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Interview: Milena Kovanovic

To continue our week of exploring new talent, we caught up with the only jewellery designer to feature on our list, the fabulous Milena Kovanovic. Hailing from Serbia, but based in London, her statement pieces combine bright and often large gemstones with delicate precious metal casings to form exquisite items that would finish off any outfit. She tells us about what makes her tick and her new collection which is inspired by the depths of the ocean and the treasures that lay within.

PlanetNotion: What led you into jewellery design?
Milena Kovanovic: I came across jewellery design whilst doing my art & design foundation course. I really enjoyed working in metal and decided I’d apply to the degree course after my tutor convinced me I’d be perfect for it. It must have been fate as I used to make jewellery as a teenager and sell it at Greenwich market to earn some extra cash, though I never considered it as a career at the time.

PN: What do you do/ where you go to find inspiration?
MK: Inspiration can come from anywhere and there’s certainly no shortage of it. I’m very visual and take a lot of photographs of things that catch my eye. Sometimes it can be from something I’ve read or an exhibition I’ve seen. I love to travel which is a great influence for new ideas.

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PN: Does London rather than your native Serbia change your approach to design?  
MK: I moved to London at a very young age, so my approach to design developed here alongside my Serbian culture and heritage. I think the combination of being from one place and growing up in another is symbiotic to my creativity.

PN: How would you describe your style in three words?
MK: Colourful, opulent and organic.

PN: What’s your favourite material to work with?
MK: It has to be vibrant gemstones and gold.

PN: Your rings are such stand out pieces; how many rings do you wear on a daily basis?
MK: Usually a stack of four rings on one finger and occasionally a big gemstone set ring on another.

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PN: Your new collection is called ‘Ursula’s Hoard’. Tell us a little bit about it. 
MK: It’s a collection inspired by jewellery lost to the depths of the ocean – from a pirate’s ransom to a conquistadors spoils, that lay forgotten in the skeletons of once mighty galleons.
Ursula is the fictional muse of this collection, she is a sea nymph who has collected these long forgotten jewels from shipwrecks.
From deep blue Lapis Lazuli and orange Carnelian rings to baroque pearl earrings nestled in textured gold, each piece in the hoard is named after the famous sunken ship it hails from.
I wanted the collection to evoke that sense of discovering buried treasure and feeling like it has a history to it.

PN: If you could collaborate with or design for anybody in the future, who would be your number one?
MK: I would love to collaborate with fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic, she has such a great aesthetic with her use of bold colours. All that’s missing is some equally vibrant jewels!

PN: What’s next for you?   
MK: Sketching out ideas for a new collection and continuing to develop my fine jewellery range.

Explore Milena’s stunning collection here.

- Allana Isaacs



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