As Missoma launches a second collection with fashion blogger Lucy Williams, we sit down with the contemporary British jewellery designer to talk gemstones, memories and her Notting Hill neighbourhood
Marisa Hordern launched Missoma from her kitchen table in 2007, following a life-long passion for gemstones and jewellery. Her affordable, demi-fine collections of distinctive charms and sophisticated, semi-precious stones quickly grew popular with the Instagram IT-set and a collaboration with fellow Notting Hill resident Lucy Williams followed in 2015, after the pair hit it off over coffee. The duo's second collaborative collection launched this month, rife with Roman influences from coin medallions to crescent earrings and aztec cuffs.
Symbols and lucky motifs play a prominent role in Hordern's designs, inspired by ancient talismans, architecture and tribal patterns. Gemstones are sourced in Jaipar and fashioned in London with 18-carat gold. “Choosing the rough stones is my favourite part of the job,” she says, “and working on special shapes and unique cuts.”
Missoma is so-called in honour of Hordern's mother and sister and is an amalgamation of all of their names. Here, the acclaimed designer shares her memories of gemstones and favourite haunts in Notting Hill.
How did you learn about gemstones?
I started collecting gemstones when I was about five years old. I was in Portobello market one Saturday morning with my mother and I spotted this box of 12 eggs – made up of all different gemstones. I was fascinated by the different colours, patterns and names. A love affair with gemstones was born.
How did your collaboration with Lucy Williams come about?
We both live in Notting Hill and we were introduced through a mutual friend. We met up at the Electric for coffee one morning and just hit it off. She loves her jewellery and is quite the magpie and I was admiring her collection of pieces. Lucy said she would love to design her own jewellery and the collaboration was born. I think the reason it has done so well is because people can see how authentic our collaboration is. It isn't some paid-for marketing exercise – it is two friends with a shared aesthetic.
How would you describe the new Roman Collection?
It throws together a story linking Lucy’s style, Missoma’s design and finish and leaves the wearer to interpret it in their own way.
Where do you currently live in London and what attracted you to the area?
I have lived in Notting Hill for the last eight years and absolutely love my little neighbourhood. I chose it because it’s always bustling and I love to be surrounded by the restaurants, cafes, delis, bars and shops. I’m in between Kensington Park Road and Portobello Road, which is a stone’s throw from the market, where I get my flowers, fruit and veg and everything in between. It’s got such great energy.
How has the area changed?
There are new cafes and butchers and shops opening up all the time; as well as little bars and restaurants along Portobello. I love supporting my neighbourhood and the independent butcher or cafes. The only thing that is a pity is that more and more of the old arcades on Portobello Road are closing to make way for chain stores. My local newsagent has become a Sainsbury’s local; whilst it is very convenient I miss the old place.
Where is your favourite place for brunch in Notting Hill?
I am obsessed by The Dayrooms Café on Kensington Park Road (just next to Essenza restaurant). The manager, Jazz, is divine and they make the best coconut cappuccino. It’s got a great vibe and fab interiors. The other great place which is kind of hidden is Peddlar’s – just off Portobello Road on the corner where Joe & the Juice is. They do a great latte and avocado mash and it’s a great hideaway from the mad frenzy on market days.
What hidden gems can you recommend on Portobello Road Market?
I love Admiral Vernon arcade for prints, paintings and eyekat cushions. Just opposite (outside Gail’s) is my favourite stall of all owned by the charming John Lloyd (the nicest gentleman you will ever meet). He has the most amazing array of fossils, dinosaur bones and gemstones from Madagascar. I am regularly to be found there on a Saturday morning looking at his new finds. Over the years I have bought the most beautiful amethyst slices from him, crystal clusters and labradorite boulders. They are dotted all over my flat; I particularly love the pale blue celestite I have by my bed (as it’s very calming and good for sleep). So many of the dealers buy from him and you’ll see them mark up the same pieces two to three times.
Favourite spot for homeware?
I am obsessed with Les Couilles du Chien on Golborne Road (right up at the top on the right hand side). It is such a treasure trove of vintage pieces from art deco mirrors and chandeliers to retro armchairs and coffee tables. They also have an amazing collecton of exotic butterflies and gemstones. I find it hard to go in without coming out with some crystal or pyrite in hand… Jerome the owner has an amazing eye and his prices are unbeatable. It’s a real find.
Favourite date night spot in the area?
I love Cepages – which is tucked away just round the corner from the Westbourne pub. It’s low key, very French, rustic and has a great selection of wine. I like to go there for some lovely red and a plate of mixed cheeses and charcuterie. I feel like it is a real local, well-kept secret.