Olive Green Cat
Words by Genevieve Putter
What started as a collaboration on an innovative sculptural jewellery range more than 15 years ago, has become one of Cape Town’s most sought after jewellery collabs, Olive Green Cat. Founders Ida Elsje (Olivier) and Philippa Green have both established themselves as respected jewellers and accessory designers from their Church Street workshop and showroom. They also bring unique sets of skills to their collaborative brand, Nunc, making innovative and eye-catching resin, diamond, gold and silver jewellery, seen on the appendages of some of the city’s best dressed. Here they tell us more.
1) How did the concept Olive Green Cat come about and how does it work?
Philippa: It was the surnames, slightly tweaked, of the original partners of Situ diamond jewellery, now called NUNC. We needed a name for our shop so this is what we came up with.
2) How long have you been at the location and what’s the best part about being based there?
Ida: We’ve been in the beautiful Holland House in Church Street for 5 years, but we’ve been in the inner city for the past 15 years. We love how it has evolved into a creative hub with some of the best eateries in the country all within walking distance.
3) You’ve collaborated on the Nunc brand, can you explain the concept?
P: We set diamonds inside coloured resin so the diamond looks magically suspended inside the piece. One can see the diamond from all angles, it’s not covered by claws or a setting…. we wanted to make people realise they can have a diamond ring and it doesn’t have to be a occassion ring, like an engagement piece, but rather something they can wear as part of their fashion statement.
4) How would you describe your respective styles?
P: I make bold bespoke rings and cuffs. Most of my pieces are one of a kind as I’m always changing and developing on what I do, to keep it interesting and innovative!
I: My speciality is in custom made engagement rings and other precious jewellery. My style is eclectic and I enjoy mixing vintage and modern aesthetics. Philippa’s work is edgy with her use of Perspex and our Nunc diamond collection is a perfect balance of our styles and expertise in very different materials.
5) What are you busy with at the moment?
P: I’ve just launched my Conservation Cuffs with Rhinosaverz, which are cuffs with animals engraved or sewn on that we are going to sell to raise money for different animal charities.
I: We’re about to launch NUNC diamond jewellery’s new collection of African inspired bangles and rings where the big five animals in gold are suspended inside the resin with 5 diamonds. This collection has been on our drawing boards for a long time and we are very excited about launching it for Spring 2017.
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