Brass jewellery inspired by European travels


The imported handmade jewellery brand Brass was created when Nikki Temkin and her sister Lisa Todes travelled to Europe to celebrate the former's birthday two years ago.

They purchased accessories and jewellery for themselves that they found beautiful, and when they returned people loved what they wore.

"This planted the seed for us to start to import the jewellery that we found. We also always wanted to start a business together," said Temkin.

"Both of us have other jobs as Lisa is in CSI [Corporate Social Investment] and I'm a journalist and writer."

Temkin added that Brass was a sideline business that grew larger since they started and also generated a good following.

"The name comes from the fact that most of our jewellery is made from Brass and dipped in 21 carat gold or silver. Plus, it's a play on the fact that we're a little "brassy" - we are sassy and bold and if you wear our jewellery, then you probably are too."

Their general concept is to offer items to the South African market that are beautiful and different - jewellery that is made to stand out.

"We hope to expand our range to include other lifestyle items from décor to other fashion accessories that we can either manufacture locally or source globally," said Temkin.

"Our focus is always on artisanal, handmade goods that are unique and beautifully made and designed. We gain pleasure from seeing customers wearing our items knowing that not everyone will have the same thing, which is why we're discriminating as to how and where we stock our range."

She added that they also pride themselves on offering good quality at fair and affordable prices even though much of their goods were imported.

The sisters order from their suppliers overseas what they love and what they think their customers will love too.

"We also ask them to design certain items for us and then the team designs and makes it for us in their factories in Europe.

"We are interested in collaborating with local manufacturers to bring some of the making of the items home to have more of a hand in the design and production aspect. We're working on this," said Temkin.

Their range is made from brass, which is a metal that has a naturally appealing colour and has gained in popularity through the years.

It is then dipped in either 21 carat gold or silver. Much of it is set with semi-precious stones like amethyst, agate, labradorite, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, ruby, turquoise, rose quartz and onyx. The materials are currently sourced by their suppliers.

"Our supplier offers certain colour combinations and then we give feedback and also ask them to make the combinations that we like and we think will work for our market.

"For instance, labradorite and turquoise are currently two of our most popular semi-precious stones so we will request more of these stones in the jewellery."

Temkin added that it was also seasonal as to the colours that are popular, so it does change.

"We do have some very trendy items seasonally but on the whole we like to think of Brass as being timeless. We also introduce new ranges a few times each year so our existing customers can always find something new from us."

Temkin said they loved the best-selling charm rings as these were totally unique.

"We keep on offering them as they're so popular and never date. The colours that they come in are also so pretty, from pink agate to lime green agate and deep navy in lapis lazuli.

"Our earrings are always the most popular and especially the ones with the stones that are eye-catching like the turquoise or labradorite arch stone. We also love the designs that mimic nature like feathers, which are very popular right now, and the sun necklace or fern earrings."

Their future plans include expanding into other imports, such as décor, accessories and possibly fashion, and to collaborate with local designers and manufacturers.

"We want to carry on growing and offering our customers unique and beautiful products that vibrate with positive energy and make women feel beautiful when they wear our items."

Shop their beautiful range here.

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