When I think about JoyBerry Jewels, it feels like it has been a lifetime in the making. From the day that I first fell in love with jewellery, to the moment I decided that I was going to learn to make jewellery and to now, working for myself doing what I love; designing and making jewellery.  It has been a crazy journey that has led me to this point.

But it honestly feels like I have been leading up to this my whole life. My earliest memories are of raiding my Nana’s massive jewellery box filled with all kinds of pretty shiny things that completely captivated me. I would spend hours trying on all of her jewellery and parading around her house showing off all these beautiful treasures that I had found. She would sit and tell me the stories behind each of her special pieces and this was the first time that I had really been introduced to the idea that jewellery told the stories of people’s lives.

When I was older and my mother allowed us to have jewellery made for ourselves as gifts, I started considering the idea of making jewellery as a job or career. It had never occurred to me before this and after I was given the opportunity to spend a day on the bench and make my little puzzle ring, I was sold. This was what I was going to do for the rest of my life, no matter what! I remember that day so vividly. I remember using the saw frame for the first time, watching my ring slowly take shape and seeing the very first piece of jewellery I had ever made come to life. This day would come to shape the rest of my life.

I went on to study Jewellery Design and Manufacture at the University of Johannesburg where my passion for designing and making jewellery really became ignited. It was the most challenging thing I had ever done and I really wasn’t very good at it to start with. There was many a tear shed because I felt that I wasn’t good enough or that maybe I wasn’t meant to be doing this but I carried on and pushed myself to try to be better with every single project that I did. It was a really easy environment to be inspired by because there were so many talented designers and makers around me and that really encouraged me to keep trying harder to be the best I could be. When I graduated 4 years later, I managed to graduate with a cum laude degree and it is still one of the achievements that I am most proud of to date because even though I wasn’t very good to start with, I came out having done all I could to be who I believed I was meant to be.

Following my graduation, I started working in the trade as an apprentice. I learned all I could while working under the guidance of my employer and I just loved making jewellery fulltime. But it was stifling. As an apprentice and bench worker, you don’t get to design jewellery and bring those ideas to life. I wanted to design and make jewellery that embodied the stories of people’s lives. The kind of stories that I heard my Nana tell me as a little girl dressed up in her jewels.  So, in 2017 when somebody at a pottery class I attended asked me to design and make a ring, I jumped at the opportunity with all I had. That was the ring that made me decide it was time. I started my business.

Like all things, my business needed a name. I wanted it to be something personal but also timeless. So, I took part of my name, Joy, and as an homage to my Mom who did all she could to help make my dreams come true, I took her maiden name, Berry. And so JoyBerry Jewels and Designs was born.

Looking back on it now, I really feel as though I have been working my way to this point my whole life. From the tiny toddler who played dress up in my Nana’s jewellery to the grown woman who is living the dream of running her own jewellery design business today. I have done so much and learned so much along the way but one key consistency remains; I love designing and making beautiful jewellery that celebrates life and that helps make memories for the people wearing it.