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Timeless Jewellery Meets Sustainability: In Conversation With Otiumberg

This week on the Journal, we welcome the Wollenberg sisters Rosanna and Christie, who are defining the demi-fine jewellery movement with their blossoming brand Otiumberg.

1. Welcome to The Conran Shop, Otiumberg! Please tell our customers all about you.

Rosanna: We’re Christie and Rosanna Wollenberg, the London-based sisters behind the demi-fine brand Otiumberg. Our collection is a personal reflection on the jewellery we want to wear; timeless jewellery staples that champion an effortlessly stylish look with a touch of personality.

We’ve always thought of jewellery as non-seasonal; that’s why our collection avoids trends and obsolescence to focus on classic pieces that convey an easy but elevated style. We love minimal forms with small, considered details and refined finishes such as custom closures or unique textures.

Many people often ask where the name Otiumberg comes from. ‘Otium’ is a Latin word meaning a dignified form of leisure time devoted to an artistic endeavour and enjoyment. And ‘berg’ comes from our surname Wollenberg.

Chunky Square Hoops

2. We're delighted to offer a selection of your finest jewellery pieces; might you have a favourite? 

Christie: A piece that we love is the Locked Necklace. We launched this piece last year, and it’s quickly become a bestseller. It’s distinctively Otiumberg with a closure that doubles up as a pendant. We love how the necklace has an almost antique feel through the rounded chain and traditional swivel closure. We’re obsessed.

3. Your business champions precious raw metals from recycled sources; how important is sustainability to you?

Rosanna: For us, taking a responsible approach is integral to our brand. After all, as a family business, we want to stand proud of what we do for years to come. We use recycled metals across the collection, have eliminated SUP plastic in our supply chain and focus on a circular approach - from our design aesthetic to our in-house recycling and repair service. We’re also taking steps towards B-corp certification, which is exciting.

There’s no denying the jewellery industry impacts the planet and to act truly sustainably can be challenging. That’s why our approach has always considered how we can be as responsible as possible. We are always asking questions, learning and evolving - it’s part of our Otiumberg DNA.

4. What is it like running a business with your family?

Christie: We have a huge amount of trust and mutual understanding, which I think only comes with family. It’s been such a supportive relationship through the highs and lows of building a business.

Our shared experience and cultural references growing up together in London have led to an aligned vision and design aesthetic. We can seamlessly collaborate across the brand, which has made decision making and designing an enjoyable, unified process.

5. Otiumberg is defining the demi-fine jewellery movement; how do you stay ahead of the curve?

Rosanna: We try to always stay inspired, heading out to galleries (the Tate Modern is on our studio’s doorstep) and cultural events in London. A favourite of ours is the Barbican, where we most recently soaked up the beauty of the Noguchi exhibition.

We both lived abroad during our twenties – from the Middle East to NYC and Barcelona – and find travel to be a consistent source of inspiration. It’s often the style of the women in those unique places – their energy and character - that inspire us. Locally, we also spend hours deep diving into antique stores and vintage fairs, often walking away with some new pieces for our own jewellery collections!

6. Who takes care of your (stunning) designs?

Christie: As Creative Director, I oversee the design of our product with our team. We all come together conceptually on collections and work closely throughout. We’re always sharing references and discussing influences – our team's WhatsApp is quite something.

7. Are there any designers or brands that have inspired you along the way? 

Christie: We came of age during the iconic years of Pheobe Philo at Celine. The era of subtly cool, modern silhouettes that circumvent fads. Pair that with my career at Louis Vuitton and Burberry, I developed a love for timeless design, craftsmanship and an obsession for materiality – core principles of ours at Otiumberg.

8. As Otiumberg enters its sixth year in the industry, what are its ambitions for the next six years?

Rosanna: With everything we do at Otiumberg, our moves are guided by intuition. Over the next few years, we hope to expand internationally and explore what influence that has on the collection. We love collaborating with other designers and already have some exciting projects in the pipeline. From a responsibility standpoint, we are taking steps towards B-corp and considering our Net-Zero strategy. We hope that our responsibility programme will continue to evolve and innovate. We also aim to grow our impact through the Otiumberg Giving Fund, which this year supported displaced women and children through the charity, Choose Love. We hope this fund can grow to support even more women in the future. Other than that, the ambition is simple; to design beautiful and responsible jewellery which inspires and empowers everyone it touches. Oh, and making sure we enjoy it along the way!

Find your favourite piece from the Otiumberg edit today.