“It’s not just jewellery I create, but memory capsules and love stories”
If you’ve ever meandered beyond the bridge over the Baviaanskloof River from Mainstream Mall and continued walking, you would find yourself among our Fisherman’s World precinct. This part of the mall is home to historical buildings from Hout Bay’s past. These include among others the original Hout Bay General Dealer store and the Old Telephone Exchange, home to one of our favourite jewellers, Heidi Liebenberg from Nomad Jewellery and Accessories.
Whenever we pop into Nomad to say hi to Heidi, we marvel at the gorgeous jewellery designs on display and being tended to in her always-busy studio.
A few days ago we caught up with Heidi who gave us a run-down of what she creates, why she creates and a few unknown facts about this über-talented jeweller.
Heidi, we love your work! But we’d love to get to know the person behind the brand. Tell us a bit about you.
HL: I founded Nomad, my contemporary jewellery label in 2009 where I design and manufacture a range of contemporary jewellery from capsule collections to individual bespoke pieces. But up to this point I have been involved in many creative industries – I’ve been an interior designer, a make-up artist, a model and a goldsmith – and still see myself as encapsulating these talents in my current role as a jewellery designer.
How did you become involved in your particular field?
HL: I worked in the fashion and publishing worlds for over 20 years before turning to jewellery design and manufacture. I have always loved unusual jewellery, which was not easy to find. So, of course that meant I had to make it myself! NOMAD was born and there’s been no looking back.
Tell us something about you, your brand or your journey that may surprise your customers
HL: I did a three year degree at age 45, which proves it’s never too late to change direction! I studied jewellery manufacture at the Cape Technikon after hours in their part time course for a couple of years while keeping my book design studio going in the daytime. By the time I reached 3rd year I was able to go full time.
My work revolves around creating bespoke jewellery pieces to brief – often for special occasions or life milestones. We manufacture every single element of our work, from smelting grain to rolling wire and plate required to manufacture a piece from the very start. We support local suppliers where engraving, casting or setting is required. We do not import a single item of jewellery, and all items are limited edition.
Aside from jewellery, I’m actually taking part in the current Zeitz Mocca exhibition titled, Home Is Where The Art Is: Art Is Where The Home Is. It’s a wonderful opportunity and a great idea to bring people from all creative backgrounds to visit the museum. I’m really excited to see the show. My art on show is a piece I painted when my father was ill with cancer in 1997. I’ve always felt a pull to paint in difficult times. This painting reminds me of him and how short our lives are, and how we should take every moment to enjoy what we have. Afterall home is where the heart is.
Give us a rundown of your current work and the collections we can expect to find in-studio or on your website
HL: Our current ring collection is available on my website and also on Qplus – South Africa’s LGBTQ portal. From left – Mummy ring (available plain, or with black diamonds), Tourmalated quartz signet ring, Black spinel signet ring, Coin signet ring and Archer ring (to wear on thumb or not – set with black diamonds).
The signet rings on the cushion are all from the EVOKE collection of signet and solitaire rings – our take on an old favourite. We love working with special and unusual stones. Each ring is made to fit the stone selected so each one is unique. This collection has been very successful with many clients choosing pinkie ring versions, and customizing according to their wishes.
The large round silver pendant on solid silver choker is set with rose cut pyrite and black onyx. The pattern engraved on the surface refers to the creative force latent in all of us and comes from an ancient African religion. This is a true statement piece.
The gold earrings are from our mini collection titled ASTRONOMY and are inspired by the orbiting planets and stars and movements of our universe. Each pair is different as they are all handmade. They are also available in silver and of course, customizable.
If you weren’t in your chosen profession, what would you be doing now?
HL: I’m not sure, but definitely know it would involve designing or inventing or painting.
Why did you choose Hout Bay and Mainstream Mall as your base?
HL: Hout Bay is the most beautiful environment to work in. Beach visits for inspiration, views that change and surprise daily, and special people in the valley.
What “special something” do you add to your service delivery to make it worthwhile visiting you?
HL: NOMAD jewellery pieces have character and presence. This is jewellery for people who forge their own way. All of my years of design experience have enabled me to imbue this quality into my collections to offer you not just jewellery but memory capsules and love stories.
Anything else to add?
HL: By commissioning a NOMAD piece, you are purchasing a hand-made item manufactured with many years design experience as well as the knowledge and understanding of the processes required to produce a piece of jewellery.
You’re not only supporting a local female owned business, but the suppliers and their dependants NOMAD uses all along the pathway to our creation.
Your special object is made from precious materials – metals and stones – NOMAD gives those precious materials relevance by adding your story.
Where can we find you:
Mainstream Mall Fisherman’s World Precinct, Old Telephone Exchange building – behind the Old Post Office, home to Big Blue.