Destination Johannesburg: Jewellery Designer

Interviews | 7th Nov 2017

A born and bred Joburg’er, we speak to jewellery designer Henriette Botha about why she loves the City of Gold.

Tell us a little bit about yourself? Were you always passionate about jewellery?
I trained in jewellery design and then worked for Balmain in Paris for 3 years. I started seeing things were happening in South Africa and especially in Johannesburg, so I decided to come back and start my own brand. Everyone was doing very plain, simple jewellery. I knew I wanted to do something different, and I wanted to give back to the community. I trained up some ladies who had the basic skills but took it one step further to finish off the pieces amazingly well, adding that touch of luxury.

It’s must be great to have a core group of locals to work with?
Yes, and we do everything in-house. For the latest collection, we’ve started working with metal and stones.

Does Johannesburg shape your designs?
The latest collection is actually dedicated to Johannesburg – it’s called Golden Arc. The golden arc is what helped make Joburg famous: the vast gold deposit that stretched from Johannesburg all the way to Welkom. The collection is very gold, and then uses specific stones that I feel are the colours of Joburg – lapis for the blue skies, green agate for all the greenery we have, and amber and onyx for the gold and black of the mines.

What do you think of Johannesburg’s regeneration?
It’s awesome. Especially the regeneration project in Maboneng, and the visions they have to expand that whole precinct.

Where do you feel most at home in the city?
The Parks. I grew up in Parktown which is old Joburg, so I’m very much an old Joburg girl.

What is it about Parktown?
It’s full of history; it’s really the basis Johannesburg was built on – all the parks and the trees were planted to help with the mining.

What should more people know about Johannesburg?
It’s not as scary and dangerous as everyone makes it out to be. We’re a friendly people, a mixed pot of all different cultures hanging out together.

A favourite spot for brunch or breakfast?
Craft & Co
, they’re amazing on Saturday morning for brunch, it’s buzzing. And also Nice in Parkhurst.

Best boutiques?
Convoy
in Melville, it’s an awesome concept; six designers equally own the shop. And Art Africa here in Parkview.

The best place to sit and just watch the world go by?
There’s such a sidewalk culture here [in Parkview], which you don’t get in all the districts. Bolton Road Collection right on Ian Smuts, across the road from Goodman Gallery, is a really nice spot to sit at on an afternoon.

How would spend 24 hours in Johannesburg?
On a Saturday, I’d wake up and go to a Pilates class, and then I normally have a ring workshop here in the studio from 10am to 1pm. I’d have lunch with friends in Parkhurst or in Linden which is a great new area which has revived itself. Then I’d go to galleries in the afternoon. My favourite would be Circa, they always have great artists there – younger artists that you don’t normally know of. And they’ve got this amazing view of Johannesburg at the top. In the evening, I’d go to this new speakeasy in Rosebank called Sin & Taxes.

Where would you take out-of-town friends for a drink?
Brian Lara’s
, it’s a Caribbean restaurant and bar in Linden.

We often overlook what’s on our doorstep, is there anything Johannesburg that you still need to do or see?
There’s a small town called Springs, an hour or so outside of Johannesburg, which has amazing art deco architecture. I saw photos and I thought they were taken in Miami.

Safari or city break?
Safari – I’m a city girl, but when you get time to head out into the bush it is amazing – the fresh air, the game drives, the G&Ts…

Three words to describe Johannesburg?
Vibrant, energetic, home.


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