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West Street
 “JJW Designs”
JJW Designs
Westgate House, 25 West Street,
Rochford, SS4 1BE

01702 540459
Interview with Julie White (& Diane Osborne) of JJW Designs   (16th Nov.2010)

(Excuse us the comment: here is the proof that you can walk the streets of Rochford and miss the jewels that we have in our midst. Here is a shop that is light, airy and spacious and full of beauty!)

Rochford Life: Julie, how long have you been here?
Julie:  As a jewellery shop, about twenty months. This originally was a pottery studio that I took over three years ago, and which I had worked in about eight years (I had been to Art school) and I worked with a lady who ran it part-time and the opportunity came up when she wanted to retire and so I took the business on.    

RL: Do you make your own things or buy in?
Julie:  We make a huge amount of the things here. It may seem a strange thing to go from pottery to jewellery but a course came up to make Murano glass jewellery and the connection is kilns, because the pottery is obviously fired in a kiln and so is a lot of the jewellery we make. By that time Diane had joined me along with another lady who still does pottery. Diane is also an artist like me as well. We started with a little shop in the front corner here and carried on with pottery and it was very successful in its first Christmas. However it was evident that we couldn’t run a pottery studio where people were busy painting away while people were wanting to be served and looked after, and so we moved the pottery to another shop down the road and a local lady took it over (but it has now closed down) so we could focus on jewellery making. The other love of my life is Venice so, of course, when the course came up for Murano glass, that’s the Venetian connection really, it was like it all just came together.      

RL: So, how much of what is here did you say is made by you?  
Julie: Well everything is handmade and probably two thirds of the products that are here are made by us. The other third is either made by local artists or Venetian artists because we have connections with small studios like us in Venice where we go out and swap ideas and also buy some of their pieces. We go out to Venice about three times a year because they are the masters with glass. Because we are working with Murano glass, if we’ve bought some lovely pendants from one of them, we might match them and make earrings.   

RL: What is the sort of range of things you have here?
Julie: Predominantly it is jewellery; we do everything from earrings, necklaces etc. It is all glass, everything we do is glass, and the other material we use is crystal, Swarovski crystals. We do a range of commemorative plates as well, so it’s all special gift things really. We also do glass art work. The basis is that it is all quite arty and hand made.   

RL: What sort of price range will I find here?
Julie: £9.90 up to £150 so we have something for everyone we hope, and something for a really special occasion and something for a present to say thank you or to treat yourself with. The majority of our prices are between £18 and £50 probably. The glass art is priced according to special order and according to what a customer would like. Diane does a lot of bead work as well.

RL: Do you sell elsewhere?
Julie: We’ve recently had a jewellery shop take on a lot of our stuff so we’re really very pleased about that, and of course we have the website and a couple of outlets in Leigh.  We also do a lot of open evenings, pamper evenings, wedding fairs and so on, so we go out to a lot of different things as well. We’re just beginning jewellery parties so if people want to do it in their home and look at the pieces in their home that’s what we can do.

RL: You do purpose-made pieces as well?
Julie: Yes, we also do a lot of work for weddings. We tend to do more for mother of the bride really. If they want a particular colour, we can match any colour. We do bead work as well as the glass work, so if they come in with their dress or their hat or whatever it is they want to match, and we can make to order to match whatever they want at no extra price. If they see a beaded necklace here on display, but they want it in pink or green say, we can make it at the same price that they see on the display. They’re not going to have jewellery the same as the next person. It’s very individual. People like that because it is different; no one wants to be wearing the same as the next person. We find what people like is to be different; it’s not the same as the High Street and if they are buying a gift for a friend they can spend twenty five pounds and they have something individual that they really feel is special to give somebody, or even for themselves.   

RL: You seem to be well priced for Rochford.
Julie: Yes, people say that it’s well priced and it’s not so expensive that it’s silly. What’s the point of having all this lovely art to sell if it’s not affordable? We try to make it as affordable as possible. Obviously there are some higher priced things but sometimes you want something more special. We’re both passionate to make what people want. If they want something special, we will do our best with the materials that we use to provide what they want. I think that ultimately that is what we are about.     

RL: Julie, that’s very impressive. It’s a beautiful shop with beautiful things in it. Thank you for giving us your time.

Shop on line at

Enquires by e-mail:

Extract from their own site:

Working with the finest Murano glass, gold and silver leaf from Venice Italy, Swarovski crystals from Austria, and dazzling dichroic glass from America. Using traditional lampwork and contemporary glass firing methods we have created a sumptuous range of individual uniquely designed costume jewellery for you to select.
To see more about Meruno glass, go to their excellent site and follow the links.

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Julie in her beautiful shop
Diane at work with glass