Monica Vinader reveals the cities that inspired her jewellery designs

The top jewellery designer is famous for her intricate, elegant pieces, loved by celebrities from Hailey Bieber to Phoebe Dynevor.

But her greatest inspirations come from her travels around the world.

She’s seen creepy-crawlies in Mexico, slept under the stars in Belize and explored the arty shops of Florence.

We caught up with her about her most inspiring on-the-road experiences.

What is your favourite on-the-road moment?

Driving across southern Patagonia with my husband. It’s an extraordinary, vast landscape — it felt incredibly pioneering, a real adventure.

It’s true gaucho country and we would sometimes drive for hours without seeing a single person or car.

We travelled as far south as the city of Ushuaia, crossing the Strait of Magellan, where the landscape is incredibly barren. It’s made up mostly of empty spaces, punctuated with glaciers and snow-capped mountains, and has the most amazing rivers full of sea trout.

We spent a lot of time fly-fishing in those rivers — if you’ve read the work of the travel writer Bruce Chatwin it all makes sense.

And your favourite city?

Probably Florence — I lived and studied there when I was younger, and I return often so I know my way around well and it feels like home.

Even so, every time I visit, I discover something new — great food, amazing crafts — and culturally it’s a never-ending source of inspiration.

I always make a pilgrimage to the Brancacci Chapel to see the Masaccio frescoes. They are a must-see and some of his most famous work.

I follow that with lunch at Cibrèo (mains from £13). Last time I was there was for New Year’s Eve and I stayed at The Place Firenze (rooms from £352pn), which is a tall, elegant townhouse — it felt like staying with a super-stylish old friend.

The shopping is also great for amazing hand-crafted pieces. I always stock up on leather gloves from the shops on Via Por Santa Maria and I visit a crafts store called Studio Puck on Via Santo Spirito for amazing prints, as well as a porcelain factory called Ginori 1735 — my favourite collection of theirs is the Oriente Italiano and their shop on Via Dei Rondinelli is always very tempting.

What keeps you sane on the road?

Good music and lots of maps and guides — I love a map, and like to really study the next destination and think about what there is to see, what to visit, what to do, so I don’t miss anything.

When have you been most frightened while travelling?

While in the Sian Ka’an biosphere near Tulum in Mexico, I had a few encounters with large creepy-crawlies, scorpions and big spiders — and I have a huge fear of spiders. But the worst was when I found a huge boa constrictor in our shower. I was pretty freaked out.

What is the best souvenir you’ve come home with?

So many lovely things over the years. I love to shop all the local markets and antique shops anywhere I go.

But the best ones are pebbles and rocks collected from beaches and rivers — I have a huge collection and still bring them back from so many trips.

What has been your most life-changing moment while travelling?

Travelling to India. It’s such an inspiring country but also so full of contradictions — it brings out very raw emotions. I have been travelling there for years with work, sourcing gemstones, and I still find it the most fascinating place.

Over the years I have spent a lot of time in Jaipur specifically, which is where we cut all of our semi-precious stones. There are so many wonderful and inspiring things happening there and working with the craftsmen is incredible.

But there is also a lot of poverty and children in need. I’ve been involved with an amazing charity there called the Jagriti Foundation, which sets up schools and is now supporting 12 schools in total, helping more than 2,400 children. It’s been a huge highlight to be able to support them and to see the progress they’ve made.

What’s the worst meal you’ve had abroad?

Chapulines in Mexico City — they are small, roasted grasshoppers. They are a local delicacy but with my fear of creepy-crawlies, it was not great. Everyone else seemed to love them.

Where is the strangest place you’ve spent the night?

Maybe not strange but certainly the most amazing: a small deserted island off the coast of Belize. We were dropped off with water supplies and a little food, and camped under the stars. It felt very Robinson Crusoe.

Where are you hoping to go next?

Anywhere that will take me! I am seriously missing travel. I am hoping to make it to Menorca before the season completely ends and then, as soon as I can, I want to go back to Mexico.

Monica Vinader’s new collection, Monica x Doina, features ten vintage-inspired pieces made from 100 per cent recycled gold vermeil and sterling silver. From £60,

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