A short introduction.
A craftswoman goldsmith in heart and soul, with a great passion for a beautiful trade. That’s me. My name is Sarah Kobak, and I have worked as an independent goldsmith since 2007. Once upon a time I began in a very tiny studio in Zaandam with just this one dream: to become a very good goldsmith.
Green as grass.
As a rookie, upon graduating from the Vocational School for Gold and Silversmiths in 2004, I immediately knew that I wanted to learn everything there was to know about the trade. And believe you me, that really is a lot. This was why I decided to go to the UK to start the BA Jewellery Design at UCA Rochester. Upon my return to The Netherlands, I first had to invest in materials and creating a collection. With this collection I would present myself to the world. When looking at pictures from those days now, I see that I am all over the place. From modern and smooth, to organic and much reticulation (melting metal). But I was very proud of what I was doing and had a clear goal in mind!
At the time, I think I must have sent all jewellery galleries in The Netherlands an email with my resume and pictures of my work. Fortunately, there were a number of positive reactions between the many rejections! For instance, I was invited by an artist in Zaltbommel to participate in the local art route. It was a great weekend. For I managed to sell most of the collection I had made during the Zaltbommel Art Route. And this actually was the stepping stone for further development and growth and being able to invest in new materials. Even now, I can still recall the special and above all proud feeling I had then.
In the meantime, I had begun to teach. I placed an ad on Marktplaats.nl and my first four students enlisted. In my tiny studio in Zaandam I had made a table and had just started. The students started out with a silver basic ring, and subsequently they could start work on a design of their own.
Granules and gemstones.
The actual start of the (now) recognisable trademark in my work, was set off by an exhibition about Greek gold. For during this exhibition, I was drawn to jewellery that had small globules on them: granules. A technique that is so refined, so meticulous and so beautiful. I immediately knew at that moment: this is going to be my trademark, I am going to learn how to do this… And after much practicing, more practicing, and then even more practicing, I got the hang of it, and today it is not possible to imagine my work without granules. I love granules. They just add an extra touch to each piece and have become the public face of the recognisable ‘Kobak’ style.
Besides granules I have another love: gemstones. But my love for gemstones does not apply to the well-known diamond, blue sapphire, red ruby and emerald. I love, or rather am crazy about, coloured and ‘fancy’ cut gemstones. Gemstones like tourmaline, spinel and corundum. The colours, the cuts, and the inclusions. There is so much to tell about gemstones. What I find most appealing is the way a gemstone is cut. The cut makes or breaks the look and vibe of a gemstone. I love working with round, trilliant (triangular), oval, and square cut gemstones. Moreover, I select all my gemstones myself, and also do the setting myself (unless this becomes really really complicated, and then I ask a colleague to do it). In the meantime, I have compiled a beautiful and special collection of gemstones. I do not only use these gemstones to create my own collection of jewellery, they are also at your disposal to find the perfect gemstone for your own personal piece of jewellery.
7 years in the Kreatief Pakhuis.
My company kept growing in this period, and in 2013 I moved from the tiny studio in Zaandam to a studio in the Kreatief Pakhuis in Zaandijk. There, I continued to expand my collection of jewellery, and began to teach increasingly more. Workshops, masterclasses and even my own 2.5-year training programme. They were busy but very rewarding and beautiful years. I saw students grow, and just loved it to transfer my knowledge to the students. In 2018 I received a very tempting offer: the shop at Lagedijk 146-C in Zaandijk became available and I was asked if I would be interested in renting it. On 1-1-2019 I was handed the key to this establishment. I refurbished the studio in the Kreatief Pakhuis and changed it into a 100% training location.
After a big renovation, the official opening of the studio at the Lagedijk was on 3-3-2019, and I started working in the shop. Being visible from the street was successful and the shop attracted many customers. The number of commissioned assignments grew, and so did the number of spontaneous sales. Besides my own jewellery, I would also sell the work created by fellow goldsmiths.
I completely rewrote the text on this page on 26-3-2020 and adjusted it to the current situation. Actually this was a rather difficult period, for The Netherlands was in lockdown due to the Corona virus. As for may entrepreneurs, COVID-19 and the lockdown has had serious consequences for me and my business.
The fact of the matter was… that in January 2020 I had decided to completely give up teaching. I had made this choice because I wanted to be able to focus for the full 100% on the shop and my own professional development after 14 years of combining jewellery making with teaching. Because of this decision I had already terminated the rent of my studio in the Kreatief Pakhuis and would leave as per 1-8-2020.
The government announcement of the lockdown, the insecurity of the situation and, to be honest: some serious self-reflection, I decided to also terminated the rent of the shop at the Lagedijk. Despite the fact that business was very good, I did not feel at home there. And as they say: sometimes you must try things out in order to find out whether or not they suit you.
I am a goldsmith in heart and soul. With a great love for making jewellery and a beautiful trade. The Corona lockdown period therefore provided an opportunity to seriously and honestly reflect on myself. I have concluded that these past few years have not only been fantastic, but also very busy, and perhaps even too busy. I love to be enterprising, to grow and to seize opportunities! However, an important aspect of being an entrepreneur also is to make honest decisions. And, adding everything up, I have decided to return to the basis, and only to work on the basis of assignments. By doing this, I create room, a sense of rest, and time. Bus most of all, a better focus to work om my own technical skills and the new collection.
A new beginning.
In the meantime I have found a beautiful studio in Magazijn 14 at the Hembrug site in Zaandam in Zaandam. I shop at the Lagedijk has definitely closed down and I now work from my new studio in Magazijn 14.
I am (and will remain) enterprising, want to learn a lot, love projects, love my trade, and feel that the contact with clients and the stories that come with the assignments is the most beautiful aspect of my work. Besides, I wish to continue to grow, to go international, make even more people happy with my designs and keep making you happy with creating a personal and customised piece of jewellery.
You are (as always) very welcome in my new studio in Zaandam, and I look forward to helping you. Regardless of whether you are interested in a piece of jewellery from my existing collection. Or in a handmade design especially designed and made for you. Do drop by for an exploratory chat.
You can call me, email me, or make your own appointment in the online agenda on this website. Please find all options in the contact menu.