A MUM and passionate jewellery maker, whose beautiful designs have been worn by the Princess of Wales, has opened her very first shop.

Catherine Blackwell hosted a day time launch party to officially open her first Catherine Zoraida store in Elkstone Studios near Birdlip on Thursday, September 28.

She studied jewellery and silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art and went onto worked in London designing collections for an array of top-end brands including Vivienne Westwood, Matthew Williamson and Theo Fennell.

Her time working in London inspired her to create her own brand, Catherine Zoraida, which offers beautifully made jewellery but at a more affordable price. 

The collections have only been available online for the last few years but she decided now was the right time to set up a shop.

A big career highlight for Catherine was when the Princess of Wales was photographed wearing her brand's double leaf earrings and spread your wings bracelet while having dinner with the King of Malaysia during a royal tour of South East Asia.

The Zoraida name attains a personal meaning as it was the name given to her by doctors before she was adopted from Colombia by her Scottish parents.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Fern hoop earrings, mini hammered hoop and pearl earrings and hibiscus stud earringsFern hoop earrings, mini hammered hoop and pearl earrings and hibiscus stud earrings (Image: Catherine Zoraida)

Nature plays a central role in a lot of her designs and she is a passionate advocate for conserving it to make a better world for future generations.

All the jewellery is made by using recycled silver, gold and Fairtrade gold and is all packaged using recycled paper and cotton.

Catherine said: "The natural world has always been key to my pieces.

"At the heart of Zoraida is a vision that together we can all make a difference, if we look after nature, nature will look after us.

"We make sure nothing goes to waste and any left over material is carefully collected and melted into new pieces meaning there is zero wastage when creating new collections.

"We are constantly analysing our processes to ensure we are making the best possible decisions to not only be sustainable but to also help with regeneration.

"I have been looking for the right place to set up a shop for the last couple of years and Elkstone offered everything we needed.

"It is a place to come if you are looking for something special as a gift, a treat for yourself or have an idea for a bespoke design that you would like to discuss."