Anke Linden Jewellery – a rising star on the East Coast

Anke van der Linden article

A recent graduate (cum laude) from Durban University of Technology, CPM client Anke van der Linden found her passion for jewellery design during a gap year stint at a retail store. It frustrated her that the pieces she was tasked with selling lacked meaning and artfulness and all looked the same. She felt a desire to create her own range that would be unique and personally expressive – the antithesis of those run-of-the-mill commercial items. Inspired mostly by the forms and textures of nature, she enrolled to study jewellery design and set about crafting metal into wearable works of art. Her first major achievement came shortly thereafter, when she won the student category of PlatAfrica in 2017. She launched her company, Anke Linden Jewellery, that December.

Sterling Silver is her preferred medium as its affordability allows her to access a larger market, and its user-friendliness does not hinder her creativity. Some of her items feature Rose Gold plating, which pairs beautifully with the femininity and playfulness of her body of work. The delicate and natural lines of her pieces have found favour with women who buy her jewellery either for themselves or as gifts for friends and family.

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Anke clearly has an eye and an affinity for design, yet her success must surely be attributed to hours of hard work (she did after all achieve straight-As for her Bachelor’s Degree in Jewellery Design and Manufacture), and to her commitment to seizing opportunity. Actively pursuing any avenue to promote her work and receive valuable professional critique, she’s entered many competitions and used them all as growth experiences.

Apart from the 2017 PlatAfrica win, she placed third in the 2019 awards of the same competition, and was runner up in two of the Thuthuka Jewellery Competitions. She also entered the 2016 Shining Lights and 2018 PlatAfrica competitions, but did not place in those, however each one presented a chance for the acceleration of her learning curve. All contests of this kind require a high level of skill and workmanship, and a creative yet accurate and wearable interpretation of the theme, which mimics the task of working with a client to fulfil their brief. The PlatAfrica competitions gave her the chance to create pieces in platinum, to understand its properties and to experience what the metal is like to work with. As a winner, she gained valuable exposure through Anglo American Platinum’s far-reaching media channels, was featured on the TV show Morning Live, and had the opportunity to travel to India to learn from a workshop held in association with Platinum Guild International (PGI) India and drink in that country’s jewellery culture.

Anke’s PlatAfrica 2017 winning ring (left) and her 3rd placed 2019 brooch (right)
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It’s difficult to say if Anke’s previous accolades influenced her selection for Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives in February this year, but what undoubtedly secured her spot is her go-getter attitude. She matter-of-factly states that “I was chosen to go to Cape Town to exhibit simply because I entered. I met the criteria of being an emerging creative and I was chosen along with 50 other young designers.” She describes the all-expenses-paid trip as “a fabulous marketing opportunity” where she handed out possibly hundreds of business cards and met many potential clients. Her bio will also remain up on their website alongside the other Emerging Creatives, adding further legitimacy to her brand.

She advocates for a light-hearted approach to competition entries, and indeed her winning 2017 ring design – “Undulation” – was born from playing with a piece of scrap metal and observing its shapes (after doing her research first of course!). Anke encourages all designers to pursue the prospects for exposure and skills development that these platforms provide, and to have fun doing it. She notes that entering a competition “allows you to express yourself creatively, since many jewellers are stuck making items which are not necessarily what they enjoy making”.

As she says, “If you do not enter, you definitely won’t win”.

Anke can be contacted on:
084 054 6666
lindenjewellery@gmail.com
Or find her on Facebook at Anke Linden Jewellery
Or Instagram @anke_linden_jewellery

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