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News > Alumnae News > Serena Ansell (DH 2014)

Serena Ansell (DH 2014)

Serena is a passionate designer, Gemologist and an avid creative mind. She is a fine-jewellery, sold-precious-metal lover and a believer in doing things beautifully and properly.
Founder and Director of Serena Ansell Jewellery
Founder and Director of Serena Ansell Jewellery

Tell me about your time at Downe House?  

I had the best 7 year extended sleepover with friends for life. My memories are full of so much silliness. It was so special to be able to live with your friends day in and day out. I now crave having proper time with my best friends such as weekends away because we were so used to being around each other all the time and it’s so rare that we can have time together like that now. When you’re at school you don’t tend to appreciate how much fun you’re having and what an incredible time in your life it is. I was also a total nightmare and always in trouble - I apologise for being a total nuisance to so many teachers for those years.  

Can you briefly describe your professional journey since leaving Downe House.  

I went straight to Exeter Uni after Downe to do History of Art. During that time I was lucky enough to do work experience at Sotheby's and Christie’s, but both times found myself yearning to be in the jewellery department rather than the Old Masters. I then studied at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) in London to become a Graduate Gemologist before going into the jewellery industry as assistant to renowned jeweller William Welstead. I worked for William for four years, gaining lots of valuable experience, before starting my own jewellery brand in 2022.  

Describe a typical day for you.  

My day typically starts with waking up early to get myself as organised as possible with admin before the rest of the world wakes up and the market opens. I'll then set off running around Hatton Garden and Mayfair between my workshops and stone dealers that I work with, and various other parts of London to see clients. Still being a fairly new business, I do all of the running around myself, and I actually really love it - most people think that is the part a business owner would soonest want to give up - but I love being out and about so much with my work. I will then often spend the later part of the afternoon designing, speaking to clients about current projects, creating content for social media and email campaigns, or putting together inspiration for upcoming projects. 

What are the most valuable skills for someone to be successful in your career field?  

Perseverance. Don’t doubt yourself. Keep moving - if something isn’t working, change it or scrap it, even if you love it.  

What has been the greatest accomplishment in your career?  

Exhibiting my work at a 4 night Art Exhibition in London. I was so nervous beforehand but after the first hour of chatting to people about my work I was in the swing of it and I loved it. I actually ended up feeling very self-indulgent talking about gemstones and my jewellery designs for four evenings straight! The next big thing will be the Spirit of Christmas Fair (30th October - 5th November at Kensington Olympia) which I am quite nervous for, again, because it will be quite a different, much bigger beast. I’m excited at the same time though and I’m sure I will end up loving it. Some nerves are always good to keep you on your toes.  

What have been some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your career?  

Dealing with finances. I have a creative brain, so all of the numbers stuff usually goes over my head, but running a business I have to do it. It still definitely doesn’t go smoothly all the time because I have a total addiction to designing and making new jewellery because I love it, but I can’t always afford to do it..! So I sometimes get myself in a pickle but so far have always managed to work my way out of it in the end, touch wood. 

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance and prioritise your wellbeing?  

Seeing my friends is extremely important to me so I am always usually socialising in the evenings and at the weekend, but I also find it really important to have quality down time with my boyfriend and my family. There needs to be a balance so that you don’t burn out. I am gradually learning not to push it and put too many plans in small amounts of time. Routine is also key for me.  

What career advice would you give to our girls who are thinking about pursuing a career in your chosen field?  

Get good experience first, don’t rush into anything. You need to learn about every part of running a business before going out on your own. Don’t doubt yourself. Expect it to be hard work before you see any rewards.  

Where would you like to see yourself in five years?  

At the moment I work from and often meet clients at a members club, but I would love to have my own client space in London with an in-house workshop, so that everything can be made on site.  

Finally, please indulge us with a random fact about yourself!

My Great, Great Grandfather was a fine jewellery designer and maker in the late 1800s & early 1900s, so jewellery is in my blood 

 

View Serena’s jewellery and read more about her business here: 

Serena Ansell | Fine Jewellery, London - www.serenaansell.com

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