Tropical elegance is the highlight of Dear Rae’s latest collection “Let’s Get Tropsi.” The pieces, inspired by tropical plants like bananas and pineapples, perfectly capture the spirit of summer. It’s hard not to picture sandy beaches and palm trees while viewing this collection; even in the coldest hemispheres you can feel the warmth of the tropical sun emanation from these jewels.

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Dear Rae jewellery is gaining worldwide recognition; lucky us, we got a chance to interview founder Karin Rae Matthee about their latest exotic collection “Let’s Get Tropsi.”

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Lola Who: Was there a certain location that inspired the “Let’s Get Tropsi” collection?

Karin Rae: Not really, I was inspired by the tropical plants that I started seeing in my everyday walkabouts. Various lush gardens like the company gardens, Kirstenbosch in Cape Town, and my parent’s beautiful garden.

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Lola Who: I see you use a lot of different gemstones, is there any special meaning to the types you use?

Karin Rae: I’m drawn to gemstones by their colour and cut. I usually research their origin and history once I decide to use them for a piece. I’m often amazed at big the variety of natural gemstones.

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Lola Who: Do you have any musical inspiration while designing?

Karin Rae: Yes, it all depends on the kind of range that I’m designing. I remember downloading tropical music for a laugh when I was manufacturing the new “Tropsi Range.” I usually listen to a mix of indie music.

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Lola Who: When you’re designing the pieces, do you have a certain person in mind, someone you could see wearing the pieces?

Karin Rae: I usually design things that I would like to wear; it feels natural and true to me.

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Lola Who: I read in Elle that you were planning a men’s collection. What kind of style would you be going for in that collection?
Karin Rae: I would call the new men’s range classy and simple, some of the rings are a bit more edgy. I think that men’s jewellery should be really minimalistic. I personally prefer it when men dress simply, so I wouldn’t want to over adorn them with jewellery.

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Lola Who: When you’re not designing and making jewellery, what are you doing with your spare time?

Karin Rae: Hanging out with friends and family, surfing and running. I love travelling whether it’s just getting out of the city for a long weekend or exploring another country.

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Lola Who: What does the future hold for you and Dear Rae?
Karin Rae: I’m not exactly sure, up until now it has grown quite organically. I hope to expand more of our luxury ranges and investigate exporting more of our jewellery internationally. I’m focussing on keeping the essence of our brand around simple, local handmade jewellery.

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Text by Hillary Loucks