With its long stretch of coast that’s lapped by the Indian Ocean, Durban is a destination you’ll want to remember vividly. Of course, a souvenir is a great reminder of any journey, and all the better if it’s a true reflection of that place. Vernon White Designer Jewellers combine local design with keepsakes that can be worn, making his jewellery the ideal souvenir from a stay at The Oyster Box. We spoke to the designer about the history and inspiration behind this thriving South African brand.
Having been in the jewellery industry for 19 years, Vernon White has built up an exemplary reputation, taking great pride in the quality of workmanship in his gold, white gold and platinum designs. From pendants and bracelets to diamond engagement rings, the designer creates both classic and contemporary collections. Testament to his success, he has garnered a number of accolades, including one of South Africa’s prestigious PlatAfrica awards.
Hailing from Durban, Vernon grew up surfing in the Indian Ocean, so when he left school, he joined the European Surfing Tour as a professional surfer. While he was on tour, he met a woman who introduced him to jewellery manufacturing. “I really enjoyed making jewellery,” he explains, “so, at the age of 20, I came home and decided to start an apprenticeship. A few years later, I started making items for other jewellery stores, and then eventually I opened my own store due to growing requests from my private clients.”
“I enjoy making bold, fun and interesting pieces,” Vernon tells us. “Our jewellery is made with precious gems from all over the world, and I take a lot of inspiration for the designs from the music, nature, buildings, cars and fashion around me.”
Some of Vernon’s favourite designs include his Eternal pendant and a men’s ring that’s based on the appearance of an F1 tyre. “The Eternal Pendant can also be worn as a ring,” Vernon says, “and the gent’s ring I designed based on an F1 tyre is extremely popular; generally, there is not enough exciting jewellery available for men.”
“Another of my designs is the Time Zone ring,” he continues, “which is really clever in the way it works, allowing the wearer to tell the time in different parts of the world with a special clicking mechanism, like the bezel on a watch. The ring comes in a number of different styles, and in combinations of gold, steel and platinum.”
The designs that most openly reflect Vernon’s South African surroundings are perhaps his range of cocktail rings and pendants, in which designs are inspired by Durban’s flora, such as his striking frangipani ring. Of course, new designs are always on the horizon. “Being passionate about jewellery, I am constantly striving to design exciting new pieces,” Vernon enthuses, “This keeps my passion alive.”
Discover the exquisite items of Vernon White Designer Jewellers, during a stay at The Oyster Box in Durban.
Skull Ring © Vernon White. Time Zone © Vernon White. Signature Frangipani Ring © Vernon White.