Kirsten Goss has street cred that goes beyond borders. She works what she’s seen in her travels from Ghana to Hong Kong into timeless masterpieces. Her necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings adorn fashionistas, global celebrities and stylish professionals who frequent her flagship store in London and three local outlets in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Born of South African parents, with a mother of Scandinavian descent, Goss’s fusion of diverse background cultures is reflected in her designs. “I grew up with a very sophisticated level of Scandinavian design around me and from an early age, I developed a subconscious thirst and appreciation for the whole aesthetic. Juxtapose that with a distinctly African childhood – and all the very visceral experiences of life without shoes on the beach in the Transkei, gallivanting around the continent – and you can imagine the cataclysmic outcome: vibrant, rambunctious colours and bold, minimalist forms. Delicious!” she says.
Her business was born of sheer creativity rather than an entrepreneurial bug. She made her first piece of jewellery (albeit a painted macaroni necklace) when she was about five. Later she studied jewellery design at Stellenbosch University. “That appealed to me enormously, as my slightly geeky academic side loved the idea of mixing my innate creativity with science. Metallurgy, gemmology and rather luxurious academic design was the ultimate combo,” she says.
She’s come a long way since that macaroni necklace – her Fine Collection hit stores in November 2015. “There’s a stereotypical view that diamonds are formal, reserved for specific occasions and fairly classic, but we’re turning them on their heads and making them playful, irreverent and for everyone of any age with an open mind and a predilection for ‘pretty’.”
Where and when was your first international trip? I travelled to Zimbabwe and Botswana at the age of 10. My first long-haul flight was to London, when I was 15.
What’s your most treasured travel souvenir? My Japanese minimalist glass milk jug, which has no handle.
Which destination has inspired you most? New York.
This blog is an edited version of an article that appeared in the November 2015 issue of Sawubona magazine. Download here (free of charge).