12 Days of Christmas Interview with Aishleen Lester
With a background in fine art, Aishleen Lester is developing a reputation for her exquisite fine jewellery. She has been identified by the industry as an emerging designer to watch with her miniature explosions of colour and light, that can transition from delicate to bold in an instant.
Originally a sculptor with a Masters from The Royal Academy, Lester became well known for her large scale sculptural installations, stage set commissions and window displays for Selfridges. As a fine artist, Lester worked with the Riflemaker and Nyehaus galleries, exhibiting in both London and New York, and sought by private collectors.
Lester’s transformation into fine jeweller and businesswoman has been a natural evolution. Initially wanting to explore different materials for her large scale work, she quickly became interested in scaling down her designs to create miniature sculptures for the everyday.
Lester built up her jewellery industry credentials by training with Shaun Leane and Paul Ravn before launching her own fine jewellery brand Le Ster in 2017.
While Lester’s jewellery has evolved from the sculptures she was making, they are as covetable, described as “perfectly embodying the zeitgeist in contemporary jewellery” with precious, wearable jewels that can be scaled up or down.
Please introduce yourself.
Hello I am Aishleen, founder of Le Ster a fine jewellery fusing art with traditional craftsmanship, to create elegant, contemporary pieces that remind you to ‘Light the Grey.”
Tell us about when you first discovered that jewellery was a passion?
Originally I trained and worked as sculptor, making large scale sculptural installations and stage sets for galleries, theatres and commercial spaces. Over time, I decided I wanted to make work on a smaller scale, using different materials. I enrolled on an evening class, and slowly became hooked to the perfect miniature worlds within jewellery. I went on to intern for Shaun Leane and Paul Ravn who trained me in traditional goldsmithing techniques, whilst I worked for smaller independent designers.
Which piece of jewellery would you never be without during the holidays, and why?
It would be my Cherry Trailblazer ear jackets and Bang studs, handmade in 18 Carat gold, with sapphires and Tourmaline. Both stud and jacket can be worn together or separately perfect for the holiday season, you can go from subtle to statement in an instant.
Which piece of jewellery would you put under your tree… for yourself?
An antique ring with a beautiful, intensely coloured emerald. I suspect I would start making my own design for it. But that is the great thing about jewellery, it is easy to combine an old stone with a new design to create a jewel that feels very much of our time, giving forgotten stones a new lease of life.
If you could share one piece of your jewellery with anyone - what would you share and with who?
I am massively inspired by strong, powerful women that have a creative sensitivity. As an idol I would love to see one of my pieces to be worn by the writer Zadie Smith – she has an incredibly ability to speak and write with such fluidity, despite her claims that she has a chaotic mind. However, I would also absolutely love to pass a stranger, confidently walking down the street, laughing, wearing my “Zadie” ring.
And which piece from the Covett Vault is first on your list to welcome 2022 with, and why?
There are so many jewels in the Covett Vault that I would LOVE to wear. I am drawn to the bold colour statements of The Rock Hound, their Chromanteq Golden Heliodor pendant is definitely up my street but I also love the playfulness in Tessa Packard’s Chinatown earrings.
I have to admit that my list would also include my gold Thunderflash earjackets and studs, it is an edgy design with an element of surprise, for me they change a simple dress into a statement.