London Life Places

Zingi Zongi – Playful and Recycled Handmade Jewellery

May 26, 2014

Happy Monday. Happy new week and a very happy Bank Holiday to everyone in the UK. While in Camden Town I popped into the C/159, a new creative retail space for Camden and part of the Camden Collective. Upon entering I stumbled across the handmade jewellery of Zingi Zongi and stopped right there.

I was curious and wanted to know more about who’s behind the jewellery.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

Meet Nikoletta.

Nikoletta | zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

How did you get into making jewellery? I’m from Athens in Greece, and about 4 years ago I decided to make a piece of jewellery for myself. It was just an experiment as I’ve always loved doing things with my hands. Once I made it, I carried on and made 50 pieces.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

What happened next? I simply told my mum I would go and sell my jewellery on the street. My mum just laughed and didn’t believe me. You see, in Greece you need a special licence to sell anything on the street but there was one particular street where no licence was needed. So I headed over there and was immediately intimidated by seeing everyone had big stalls. All I had was my small bedside table and a wooden stand to display my earrings.

How did it go for you? Well, I made €30 on my first day and sometimes I even earned €200. The only problem was that my friends came to hang out with me and we ended up spending all the money on food and drinks. Oh well, it was fun!

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Some selection of Nikoletta’s jewellery.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
These rings are £5 each. I actually liked putting 2 or 3 together on a finger.

So now you were officially a business woman? Haha. Not really. I sold on the street of Athens for 6 weeks. Then I met a woman who had a shop in Athens selling small furnishings and accessories. She liked my jewellery and offered me to take part in her 1-day bazaar over the Christmas period. It was buzzing and I made between €300-€400 that day. I had the opportunity to repeat this in her summer bazaar, which equally went well for me.

You were studying while making your first attempts at Entrepreneurship! Yes, I was studying in Athens and in September 2012 I enrolled in a Masters Degree in digital marketing in Southampton, UK. Then a year later I moved to London to find a job in marketing and luckily after only one month I found a job.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Brooch.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Necklace.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Choker.

With a full-time job in marketing, now what? I was living in Kentish Town and came across Camden Market. I applied for a stall and got my mum to send over my jewellery stuff. It actually weighed nearly 20kg. I did Camden for 1 Saturday only. It was outside, cold and wet. This put me off till the summer when I tried my luck again and decided to do the weekends. The company I worked for closed down. I had already spotted C/159 collective from the bus on my way home. I googled them, applied and got an appointment for them to see my jewellery. I first got a trial, from Friday to Sunday. That went well. They then offered for me to stay for 2 weeks. After that, I got the maximum offer of staying for 6 months until October this year!

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Necklace.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Lego earrings

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Necklace with stones, all found in Greece.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Earrings

Tell us about your jewellery. I’ve collected stuff forever and my mum threatened to get rid of most of it because we were running out of room. I have a particular passion for collecting toys, cords, beads and I’ve always liked the idea of recycling. I have a lot of things like crochet bits  and vintage jewellery from my grandmother and so I incorporate it all into my jewellery. I started being really fascinated by liquid glass techniques and enjoy treating found images.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Necklace.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Barbie bracelet

Are a lot of your pieces one-off’s? The majority of the pieces are unique and I cannot make an exact copy as many of them have some beads, chains or vintage things that cannot been found again. I had many of the plastic animal toys and made a lot of rings with them. They’ve all gone. In a way that keeps me creative and always striving for more ways of making interesting handmade jewellery. If people are interested in a particular jewellery piece that is out of stock or they wish to customise, I’m always happy for them to email me.

This brings me nicely to my own customised pieces. Nikoletta is in the process of making me a long necklace with a plastic giraffe and some of my own feathers and jewellery bits.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Black Queen

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

I’m also going to be the proud owner of the ‘Save the Polar Bear’ necklace here below. I’ve requested a longer, silver chain with a different bead as hat!

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Save the Polar Bear

Look at the gorgeous treatment of his paws….. that’s why I love Nikoletta’s jewellery. Beautiful, fun, playful, recycled and very affordable! I have a lot of old jewellery I no longer wear or use. I look forward to Nikoletta up-cycling some of it to give it a new lease of life!

