Sunroom Q+A: Lauren Harwell Godfrey
Created from 18-karat gold, precious gemstones, and vivid enamel, Harwell Godfrey fine jewelry is designed by Lauren Harwell Godfrey. With an aesthetic inspired by ancient textiles and ethnic patterns, no detail is left unfinished: most pieces feature delicate hand-engraving on the backs, reinforcing the intentions of the design with beautifully-rendered motifs.
To celebrate having new pieces by Lauren in-store at Sunroom, we spoke with the designer to learn more about her design process...
What first attracted you to jewelry making?
The stones! I started out by hand making really large-scale leather and crystal necklaces and was completely enamored by the amazing stones that I was able to find. For those pieces, I used a lot of stones that were not altered in any way – they were strange and wonderful and completely as Mother Nature created them. It’s been so fascinating to make the transition to fine jewelry where I am using precious gemstones that have been faceted or polished and are otherworldly beautiful. One of my favorites are color change garnets that take on different colors depending on the light. I am a January baby and find them so magical!
Photo courtesy of Harwell Godfrey.
You emphasize the energetic quality of your pieces. How do your materials and process inform this resonance?
That’s another reason I love stones – there is so much lore about their energetic properties. It’s been fascinating to learn about and I always love seeing what people find themselves attracted to. I believe there’s a reason for that. In my Hexed collection, I purposefully paired certain stones to play up different kinds of energies. I also create engravings on many of my pieces that are an expression of positive energies. We can never have too many good vibes in this world.
Lauren at the bench, by Bess Friday.
Can you share more about your design philosophy?
I’m not sure I would call it a philosophy, but I have been working to create a special language that is Harwell Godfrey. It is made up of shapes, colors, materials, vibes, words… all of those things are a part of this language and my hope is that when I make something I use those things in a certain way and it’s clear that it’s my work. The more I work on it, the more this language becomes clear and robust, but it’s also evolving. I still want to surprise myself and everyone else!
Is there an heirloom or special piece of personal jewelry that is significant to you?
My grandmother passed away this year at 92 and she left me a beautiful diamond cocktail ring that she bought herself almost 50 years ago and wore every single day. Those stones made such an impression on me. I wanted to honor her by creating something that I would also wear every day, so I turned it into a band and inscribed it with her initials, and the years she was born and passed. I also put heart-shaped cutouts behind each of the diamonds. I do wear it every day.
Photo by Bess Friday.
Your creative career has spanned advertising, culinary arts, and jewelry design. Tell us more about what this most recent mode of creative expression allows you to explore.
There is actually a through-line in all of these careers and that’s making things. First, it was ads, then it was food, and now it’s jewelry. What I love exploring in jewelry that I haven’t done before is creating a wearable object. Working three-dimensionally is something that I needed a little time to adjust to, but now I love it. It’s so fun solving a problem that has many angles.