Having travelled extensively with her parents while growing up, Japanese-born 
Yumé Martin moved to Devon to follow her passion for jewellery design. WORDS Susie Moss

Yumé makes beautiful jewellery from her base in the South Devon town of Ashburton near Torquay; a small yet exquisite shop and studio. Each piece is handmade and unique, with a simple grace and charm. ‘It’s quite wabi-sabi,’ she says – seeing beauty in imperfection, purposefully leaving marks from the makers' hands and not polishing to a high finish.

‘I grew up in Japan where both 
my parents were potters, and I was surrounded by craft and art,’ Yumé explains. ‘Japan is a place where craft is really celebrated, and nature is a big part of the culture.’
Yumé moved to England when she was 12 years old, attended a Steiner school, and left at the age of 16. She travelled extensively with her parents – her love of shells began with childhood collecting on the beaches of Thailand and her Lakshmi range is inspired by times with her family in India.

When she was 18 years old Yumé went to Taxco, a famous silver mining town in Mexico, to train as a jeweller. This was her initial grounding, and she has developed further through other courses and self-practise. What began as a hobby in her bedroom moved to her mum’s shed in the garden, then onto a tiny studio, and now flourishes in Yumé Jewellery – she has just celebrated her 10th year in business.
Her work shows a ‘Japanese sensibility’, as well as the strong influence of natural shapes and forms from nature. Her Neptune’s Treasures range is both cast and hand-formed. ‘Shells are like jewels of the sea,’ she says. ‘They have had an important place in many cultures – used as currency, as décor, or as sacred items.’

The Crab Claw is an exquisite detailed fragment of life, an object from a rock pool preserved by making a silicone mould and from that casting silver or gold. The Octopus and the Seahorse develop from creating stylised images of these creatures of the sea.
In all her work Yumé is careful to choose only ethically sourced metals – using recycled silver and gold (refined in the UK) and Fairtrade gems (used in the new parlour collection – a wedding planner's heaven). ‘I like to know that places are not getting exploited’, she says, ‘we take enough resources from our earth already.’

What's next for Yumé? ‘More time enjoying the Devon coast I think – we have an 11-month-old baby and a new truck, so we plan to spend plenty of time camping by the sea.’

• http://yumejewellery.com
• Instagram: #yumejewellery