Jade Mag

International Magazine for Jewellery and Design - By Reema Keswani

A closely-knit crew with complementary skills, Ian Douglas, Christine Douglas and Chris Benham, founders of The Inspired Collection, impressed visitors with their line of handmade platinum and diamond Jewellery.

All of the Jewellery they produce is manufactured locally in Wellington, New Zealand.  The Inspired Collection is the international arm of The Village Goldsmith, founded by Ian Douglas 30 years ago, and both companies continue to work together.  The collection, small and tightly edited, represents the distillation of the experience and collaboration of a group of artisanal jewelers who have each won NZ Jewellery Design Awards, amongst other international distinctions.


Their designs reflect the cultural sensibility with architectural designs that are not overtly masculine or feminine.  Rendered in mixed metal and featuring clean lines, the jewels sometimes centre upon a stone, which is often set in an unencumbered style with a minimum of metal.

The firm is also unusual because they work in platinum, generally a difficult metal for small workshops to master because of training required to manipulate the metal and other special equipment required for the high melting point of platinum, the rarest of the precious metals.  Their elegant designsimmediately differentiate themselves from the vast majority of CAD CAM designed jewelry, which tends to look standardised because of the limited metrics and the formulaic structure of the software used to execute jewellery.

Judges in industry competitions around the world have recognised their efforts and originality and they have an impressive number of awards between them.  Inspired took home Third Place in the GIA competition with their design for a chic platinum and diamond money clip in the Men’s category.  In the same year, they also took home First Place in the same GIA competition in the George Shuetz category for a platinum and diamond ring, showcasing a row of emerald cut diamonds.

Their work also incorporates rich Maori tradition and often features curvilinear form, a cornerstone of Maori jewelry.  1886, a necklace by Nick Hensman, a previous winner in 2009 of the New Zealand Jewellery Design awards, is based in the pink and white terraces of Mt Tarawera and their burial in 1886.  This piece explores the surface tensions of different materials, mixing beaten, coloured, and polished metals to create, 1886.  The bright iridescent blue titanium evokes the paua or abalone shell.  Their recent video Patai, found here at is also suggestive of talismanic qualities with the line and form of the diamond ring conjuring the rugged, magical landscape of the country itself.


Another of the designs ‘What’s the point’, also evokes a talismanic feeling, and is constructed as an inverted cone, centering upon a diamond floating within a frame of four gold bars at each of the cardinal points.


The Inspired Collective is made up of a talented team of artisans and it seems like they are really answering a need, that of presenting Jewellery to fatigued Jewellery consumers who are sick of Jewellery that looks to have been designed based in a particular price point, designed to focus on cost of the piece, rather than design.