Alice van Cal
Partner Content
Alice van Cal
This content was paid for and produced by Alice van Cal
Alice van Cal: “Colours help you reconnect with your emotions”

Founder of Fine Jewellery brand Alice van Cal, Alice Millner, takes us through her journey of starting her own company and how jewellery can be a powerful tool for self-growth.

How did you start Jewellery design?

I grew up in Belgium and I’ve been drawing jewellery for as long as I can remember, but it’s the time that I spent at the Cartier workshop in London which ignited my passion and understanding of jewellery design. The head of the workshop at the time took me under his wing and taught me the foundations of jewellery making. He helped me materialise an idea that had been in my sketchbooks for years which is of an earring attachment that slides onto any stud and compliments it - adding a colour accent or a playful shape - the Halo earring jacket was born.

What made you want to launch your own brand and business?

I first started with designing bespoke orders for 8 years and developing my hero piece, The Alice, a clip pendant that is transformable into a necklace, a bracelet, an earring drop and a hand jewel. It took us 4 years and over 100 prototypes to get it right. We were looking for a jewel that would be beautiful from all angles, delicate but also strong at the same time. It was 6 years later, when I was expecting my first born son that I finally found the courage and confidence to launch my brand, with the help and support from my husband. It has been an incredible journey so far, full of wonderful encounters and exciting projects, the latest being our launch at which is an important milestone for the brand.

What inspires you when you design jewellery?

I create jewellery to remind myself of a feeling or a special moment in time, in the same way that some people need to tattoo themselves when something special, happy or sad happens to them.

Jewellery is much more than a beautiful object to me, the significance of how we got it, what it means for us, the radiance from the gems and the simple fact that we wear it on our skin every day, all have an impact. I believe that jewellery has the power to not only provide natural energy from precious stones but also guide us to becoming the best version of ourselves. With each piece I design, I focus on a different need in our journey of self growth - of course it’s up to the wearer to embrace it or to give it their own meanings.

I create jewellery to remind myself of a feeling or a special moment in time, in the same way that some people need to tattoo themselves when something special, happy or sad happens to them.

For example our latest creation, the Anima necklace, maps out our soul’s evolution from its past (the left chain), its present (the central stone) and its desired future (the right chain), with a focus on what needs to be let go (the drop chain) in order to achieve our objective.

What would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since setting up your business?

To listen, follow and apply what my gut tells me. It’s when I stay true to myself that my creations feel the most unique.

One of our most iconic designs feature rainbows of gems, which when I started were quite rare in fine jewellery. I designed my first rainbow jewellery to express the whirlpool of emotions I was going through during my first pregnancy, and although rainbows were not deemed “acceptable” in the traditional fine jewellery world, I felt a strong need to capture my emotional ups and downs. In the Rainbow Union and Journey bracelet each stone is carefully selected to seamlessly merge into the next to obtain a perfect gradient rainbow of gems. Today Alice van Cal is recognized for its impeccable use of colours and people seek for coloured gems to reconnect with their emotions.

What is your life motto?

I have two:

  • There is good in everything, try to always find it and see the positive out of any situation.
  • See each challenge as an opportunity to become the best version of yourself.

Any tips on how to achieve that?

Practice gratitude every day. At the end of the day, think of 3 things you are thankful for. It is a very simple exercise but it really works. I have been practicing gratitude for almost 7 years now and I feel the benefits of it every day.

Back to top