Real Life

How I Live: Designing jewellery for Westeros

Kiwi designer Charlotte Breeze’s unique jewels are set to shine on the hit tv show Game of Thrones.

By Aroha Awarau
I’m a 28-year-old jewellery designer, born and bred in the small South Island town of Hokitika. I recently received an amazing opportunity to make jewellery for the latest season of the worldwide hit TV show Game of Thrones. I was asked to design a unique piece for the character Sansa Stark and I’m excited to see my work on the programme.
The chance to showcase my jewellery to millions of people came about when Game of Thrones’ Emmy award-winning costume designer, Michele Clapton, was given one of my pieces as a gift.
I’m friends with Michele’s daughter, India Martin, who is a vet in Hokitika. India bought some of my jewellery, which she took back to the UK when she visited her family.
Michele loved my designs and concepts, and arranged to meet me when she came to New Zealand to see India. We discussed my ideas and she said that these concepts tied in with what was happening in the show. She asked me to provide some pieces, which will be shown in the new season.
I have had a passion for designing jewellery since I was a child. I would dress up and get lost in my own little world.
Charlotte’s label, C Breeze Jewellery, offers a unique take on modern designs. Photograph: Stewart Nimmo Photography
My stepfather is a jade carver and when I was 13 he taught me the basics of the art form. He was heavily involved with the traditional side of carving, while I was drawn to the more contemporary aspects.
I found I could add something different into my carvings and that’s where my passion for designing jewellery began.
Charlotte Breeze wearing her jewellery pieces. Photograph: Stewart Nimmo Photography
When I left school, I studied art in Dunedin and majored in jewellery design. I’m also into multisport and worked as a fitness instructor at the local gym, before quitting to focus on my jewellery line.
Living on the West Coast is perfect because I can combine the two things I love – the outdoors and my work.
I’m always thinking of new concepts and ideas. I also like the idea of sustainability, so I use a lot of recycled materials.
I sell my jewellery in galleries around New Zealand and recently travelled to the US and Canada to put my work on display. There were a couple of places in Los Angeles that were interested in my creations, one in particular had Lenny Kravitz and Cher as regular clients.
Charlotte in her studio. Photograph: Stewart Nimmo Photography
The great thing about being an artist is carrying a design from an idea on a page to a tangible object. But the job is not complete until you see someone wearing it – the body really enhances your work. Many women have come to me and said they don’t normally wear jewellery but they like wearing my pieces – that is the best compliment to receive.
I’ve also started making men’s pieces, which is great because there are not many options out there for guys.
I love my job, and for me it never feels like work because it’s my passion. I took a punt and threw myself into it. It’s perfect that you can do this at any age and work from home – even if you have a family. I’m living the dream.”

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