Pippa Small grew up in a family of artists and travellers. Spending her childhood exploring the world with her mother and siblings she became inspired by the many fascinating cultures she encountered. Later she completed a Masters in Medical Anthropology, by then her interests in human rights among minorities, indigenous and tribal groups were already well cultivated which led her going on to work with grass roots local organisations in Borneo, Thailand and India, looking at ways of protecting indigenous lands, knowledge and biodiversity.
Pippa had been making jewellery since she was a child and was always finding pebbles, beads and shells to string on to her ever-growing collection of bracelets. By the time she was a teenager they had spread from her wrist to her elbow – gathering collecting and creating jewellery was like a tactile diary of her existence, the pieces came to represent memories, emotions and people.
Pippa soon gathered a following of admirers, which grew rapidly, this then led to shops eager to stock her jewellery. One of the first being the department store Barneys New York, which started to sell her jewellery about 20 years ago. Her wholesale and private commission work also grew and she started collaborating with Christina Kim from Dosa in 2000; Nicole Farhi in 2001; Tom Ford at Gucci 2002 and Chloe under Phoebe Philo. She then went on to work with Bamford, helping to bring an ethical jewellery collection to the company. Pippa opened her first shop in 2007 in Notting Hill in London and in 2008 she opened a shop in Brentwood, Los Angeles then in 2016 she opened a concession in New York at ABC Carpet and Home.
Pippa was made an ambassador of the human rights organisation Survival International in 2008 and awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2013 for ethical jewellery and charity work. She also won Ethical Jeweller of the Year and the prestigious Walpole Corporate Social Responsibility award in 2016. Pippa was also named winner of the Green Sustainability Award for Sustainability by Town and Country magazine. She has ventured further in exploring ways of making jewellery, reviving traditional skills and techniques in communities in Central and South America and Southern Africa. She has worked with the world’s first registered Fair trade gold mine in Bolivia and with the esteemed Fair trade company MADE based in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi. Pippa also works with the prestigious charity Turquoise Mountain in Afghanistan where they are approaching their tenth year of collaboration and now in Burma, helping train and employ artisans to promote traditional skills, and is hoping this year to launch a project with Turquoise Mountain working with Syrian refugees.
See a video below of Pippa’s recent work in India.
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