Ever considered working with a jewellery designer to create your very own, custom piece of jewellery?

I recently did just that with Black Betty Jewellery Design.

I’d had a few turquoise stones, some coral I bought years ago in Mauritius, a string of cultured pearls and a few tiny diamonds laying around, just waiting for a new life.

I considered using these pieces to make pendant for a necklace – but truthfully, as I grow older and the old décolletage shows the signs of years of UV damage, I find myself wearing necklaces rather infrequently these days.

I decided a pair of show-stopping earring was the way to go.

I placed the stones, coral & pearls into a design I kinda liked, and sent the image above to jewellery designer and owner of Black Betty, Kristin Weixelbaumer as a starting point for the design.

Where the magic happens. The Black Betty studio in Cape Town.

A few days later, Kristin sent some me technical drawings outlining the structure of the earrings as well as some design options.

The work bench at black betty

Sophia Le Roux, Black Betty’s Rockstar Bench worker beginning the process of putting my earrings together.


I’m SO happy with the finished product!

I sat down with Kristin Weixelbaumer (above) to chat jewellery

Which important points should one consider when thinking of getting a custom piece of jewellery designed?

The most crucial factor is deciding how much this piece will mean to you and what your budget is.

Once these factors are decided, both designer & client are better equipped to decide which materials to use. Ultimately, the better the quality of materials, more valuable & longer lasting the investment.

What is the biggest jewellery trend currently?

Ear Candy/ The Curated Ear! I’m currently very excited about this trend. Hardly anyone has a single ear piercing anymore – these days, we’re seeing helixes, conches, rooks and traduce piercings as oppose to the regular lobe and auricle. 

How do you rock the ear Candy / curated Ear look?

You style your ear with jewelry in a very deliberate and beautiful way using a variety of styles from studs, to sleepers, to hoops… 

I cannot get enough of this trend. It’s interesting that these piercings have existed in various cultures throughout history, but only now are they beginning to become mainstream. Time to get more piercings, I say!

How do you care for your fine jewellery?

Ingredients like ammonia, alcohol and acids can damage your jewelry so remove it before doing household chores, gardening, or other activities that can scratch, chip, or damage it. Remember to store your jewellery separately – metals and stones can scratch each other. Store your jewelry in pouches made of soft clothes, zip locks bags, or a jewellery box with different compartments. Keep your jewellery stored in a dry place away from any direct sunlight. Remove your jewelry before swimming as sea water and chlorine can cause metals like gold, platinum and silver to dis-colour. Sunscreen, bug spray and body lotions can also make jewelry dull. 

What can we clean our jewelry with? Our personal favourite jewellery cleaner is Shine Bright, which we sell.

Why did you decide to start Black Betty, and what’s been your biggest career highlight thus far?

I always wanted to work for myself in a creative field.

I studied Art Direction and Graphic Design at Cape Town’s Red & Yellow Advertising School and followed it with yoga and crystal healing courses. While doing these courses, my path to jewellery became clear. Once I started learning about various precious stones and their unique qualities, I realized my life’s passion lay in jewellery design.

Career highlights include tennis legend Venus Williams buying some Black Betty jewels, working on unique bespoke items for awesome clients, building an incredible all-women team, and collaborating with unbelievably talented designers and photographers for our Raven Fashion Film – which was nominated for 2 international awards (VIEW HERE)

To learn more about the Black Betty brand and view their collection, check out blackbettydesign.com

One comment

Your custom earrings are spectacular and so unique! I inherited my late grandmothers engagement ring and thanks to your post, am considering working with a jewellery designer to re-work it into something more current that I can wear daily.

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