Beachroad met up with Fleur Yennek-Butcher founder of Fleur’s Finds a platform for original, emerging and established fine jewellers from all around the world. Fleur’s Finds unearths contemporary fine jewellery, that challenges the traditional aesthetic of the industry, each piece as unique and special as the wearer.
NAME? // Fleur Yennek-Butcher.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // My first job ever was waitressing at a restaurant in the South of France. It was incredibly busy and challenging. I have a lot of respect for people who work in hospitality.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Jeweller. I am a trained goldsmith and gemologist.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN DUBAI? // It’s been 3 years now. The first year went by slowly while I was building my nest here, but the last two years have flown by!
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON DUBAI AS A CITY AND ITS CONSTANT EVOLUTION? // Dubai is a wonderful melting pot of different cultures and people from various walks of life. There is a dynamic and entrepreneurial spirit here that pushes the city forward at quite a rapid rate. It’s exciting to witness its evolution.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE JEWELRY INDUSTRY IN DUBAI AND WHICH ARTISTS EXCITE YOU? // Dubai is a trading point now for diamonds and gold which means you can have pieces made at a relatively good price. It’s a perfect destination for jewellery lovers! I think the most exciting local jewellery designer is Nadine Kanso, her designs are fresh, personal and wearable.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START FLEURS FINDS? // I have loved gemstones and jewels from a very young age and always knew that I would eventually work in the jewellery industry. I think said industry in Dubai is a wonderful one, however quite repetitive and characterised by traditional aesthetics. I found it hard to find original and contemporary designs, which used interesting and included natural gemstones. Many people would ask me where the jewellery I wore was from, or ask for jewellery and gemstone advice. I take such pleasure in finding honest designers and discovering and sharing their works of art. From this was born “Fleur’s Finds” and I’m so proud and honoured to work with the artisans on my platform.
WHICH OF YOUR DISCOVERIES HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE? // I couldn’t possibly say, there have been so many! Recently I exhibited at Dubai Design Week and had jewels made in green gold by Judi Powers and was shocked that not a single person knew green gold existed! I loved showing them something they had never seen before.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THE WORLD OF JEWELRY AND GEMS WAS FOR YOU? // For as long as I can remember I knew that world was for me. When I was very little I used to rewind and play back scenes in movies where characters wore or handled treasures. I also used to enjoy beading necklaces and being taken to the Natural History Museum to stare at all the stones there. I still have my favourite Agate drusy my parents brought back decades ago as a souvenir from a particular trip!
WHERE DID YOU STUDY ? // I went to Manchester University to study Business Management & French, and then a little later trained to be a goldsmith at Holts in Hatton Garden (London’s Diamond District) while working, and finally became a Graduate Gemologist at the IGI in Dubai. I would happily study more!
IF YOU WERE NOT A GEMOLOGIST WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // That’s really hard to imagine. If I wasn’t a Jeweller, I think I would like to take care of animals.
WHAT JEWELRY DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? // I love so many different styles of jewellery, but I personally tend to be drawn to jewels that have an organic, rough edge to them.
WHAT PIECE OF WORK HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? // Getting the courage to follow my vision and set up “Fleur’s Finds”.
ANY PIECE YOU HAVE BEEN RELUCTANT TO SELL? // Funny you should ask, I have an appointment with a lovely client next week to show her a rare antique watch fob, made of 18k gold with rose cut diamonds set as a flower on either side of it. It is such a special and unique piece, if she goes for something else instead I will happily hold onto it!
JEWELRY ASIDE, WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Acts of kindness in the world, art, music, and all the little things in life that make me happy.
WHERE IS YOUR DREAM STUDIO / STORE LOCATION? // I would love to have a shop/workshop in vibrant D3, or cool Alserkal.
IF YOU COULD OWN ANY PIECE OF JEWELRY WHAT WOULD IT BE? // Actually, my dream would be to have my very own serious collection of gemstones and minerals from all over the world.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY JEWELER ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // One particular jeweller that comes to mind is the late Barbara Christie. She was a remarkable designer and goldsmith and would have interesting stones cut especially for her, to be set in dramatic pieces. I see her work as pure art and incredible craftsmanship and worthy of being exhibited in a museum. Also, she was an influential, highly knowledgeable and respected teacher and mentor to so many people.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO EAT, SHOP AND SOCIALISE IN DUBAI? // There are so many great places it’s hard to know where to begin! My local is Toko which I love for a chilled evening with the girls, Weslodge for a laid back and fun night, recently I discovered Waka, it’s a great Peruvian restaurant, check it out! I don’t shop much, but if I fancy treating myself I buy from Deborah Henning and Bedouin Studios.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // Iris Apfel. What a legend.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // My family and friends.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Losing them.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // My earliest memory is sitting on a toy fire engine and my dad talking into its plastic phone at me.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My parents, they have shown boundless love, compassion and generosity in many different ways, to many different people and I hope to be as good a parent and human as they have proven to be.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BEACH IN DUBAI? // I would have to say Kite beach and Cove.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // My attention. Just joking, I think it was a signet ring.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // To be kind and treat others the way you would like to be treated.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I find it hard to let things go.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Rudeness and inconsideration.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Johnny Depp. I’d like to see him try.
FAVOURITE MUSIC // It depends on my mood, I love many types of music. In my top 5 would be Fat Freddy’s Drop and Little Dragon.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // “Yoga Anatomy”
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // I had a serious case of pneumonia as a toddler, my parents tell me it was touch and go.
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // So far it’s a tough choice, either Japan or Thailand.
LEAST FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Washington DC, USA.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // I regularly practice yoga, it brings me peace.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach, nothing beats the sound of the ocean.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban with rural retreats!
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs. Cats are psycopaths.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Tea. Everyday.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // My friends.
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Cruelty to any living being.
YOUR MESSAGE? // Be you and celebrate being different!