Q&A: Liz Olver

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Liz Olver is currently Design Director at Annoushka, based out of their flagship store and building on Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea. Previous to this, she was Designer at Links of London, both companies founded by Annoushka Ducas MBE. Liz is an author of three jewellery making titles, has worked as Product Development Manager at De Beers LV, has run her own jewellery label and was for many years a Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design on the BA Hons Jewellery Design course. She has an MA from the Royal College of Art and a degree in Jewellery Design from Central St Martin’s. She is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and has the Freedom of the City of London. She answers the Benchpeg Q&A.

What’s your name, and what do you for a living?

LO: Liz Olver. I am Design Director at Annoushka.

How did you come to work in the jewellery industry?

LO: Chance has played a pivotal part. I made my first piece of jewellery at school encouraged by the metalwork teacher and I am fortunate to still be in touch with him - I was thrilled when he came to my RCA degree show. On foundation at Salisbury, a helpful observation about my obsession with jewellery made me apply to study jewellery design.

How would you describe your work to someone who doesn’t know it?

LO: Most of my time is spent designing and developing jewellery. I am mostly in the studio, though I do get out to workshops, which is perfect as I love working directly with craftsmen. In a former life I was a lecturer at Central Saint Martins and I miss teaching, so I relish opportunities to mentor and I enjoy training our team at Annoushka.

What is your creative process?

LO: I need to be in a creative space, though I am well known for being a bit OCD about order and tidiness, so I tend to clear the decks before I start anything whether designing, making or cooking. Visualising my ideas by sketching then developing and formalising with Illustrator works best for me at the moment, though I’d like to spend more time getting to grips with CAD.

Where do you love to shop?

LO: I am not an avid shopper, so I prefer to find something that prompts me to shop that I'd really like, whether through a shop window as I'm passing, online or in the media. I don't have much time to shop, so I am grateful for online shopping.

What is your inspiration?

Annoushka Ducas and Liz Olver

LO: I’m eclectic so everything I do, see and experience feeds into my work one way or another.

make time to visit museums and exhibitions with my good friend Anne Kernan, who I greatly admire. Anne’s a great one to do creative things with and she helps me to crystallise my thoughts. 

I’m also blessed to have a wonderful long term partnership with Annoushka Ducas (we have worked together now for 13 years) as she’s great fun and inspirational to work with.

What piece of jewellery do you most treasure?

The diamond & jade earrings; Liz wearing Mythology necklace with Beth.

LO: Jewellery is steeped in sentiment for me so I’ve a few favourites. Ranked highly is a pair of jade earrings I designed gifted to me by my husband, a ring by Anastasia Young with a milk tooth from my much loved Hungarian Vizsla Penge and my Annoushka Mythology necklace.

What piece of jewellery do you most desire?

LO: Designing at Annoushka is all about designing jewellery Annoushka and I would like for ourselves.

The Annoushka Golden Pearls ring is a piece I have hankered after for quite some time. 

If you could only be remembered for one piece of your work, what would it be?

LO: The body of work I have done at Annoushka.

What would be your advice to someone starting out in the industry?

LO: Be positive, don’t give up, work hard, be generous and be clever about it, be honest, fair and open. Treat everyone with respect – what goes around comes around.

The Benchpeg Proust Q&A

  1. What’s your favourite work of art?
    LO: Johannes Vermeer - Girl with a Pearl Earring.

  2. Who from past or present would you invite to a dinner party for the evening?
    LO: Iris Apfel and Bill Nighy.

  3. Do you have any pets, if yes, what is their name?
    LO: Alas not at the moment. My big love was our wonderful Hungarian Vizsla Penge - she was a wedding present and we were blessed to have her for 15 years.

  4. What is your most treasured possession?
    LO: Love, health and happiness.

  5. What would you consider a perfect day?
    LO: Being with husband Miles, my daughter Beth and other favourites doing something interesting which is visually exciting / pleasing - nothing too sedentary and preferably including delicious food.

  6. Is there a favourite journey, trip or voyage you hold dear?
    LO: Travelling on the Rovos Rail in South Africa on honeymoon.

  7. What is your greatest achievement?
    LO: My daughter Beth.

  8. What advice would tell your younger self?
    LO: Have confidence.

  9. Can you sum yourself up in one word?
    LO: Positive.

  10. What motto do you live by?
    LO: Never say never. 

Image credits: Images sourced from Liz Olver and Pinterest.


Rebecca van Rooijen


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