John Lewis Exeter shows sea glass jewellery made in Falmouth

A Falmouth-based designer has increased her sales ten-fold this year for her jewellery made from sea glass.

The popularity of her pieces has seen Amelia Frances of Yemaya Collections selected from among hundreds of designer makers to showcase her work at pop-up events at John Lewis in Exeter between October 5-11 and December 7-13.

Amelia puts her recent success down to a yearning for the coast during lockdown and the plight of the marine environment affecting consumer habits.

She said: “I received a lot of comments during lockdown about how my work reminded people of special places by the coast, places they wished they could visit! Lots of us have memories of finding sea glass on beaches – it’s those simple, nostalgic pleasures that we crave during these troubled times.”

Sea glass is a result of marine littering. It starts life as glass bottles or jars which end up in the ocean, only to be broken up, tossed and tumbled, smoothed and frosted – gradually becoming something which is ironically very beautiful.

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After 7-10 years of being shaped by the ocean, the jewel-like sea glass is in its optimum state and is collected from beaches all over the world, including in Cornwall where Amelia searches the shorelines.

To keep up with demand she also uses cultured glass, which has been artificially put through the same process.

Yemaya is inspired by Amelia’s global coastal adventures. From teaching marine conservation and tagging turtles in the Caribbean, to windsurfing around Europe and exploring the wild and rugged coast of Northern Scotland, Amelia has a deep affinity with the ocean which manifests itself in her designs.

Returning to Cornwall permanently after her latest sojourn in the Highlands and Islands, Amelia began to sell her work online and at various local events.

Demand has grown to such a degree that she now outsources some of the work to other skilled makers.

Yemaya will shortly introduce a unique new product to complement the existing range; it will be officially launched at the John Lewis store event in Exeter in October.

Amelia explained: “I’m really excited about the new line, as it brings the issue of marine litter into sharp focus and a percentage of the profits will go towards ocean clean-up projects. It’s very satisfying to be producing things which are not only beautiful but also make a positive contribution to the future of our oceans.”

Falmouth Packet | News