In 2003, Allison rented a space in Yvon's jewellery studio in Nile Street, Nelson. An opportunity to share a work studio in town came up six months later. The creative partnership that is Jewel Beetle had begun.
"Since the inception of Jewel Beetle in 2004, we have learnt from each other and spun our ideas together to produce a range of designs that are innovative, and yet as women and wearers of our own work, we also know what makes a piece comfortable and practical."
Yvon Smits trained as a goldsmith at the Vakschool, Schoonhoven in the Netherlands and gained experience at workshops in Germany and Holland, before opening her first studio-workshop, in Venlo in 1988. She moved to New Zealand in 1994 and ran a studio- workshop from her home while her children were young.
“We both trained and worked as goldsmiths in the UK and the Netherlands, and love extending our skills and creativity. Nature is a big inspiration. Our range of charms, brooches and pendants reflect our love of the birds and native trees of Aotearoa-New Zealand, the land we now call home.”
Allison Judge studied at the Kent Institute of Art and Design, graduating in 1993 with a Higher National Diploma in Jewellery Manufacture and Design, and moving on to work in Hatton Garden and then as a designer for respected London goldsmith Elizabeth Gage. When her travels brought her to New Zealand, Allison settled in Queenstown, working as an in house jeweller designing for the Jade Factory before moving to Nelson
“Making jewellery is a deeply rewarding occupation. For over 20 years we have been motivated by the pure enjoyment of crafting beautiful objects. We love what we do – working with precious materials is a kind of magic and our enthusiasm and passion is crafted into every piece."
Crafted in our own workshop
Where else do you find the workshop just ‘over the counter’ from the retail space? We love seeing people who are thrilled with their new jewellery - and we love the satisfaction of knowing it was all designed and crafted right here at Jewel Beetle.
Based on her experience in the UK, Allison is the creative driving force at Jewel Beetle; a talent that’s complemented by Yvon’s deep technical expertise. However, these two talented jewellers swap roles effortlessly, to contribute to the varied design and superb craftsmanship of the Jewel Beetle range.
Yvon and Allison are like-minded in the support they offer each other in the workshop, and in maintaining a work-life balance that allows them to enjoy the Nelson lifestyle.
We’re excited by the challenge of interpreting your ideas. Every item of jewellery is profoundly individual - to design a bespoke piece requires a level of understanding, intuition and empathy to listen to you, the client, a skill we have refined in 12 years at Jewel Beetle.
Our promise to you
We will listen to your requirements, consider your budget and ensure you leave with a piece of jewellery that makes you very happy. We look forward to welcoming you back when it’s time for the next addition to your Jewel Beetle collection, or when you need a special gift made for someone you love.