Strauss & Co has partnered with fine jewellery designer and maker Taz Watson to bring you a wonderful celebration of colour, with jewellery collections inspired by the flame lilies and tropical leaves of the Victoria Falls rain forest, beautifully crafted intaglios and cameos that pay homage to ancient Greek and Roman jewellery, and classic jewellery with a twist.
A collection of classic jewellery with a twist. This collection is a celebration of colour. It aims to highlight the exquisite hues that naturally occur in gemstones by blending them together from light to dark to create a beautiful aurora effect. Each piece of jewellery has a classic-contemporary design so that it’s perfect for everyday wear, but with colours that are striking and unusual. Each aurora is carefully arranged by hand and set in 18kt gold.
Man in the Moon
This collection pays homage to the beautifully crafted intaglios and cameos from ancient Greek and Roman jewellery. The silhouettes and granulated details are reminiscent of jewellery worn in this time, but instead of intricate carvings capturing the human form, this collection depicts gemstone carvings of the Man in the Moon to create a playful and modernised version of these ancient jewels. Each piece is part of a limited collection and made from 18kt gold.
A whimsical gemstone collection inspired by the flame lilies and tropical leaves of the Victoria Falls rainforest. Featuring exquisite hand-carved gemstone leaves and flowers that are accented with precious gems and diamonds to create pieces that are vibrant and unique. Each design is one-off and hand made in 18kt gold.
Fine Jewellery Designer
As a fine jewellery designer I am totally captivated by gemstones and diamonds. My grandfather and my parents were gemologists and avid gemstone collectors, so the love of these gorgeous minerals runs deep in my blood.
Growing up in the industry I would sit for hours playing with gems and crystals. I started my collection at the age of 5 and still have my favourite fool’s gold, pyrite and amethyst crystals. As a child the highlight of my day was to visit my father’s office to examine the different gemstones under a microscope, getting lost in the little worlds deep beneath their surfaces. I was mesmerised by the stories of how gemstones are formed, their properties and why they are all different colours. I co-designed my first collection with my father when I was only 10 years old. I well remember experiencing the thrill of seeing a piece of jewellery come to life. We made little gemstone animal charms and I was allowed to choose the colours and weigh in on the designs. I kept scrap books of all the jewellery I loved, meticulously cutting out and pasting illustrations and articles from magazines. This became my first design ‘bible’.
Although I have been a creative spirit my whole life and my love for gemstones started at such a young age, it took me a few years to find my way into the industry. Having embarked on a career in psychology initially, it was only after I qualified that I realised I was on the wrong career path. I subsequently moved to the USA to attend the esteemed Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) studying Jewellery Design (JD), Jewellery Manufacture (Graduate Jeweller GJ), Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Gemstone and Diamond grading. Since then I have co-owned a jewellery brand in Canada, been a designer and buyer for jewellery stores all over Southern Africa and the Seychelles, worked in retail doing both custom design, sales, merchandising and sales and finally, in 2018, starting my own business. I have never looked back.
My passion is to design pieces using unique gemstones and combining them in fun and surprising ways, incorporating whimsy into the pieces so that they are playful and unique. I particularly love using hand-carved gemstones – they bring so much character and depth to the pieces. I am also inspired by antique jewellery, incorporating aspects of historical jewellery making into my designs in a contemporary way. Nature is a recurrent theme in many of my designs – I love incorporating unusual colour combinations or forms that exist in nature.
I enjoy creating jewellery that is one-of-a-kind or part of a limited edition. I think it is important for the wearer to know that the piece is unique. I am very much an artist in that sense – my joy comes from designing something beautiful and unusual. I like to have fun with form and colour, designing special pieces that please both me and, hopefully, the wearer.