Miss H Jewellery Design: A beautiful personal creation

Hildegard Benninghoff's Miss H Jewellery Design collection is a true personal creation. We spoke to this creative artist, who has taken the South African jewellery industry by storm.

The 29-year-old has created unique pieces from brass, silver and copper and she makes use of a variety of stones.

Benninghoff left her job in the textile industry in February, 2017, and launched her line two months later.

She had money saved up with which she bought raw materials and tools. She also used this money to pay herself a small "salary".

"I wanted to create a range of jewellery for me. I was hopeful that other people would like it too," she said.

"The range is made up of pieces that I love wearing, and seeing as it is a representation of my style, I wanted to incorporate something of myself into the name.

"My name, which is difficult for people to remember and to pronounce, wasn't an option, so I decided to go for Miss H, short for Hildegard."

Benninghoff is the sole creator of her business, but she has an "amazing emotional support system", which is one of the most important things when making the change from employee to entrepreneur, according to her.

"I create pieces that I love wearing and I absolutely love to play with new ideas. Manufacturing sets my soul on fire.

"I take great pleasure in making a piece and working on it until it is perfect.

"We create wearable art and none of the pieces, even in the same pair of earrings, are exactly the same.

"Each little and big piece is uniquely made. This is what makes Miss H special."

Benninghoff is involved with every process from sourcing materials, manufacturing, photography, distributing, marketing, website design and administration.

"Sourcing takes up so much time as everything comes from different suppliers.

"It's of course one of the most exciting parts of the job - I feel like a kid in a candy store when I visit gem shops."

She said she loved playing around with different colour combinations and felt that sometimes a piece would just scream "success".

"If I like it I use it. Social media is also a great way to do market research with existing and potential clients - if a certain piece is very popular I usually make quite a few of these to sell at markets."

One of her favourite pieces is the Tetemayo earrings. She designed an African inspired pattern while still a textile design student, and many years later enlarged the pattern considerably to make some earrings.

The metal cut-out design hangs from a wooden stud earring, which she describes as "exquisite".

"Our Twisted Dandelion stud earrings are another favourite. It's a circle with holes and lines that have been twisted into beautiful shapes.

"I also love our Curve bangles - curves within curves within curves."

The Pretoria local added that due to her own style being so varied, she had a variety of different pieces in her range.

"The plan is to extend the range considerably. We want something that would appeal to a wide variety of people. I want Miss H to be a household name."

Her career highlight was when Fairlady Magazine did a feature on her and her business in 2017.

"I had a two-page spread in their magazine. It has definitely been one of my biggest highlights so far."

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