Air pollution levels may be down for the moment, but that doesn’t mean that we can officially wash our hands of our responsibility to the environment.
Far from it: almost 8,000 animal species around the planet are still endangered thanks to our destruction of nature. One of them is the Union Island gecko. The lizard, a native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has been smuggled out of the island by so many poachers that its numbers have fallen to 10,000.
“[The geckos] are currently protected by wardens on the island, who stop poachers from stealing them to sell to reptile collectors,” explains jewellery designer Catherine Prevost. Prevost knows her facts: she has teamed up with Atelier Swarovski for the Sea Life collection, aiming to raise awareness for at-risk wildlife species on the Caribbean island.
The collection is just as much a testament to Prevost’s love of colour as it is to her love for animals. Specifically, the hawksbill turtle, the parrotfish and the aforementioned gecko, all of which appear in the collection. Embellished in vibrant jewels, the animals adorn rings, hang from earrings or shine as pendants on chain necklaces.
The jewellery pieces, like those seen on the Fall/Winter 2020 runways, heavily feature charms, but Prevost’s designs don’t bring luck. Instead, their power is more potent: a portion of their proceeds will go to supporting the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Environment Fund (SVGEF).
You might remember the SVGEF for making the headlines in 2017, when the non-profit organization successfully campaigned to ban the killing of sea turtles on the Caribbean archipelago where it is based. Prevost, obviously, shares the organization’s passion for preserving the environment and wildlife of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
But her Sea Life collection is also remarkable for its beauty, something that the London-based designer has had an eye for since her first jewellery collection in 1991. Prevost’s debut was a hit, landing her a spot in department stores like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Harrods, and she eventually opened her own boutique in Knightsbridge. Today, her jewels continue to make waves — of a different kind.
Below, we speak to Prevost to learn more about her craft, her passions and what went into the making of the Sea Life collection.
I always loved jewellery as a child. My mother has an amazing collection and she taught me a lot. Jewellery design is so satisfying because it combines creativity and craftsmanship in such a detailed and beautiful way. Jewellery also makes people happy. It is the ultimate adornment, representing both femininity and self-expression.
Nadja Swarovski and I have been friends for years and we were speaking about our shared interest in animal protection and environmental concerns. It happened quite naturally. Swarovski’s ethos is very much about building a responsible future for the luxury industry and the planet.
I would like for there to be more restrictions in the industry for cheaply made jewels.
I have been supporting the SVGEF for years. I’m passionate about protecting animals from extinction. I was so excited to introduce the charity, its founder Ben Goldsmith, and its chairman Bryan Adams, to Nadja. She has made an annual pledge to support the fund.
I am always inspired by nature. The Sea Life collection features my favourite Caribbean animals: the hawksbill turtle, parrotfish and the Union Island gecko. All three animals are some of the most endangered in the Caribbean sea.
I have personally seen the numbers of hawksbill turtles dwindle as I swim with them on every visit to Mustique, a small island in St. Vincents and the Grenadines. The parrotfish numbers have gone way down too. But I am proud to say that because of the SVGEF’s efforts, there has been a government ban on all turtle-hunting, as well as fishing for parrotfish.
I first met with the Atelier Swarovski team to discuss the theme of the collection. After that, I went on to do research and produce preliminary drawings. Once they were approved, technical drawings were made.
I love the large green turtle ring because it is so playful and adds colour to any outfit.
I love the creative process. I am always designing. Even when I sleep, I dream about patterns and shapes. I would love to have a whole house one day in only my fabrics! Also, I love having a voice to create a positive change and make the world more beautiful.