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

Now, this beautiful camel brooch was one of my favourite items. Nikoletta has kindly agreed to donate it to my giveaway here.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Camel King brooch

The giveaway is open worldwide and will end at 6pm GMT on Monday 2nd June 2014 where one winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck everyone!

Thank you Nikoletta. I hope that the idea of getting a job in marketing is becoming less and less appealing! This post will stay live until Monday 2nd June. Happy week everyone x

We have a winner. Congratulations to Alison Sye. The Camel brooch will be sent to you.

You can find Zingi Zongi at:
C/159
159, Camden High Street
NW1 7JY

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16 Comments

  • Reply Catherine@farmhousehome May 27, 2014 at 6:49 am

    I know how much work it takes to make beautiful jewellery like this so wish Nikoletta every success. The black necklace with the brooch in the middle would look stunning with a black dress for evening. Love the treatment of the polar bear’s feet also, what a beautiful touch.

  • Reply Karin Shaim May 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    I love handmade jewelries, each of them is unique and had been made with love!
    The polar bear necklace is gorgeous and detailed, love it!

  • Reply alisonsye May 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Absolutely beautiful. I especially like the animal work, and the brooch with the couple.

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey May 28, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Quirky & unconventional comes to mind… in a good way. Always great to standout. Very Camden. Good on Nikoletta!

    Don’t think the camel brooch would suit me 😉 so it would be unfair to enter, but good luck to all that do.

    Gxx

  • Reply Holly June 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Please excuse me for skipping ahead in my reading of your posts but I notice your giveaway ends tomorrow and this camel king brooch is the BEST!

    Nikoletta’s jewellery is really fun. Nice that you got to meet her.

    Also, have to mention, that whenever you post an interview and show a picture of the person, it’s always such a great pic. You’re so good at capturing “the person”. I really like your people images and I don’t think I’ve ever told you that before, but I’ve thought it many times.

    Good luck to all!

    Xx.

  • Reply Nikoletta June 2, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Dear all,

    I would like to thank you for your nice comments and wish you good luck! This little camel king is full of love and positive mood. I’ve been known him for more than 20 years, so I know 🙂

    Tina, thank you for this beautiful post that you’ve written for me and my jewellery, your polar bear and giraffe are really looking forward to seeing you 😉

    xxx

  • Reply alisonsye June 3, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I am thrilled to have won the lovely camel, I can’t wait for him to arrive and bring some sunshine into my home.
    Thank you so much Tina and Nikoletta.
    Nikoletta, I just posted on my facebook page but I’m sorry to say I made a mistake in the spelling of your name, I put it right straight away, sorry. Also, are you on twitter etc.. so that I can link to you when I post a picture of my lovely prize? I looked at your website, which is fantastic, but I can’t find any links to social media.
    Thanks again,
    Alisonxx

    • Reply Nikoletta June 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Congratulations Alison!!! That’s great! Take care of him and I’m sure hi’s gonna take care of you as well 😉 Thank you for your post! Yes, I know.. I need to sort out zingi zongi social media regarding the appearance of them on my website!Apparently, I just created an account on twitter, it’s @zingizongi ( https://twitter.com/zingizongi ) I can’t wait to host your tweet on my page (and I guess it’s gonna be the very first one 🙂 )
      Thaaaaank you,
      Nikoletta
      xx

      • Reply alisonsye July 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

        Thanks Nikoletta,
        your wonderful brooch arrived a couple of days ago, I love him and promise he will be well looked after here.
        I am going to attempt to take a half-decent photo and then post on twitter and facebook. I will link to your website and go and look for you on twitter now
        A x

  • Reply tina June 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    You are very welcome Alison. I’m sure he’ll be well looked after x

  • Reply Agnes June 4, 2014 at 9:47 am

    LEGO jewelry looks great! 🙂

    • Reply tina June 17, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Thank you for your comment Agnes.

  • Reply Doris June 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I always love reading about peoples backgrounds and stories of how they got to the present. I loved Nikoletta’s story! Her designs are so wonderful and very original. I can definately see you wearing her designs Tina! xD

    • Reply tina June 17, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Thank you Doris. Yes, me too. It’s so inspiring to hear people’s stories.

      Glad you like Nikoletta’s work:-)
      Look forward to my pieces xx

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