Athene Sholl - interview for Virtual Bunch
Athene Sholl is not only a jeweller and silversmith but also the creative force behind Athene Sholl Jewellery. Originally from London, she spent four years in Cheshire before settling in Guernsey at the age of 11. For the past forty years, Guernsey has been her home, with brief interruptions for university and travel spanning five and two years, respectively. Today, Athene resides in St Peter Port with her husband, two teenagers, and a lovable cockerpoo.

During our conversation, we asked Athene about her sources of inspiration for her jewellery designs, her everyday go-to accessory and her favorite spots on the island for relaxation.
Please, can you tell us about your journey as a jewellery maker? How did you develop an interest in this craft, and what led you to pursue it professionally?

As a child I was always making things. By age 4, I was sewing pretty buttons from my Nan’s button stash on to a tea towel, my Mother still has the tea towel and the buttons are still going strong! Making and selling clothes throughout my school years led me to a foundation course, intending to study fashion – but realising it was the tiny details that fascinated me I chose a silversmithing and jewellery degree instead at Sir John Cass in London.

My interests are many and I did placements in millinery and carpentry during my degree, and recently completed a tutu making course. If I’m making, I’m happy.

What inspires your jewellery designs? Are there specific themes, materials, or techniques that influence your creative process?

Recycling is a major theme in my work. My university study in the 90s was during the first wave of recycling and sustainability in the art world and led me to completely focus my approach to jewellery making on using recycled materials of all kinds. Another theme is the natural world, the amazing patterns and colours that are all around us. It’s a matter of really seeing and studying those details.

Photo credit: Athene Sholl

Photo credit: Athene Sholl

Can you briefly share with us the typical process you follow in creating your jewellery, from initial concept to the finished piece?

Much of my metal work uses very traditional methods and tools. I spend a huge amount of time observing my surroundings. For example my St Peter Port Daisy jewellery. I studied the daisies growing in cracks in the granite, musing on what a St Peter Port Daisy is, and researching their origins, before using my metalwork skills to recreate these lovely flowers as jewellery.

In your opinion, why should women wear jewellery?

Ummm, not just women – jewellery can be worn by everyone!

Jewellery is an ancient form of adornment. One of my very early interests was Celtic jewellery, which combined artistry, beauty, portable wealth, symbolism, status, protection and also mysticism, with those endless lines entwined into patterns.

Today, our choice of jewellery often says more about us than our clothes, enhances our ‘persona’, and can be attention grabbing or discrete. Who do we want to be to be today? What message do we want to convey?

We are also curious to know which piece of jewellery you consider your go-to daily accessory?

For me it’s my earrings. The right shape and colour combination will flatter features and bring your natural colouring to life. I have a round face, and long earrings balance that out. My current favourite earrings are a pair of my store card plectrums adorned with opals, full of colour and movement. Life’s better when you’re wearing fabulous earrings.

Are there any specific types of materials and gemstones that you prefer to work with?

I do insist on using recycled metals for sustainability, but I happily work with a huge range of materials and stones, they all have their own special characteristics. Of course I won’t use things like ivory, and I’ve often turned down working with human teeth.

What advice would you offer to someone who is interested in starting their journey in jewellery making?

Get some decent tools, and just go for it. Make, make, make. There are a huge amount of courses, from one day, to degree level. As jewellers we’re always learning, it’s such a huge area. Develop your own style and your niche will find you. Make sure that if you’re selling what you make that you are aware of quality control, I’ve seen so much jewellery offered for sale that is finished badly and potentially dangerous. Again, it’s all in the details. Notice all those details, and you won’t go far wrong.

Where in Guernsey can one find or view your products for purchase?

I mostly make to commission, bespoke jewellery is my passion and I take visits to the studio by appointment. But you can also visit my website for a constantly changing selection. I’m also stocked by Candie Museum shop, Guernsey Information Centre, The White House Hotel, Cadeaux, and Iris and Dora. I also have stockists in Sark, Alderney and Jersey.

Photo credit: Athene Sholl

Photo credit: Athene Sholl

When you need to unwind in Guernsey, where do you go? What are your favourite spots on the island?

Generally, as a family we head to green spaces and beaches. We all love swimming and frequently hike to the south coast bays for a swim, with our cockapoo Lando. Otherwise we walk the lovely coastal footpaths in all weather. Walking in nature is a constant source of inspiration, and the rest of the family roll their eyes when I’m laying on the footpath taking photos of lichen.

How would you describe the character or personality of Guernsey and what sets it apart from other places?

Guernsey has a largely unspoilt natural beauty and more than its fair share of good food and restaurants. Its laid back atmosphere makes it the perfect place to live and visit. Guernsey punches well above its weight in the arts too.

Interested in exploring Athene’s exquisite work or adding some new jewellery pieces to your collection? Simply visit Athene’s website at, check out her Instagram account @athenesholljewellery, or sign up for her newsletter.