“I’ve always loved the feeling that you’re discovering somewhere new here,” says jeweller Natasha Collis of her delightfully out-of-the-way location on the north coast of Ibiza. “Sant Miquel isn’t very well known – that’s what makes it so special.” The tiny village is indeed sleepy, with Collis’s studio-shop tucked away in a 400-year-old building that has been by turns a police station, a post office and a bar. Despite these myriad incarnations, the interior has remained much the same for centuries, its whitewashed walls and low dark beams now providing an atmospheric backdrop for a vibrant collection of jewels.
Collis relocated to Ibiza from London in 2009, but first began to design jewellery design in the late 1990s, having studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art. “I don’t have any formal jewellery training,” she explains. “I had a very open approach and discovered things in my own way, developing my style of shaping gold by experimenting with metal.” The result is organic, nature-inspired nuggets wrought from recycled 18ct gold, textured by hand or combined with a kaleidoscope of gems.
Take her popular stacking rings, which come in plain gold (from €375), as well as set with a faceted purple sapphire (€2,295) or inlaid with a constellation of delicate multi-hued peach sapphires (€1,170). Necklaces range from elegant single strands of gold and stones – rough grey and faceted black diamonds (€1,610); emeralds and grey sapphires (€1,240); pink sapphires, rubies and spinels (€1,255) – to the statement collar necklace (€19,605), with its rainbow-like rows of rubies, sapphires, quartz and spinels offset with gold clusters. “That one took over 200 hours to make,” says Collis. “I think of my pieces as stories, and spend a long time balancing the characters of the stones and the gold.”
Equally showstopping are a solid gold cuff (€16,970) of interlinking nuggets scattered with diamonds, and bohemian tasselled (sunset sapphire rod, €3,935) and dropped (emerald and pink spinel, €590) earrings. It’s a unique style – “timeless but not traditional”, she says – that has attracted a loyal fan base ranging from Isabel Marant to Carole Bamford to hair stylist John Frieda and his wife Avery Agnelli. Another fashion icon known to wear her jewels is Browns boutique founder Joan Burstein – who happens to be Collis’s grandmother. “My family taught me to be passionate,” says Collis. “It’s important to nurture and love what you do.”
She is clearly devoted to her craft, as a peek into her studio reveals. “People often want to buy the designs I’m wearing, but sometimes I’m just not ready to let my pieces go,” she says with a smile. “The jewellery I make is spontaneous and of the moment. Once a piece is sold, I won’t be able to make another one exactly the same. That’s the beauty of it.”