Gemmologist jeweller Susi Smither, who makes every piece herself by hand in her Hertfordshire studio, is certainly doing things a bit differently.

Billed as a "truly ethical British jewellery brand," The Rock Hound, is known for using responsibly sourced raw materials to create striking design-led jewellery. Playful hues frame bold gemstones and organic, flowing forms create offbeat pairings.

Susi has won accolade after accolade - and her creations are certainly no stranger to red carpets.

Most recently, Hayley Atwell – in her role as Chair of the Jury and presenter of Best Director award (which went to Charlotte Wells for Aftersun) chose to wear solely jewellery from The Rock Hound at the British Independent Film Awards.

"Juxtaposing the naturally-coloured gemstones I am known for my specialist coating which when applied to highly polished gold creates a luminosity unrivalled with other finishes. It is all about making those gemstones pop," says Susi.

"Holding ethics at the core of the brand, I am bringing the aesthetics to ethics.

"A proud Fairtrade Gold licensee since 2015 I've searched worldwide for artisan lapidaries and gemstone sources which match my ethos.

"Each gemstone chosen as an exquisite example of colour, clarity and saturation. Combining traditional techniques with state of the art technology allows me to really push the boundaries of design. Each collection takes a different route: the process often starts with a traditional hand rendering of the design, then transposed into CAD and 3D printed in wax these are cast using the traditional lost wax casting method in rich hues of Fairtrade Gold or Recycled Gold. At this point it is back to the bench for setting and polishing the old fashioned way.

"Since launching The Rock Hound I have received multiple industry accolades in the US and UK including New Designer of the Year 2017 at the UK Jewellery Awards; International Jewellery London 2017, Editors’ Choice Award for Technical Trailblazer; Top Three among the Rising Stars in the Design Center at JCK Las Vegas 2018 and shortlisted for Professional Jeweller’s Ethical Collection of the Year in 2017 and 2019."

Her most recent award was at The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council Awards 2022 where she won Bronze in the Ready to Wear category for her new collection - Feeling Druzy.

Susi launched The Rock Hound in 2015, after working at Holts in Hatton Garden as Stock Controller for three years.

After completing her gemmological training the passion for gemstones and crystals was ignited and in order to delve deeper Susi embarked on two life-changing field trips to Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

Having always been a conscious consumer it wasn’t until she was scrabbling around in a pile of tailings in Sri Lanka and spending days in the Umba Valley in Tanzania with a team of miners that Susi fully grasped the disparity between mine and market and the dark secrets of the industry.

“Our lives and livelihoods, whilst worlds apart, are inextricably linked with the miners through gold and gemstones – and I for one, want that link to be a positive one. So when it came to creating a jewellery brand having this duty of care was at the very heart of all my decisions.”

Her Chromanteq collection has a starting price point of £3,500 - while the new affordable HotRocks recycled silver & nano-ceramic coloured collection (inspired by the termination point of a quartz crystal) starts at £120 for a pair of studs. Susi also takes on bespoke commissions.

Definitely one for those tired of traditional...

The Rock Hound will be available in Selfridges during its ethical and sustainable jewellery pop up on ground floor in the Accessories dept throughout February.