Meet Juliette, founder of JmB Silver, who handcrafts jewellery by the sea from ethically sourced materials.
From the time she was a child, Juliette loved taking care of others. So it was no surprise that she found her first job, at 15, as a carer at a local nursing home. She enjoyed spending quality time with the residents and being able to help them in their times of need. She knew she had found her calling: she would become a nurse.
After nurse training at UCLH, Juliette began nursing in Intensive Care where she nursed people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. For years, it was everything she hoped for: She drew meaning from helping people get better and helping comfort others during their last moments. But more than 20 years later, the stress of working in the NHS and juggling life in general had taken an emotional toll.
In 2016, after a lot of soul-searching, she made the difficult decision to leave her profession. Nursing had been part of her identity for so long that she found herself at a loss about what to do next. During this period of reflection, she was introduced to jewellery making by her friend Polly who is a qualified jeweller and was looking for a guinea pig to help launch a series of workshops. That was it, after one day of training Juliette was so hooked she signed up for a course in Hatton Garden and many months later – started her own business, JmB Silver.
Then, last year, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Four years after she’d left nursing, Juliette found herself profoundly moved by the devastating impacts of the virus on patients and healthcare professionals. She wasn’t willing to be a bystander. She found herself, once again, called to help.
Juliette returned to the frontline, accepting a job in Intensive Care at her local hospital in Margate to help patients battling serious illness. The stress is still there, and all of the difficulties have – if anything – intensified. But she has found some solace in the dedication of her fellow healthcare workers and the camaraderie of fighting such a challenging virus together. “I feel inspired by them every day,” she says.
Jewellery making has also helped her find balance. Being able to design and create new things with her hands helps to reduce the stress, she says, so she has kept JmB Silver open on her days off.
If you're as inspired by Juliette's selflessness as we are, please consider supporting her and other essential workers by making a donation to NHS Charities Together – or take a look at her beautiful collection here