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Lezanne’s jewellery shine

Lezanne’s jewellery shine

To design and make two spectacular wedding rings in as many days, is not something that your average jeweller is able to pull off easily. Lezanne van der Merwe, talented manufacturing jeweller from De Wildt, was recently featured on Kom ons trou nou, a reality television programme on the Via-channel on DSTV. In this program brides-to-be plan a surprise wedding for their unsuspecting significant others. “It was such an experience to design and manufacture wedding rings for the programme. So much pressure, but so much fun.” She says that given the chance she would definitely participate in something like this again. “A program like this exposes you to a whole new customer base and it forces you out of your comfort zone.” Vintage Mila, situated in Lynwood, Pretoria, focuses on handmade, one-of-a-kind jewellery. “I used to run my business from home but after a burglary where most of my stock was stolen, I decided that it would be safer to relocate the business.”  She shares the space in Lynwood House with two fellow jewellers, Johnny and Gillian, who are not only wonderful teachers but also dear friends. This gives me the freedom and time I need to be there for my children.”  The family still resides in De Wild and Lezanne travels to Pretoria to run her business. “I will never be able to stay in a city, I love having space and tranquillity around me. “ She always knew that she wanted to design and manufacture unique jewellery. “I started playing around with clay in high school, designing and making jewellery.” After matric she completed a four year course in jewellery design and manufacturing and did her apprentice- ship at a well known  jewellery wholesaler, mass manufacturing pieces for retail. “I sold my own creations at markets, saving up enough money to buy tools.” For her 21st birthday, her father bought her first workbench for her, which she still works on today. “My dad has always encouraged me, I definitely inherited my arty side from him.” Lezanne believes that her personal touch and service set her apart from other jewellers. “I like to work oneon-one with my customers, getting to know them and bringing their vision to life. Whenever I work on a piece I feel proud, also a bit nervous because I want the client to get exactly what they envisioned. My business grows through word of mouth so my end product is extremely important. I want the customers to love and treasure their pieces. I have had customers from as far as Seychelles and Dubai.” The strangest piece she has ever had to manufacture was for an old lady who wanted all her grandchildren’s baby teeth set in a pendant, so that she could always have them close to her heart. I set the teeth in a gold and silver pendant. She was extremely happy with her piece.” Her favourite piece that she created? “Definitely my first wedding ring. I have had about six wedding rings and I regularly melt them down to create something else, but this ring is still in its original form and still my favourite.” Even though some people would say that the market for jewellery is quiet because of the economy, Lezanne believes that you just have to be clever about how you do business. “My jewellery is affordable. I like to work with silver, because it is durable and not that expensive. I can also keep my costs down, because I do not have high overheads.” In her free time, she loves to play drums and dance and play with her three children, two boys and a girl. “With family like mine who support me like they do and God’s everpresent love, anything is possible. I am extremely blessed to get to live this life every day! So many people are stuck in jobs they do not enjoy, so if you get the chance to do what you love, take it. Go for what you want. The right doors will open at the right time.” For Lezanne’s unique jewellery pieces, you can follow her facebook page @Vintage mila and contact her on 071 889 8580

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