Arabel Lebrusan always knew that beautiful jewellery was her destiny. As a child, she returned countless times to her mother’s jewellery box, hungry for the pulling sensation she felt in her chest when she lifted out the familiar eagle pendant and held it to the light. Never did she tire of inspecting the feathers painstakingly hand-engraved into its unruffled gold body; sucked effortlessly into the deep midnight of the sapphire clasped in its claws every time. Hailing from a family of jewellery lovers - glistening gemstones and gleaming metals under her skin from the very beginning – it’s perhaps no surprise that Arabel Lebrusan’s name is now synonymous with an award-winning jewellery brand and the ground-breaking ethical jewellery movement pioneered by it. The decade that’s led to this point has been a journey of trials, triumphs, lessons and laughs – and Arabel wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Laid frazzled in a hospital bed on the 1st June 2012, depleted of minerals but brimming with a novel love for her new-born son Jojo on his very first day of life, Arabel heard the distant ding of a cash register. A notification on the screen of her iPhone: a new order for two wedding bands.
Then named Arabel Lebrusan Jewellery, Arabel’s eponymous ethical jewellery brand had arrived just a few months prior to Jojo, not from the beeping confines of a hospital room but from her kitchen table; the place where bottles of wine were shared with friends, toast crumbs swept hurriedly away in the morning, fables told, hearts emptied and plans hatched.
Arabel had not long since parted ways with Leblas, the ethical jewellery boutique that she had co-founded and directed for five years prior. A Master’s graduate from Central Saint Martin’s with colourful jewellery industry experience and a subsequent desire to start changing the world one gram of gold at a time, Arabel initiated Leblas in 2006 as a place to share her inspired one-off designs with the world, establishing new conversations about traceability and sustainability with each exciting creation. Her ornate filigree collections were physical champions of traditional Spanish artisanship and her commitment to 100% recycled metals was a fresh and environmentally-friendly approach to fine jewellery. Leblas was the first ever ethical jewellery boutique on London’s prestigious Sloane Street, and when it closed its doors in 2011, Arabel could not shake the feeling that she must continue what she’d started.
Fuelled by this deep-rooted need to continue changing the industry from the inside out, she set her sights on founding a new brand that would enable her to continue designing and campaigning simultaneously.
Before long, the entity we now know as Lebrusan Studio was born.
Becoming one of the world’s first ever Fairtrade Gold licensees in tandem with the launch of her new brand, Arabel’s earliest bridal collections under Lebrusan Studio were pioneers of artisanal and small-scale mined (ASM) gold. This achievement was the first of many seminal steps.
Next came Arabel’s TEDx Talk on ethical jewellery in 2014; then her success at the 2017 NAJ Awards when she was crowned Jewellery Designer of the Year before a swathe of other nominations and accolades followed over the ensuing years. Lebrusan Studio has featured in esteemed publications from Vogueto The Independent, landed a new headquarters at the world-famous London Diamond Bourse, voiced a number of pioneering think-pieces on the state of the jewellery industry, and developed a variety of successful charitable projects. Just this year, our brand raised £1,000 for the Global March Against Child Labour.
We’ve had the privilege of playing a role in myriad special stories; from the commitment rings designed to celebrate the arrival of a new family member to the carefully selected birthday gifts, the bespoke wedding bands inscribed with secret messages from lover to lover, and the sample engagement rings delivered in a hurry to romantics urgent to pop the question.
Originating as a one-woman show with a small but loyal clientele, the Lebrusan Studio that now exists a decade down the line is the employer of a small team of four and an established, evolved, progressive and principled brand that we are endlessly proud to call ours.
One aspect that hasn’t changed is the sense that Lebrusan Studio is where the heart is; albeit on a wider scale now than where it all began. Arabel has spent the past decade determined to mould her lifestyle business into a well-oiled machine so resilient it thrives on adventure. The result? A virtual office space that enables us to unite our clients with beautiful ethical jewellery whilst also free to enjoy what the world has to offer.
Whether working together from our little office in Brighton or on a train to Hatton Garden, creating content in Liverpool Central Library or chatting to a client from a beach in Colombia, we’re fuelled by our passion for what we do and enabled by an online bearing which now reaches audiences across the globe. This, along with the power of the internet, enables Arabel to contribute to a Fair Luxury Open House event from her home office or give a talk at the Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust Ethical Making Symposium from a mountain-side in the French Alps.
Lebrusan Studio began as a small clicks-only business operating from Bedford. Today, thanks to years of unfaltering vision and loyal custom from our beloved clients, it’s a name that people recognise from Britain to Brazil. It’s this presence that affords us the privilege to have our feet now rooted firmly in two iconic city locations – Brighton and the London Diamond Bourse - but also to pay heed to the important aspects of changing the world one gram of gold at a time; the learning, travelling, sharing and planning. It’s this liberation that has enabled Arabel to explore Fairmined Ecological Gold mines in Colombia, discover eco-friendly pearl farms in French Polynesia, and investigate the world of fair-trade sapphires in Sri Lanka, returning home to Lebrusan Studio armed with a wealth of knowledge and ideas. No longer bound to her kitchen table, Arabel’s role as Creative Director of Lebrusan Studio exists harmoniously alongside her roles as a leading visual artist, a socioeconomic campaigner, a friend, a partner, and, suddenly, a mother of a 10 year-old.
One things for certain, though. A decade on from that morning in the hospital room, and nothing instils Arabel with a surge of pride quite like the distant ding of a cash register.