How Rosie Odette was born
My journey is one that has been long and winding. There have been many uphill struggles and a few free-falls along the way, but it is one that has made me who I am today and for that I am truly grateful.
Back in 2008, I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, an illness I had developed due to severe, life threatening traumas I had experienced in my childhood and teenage years. Symptoms of this included panic attacks, insomnia, nightmares, depression, agoraphobia and suicidal tendencies. All of which combine to incapacitate you on a pretty fundamental level. As a practising Buddhist, I turned to my teachings and learnt about the ‘Mentor Disciple Relationship’ – a Buddhist principle around turning the ‘impossible into the possible’. Taking courage to believe in the greatness of your life, and understanding that, no matter what, you can turn life’s sufferings into your own unique and beautiful mission.
It was a low time, I barely left the house. I struggled to take care of myself. Even washing was too hard. I realised that it was going to be a struggle to transform my life, as my trauma was deep and severe, but as the saying goes – a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step…
I started to chant and I started to heal. Here my story skips to 2014, and although I’d had some good periods of benefiting from my Buddhist practises, I was still dominated by my illness. At 34, I felt my life wasn’t amounting to anything other than to struggle and suffer. After 12 years of striving for change I still had no money, no partner, no career. I had had enough.
I had an open prayer – to become happy and healthy. To be able to do something I was naturally good at, something I loved, that enabled me to earn great money and allowed me to travel to India – where I was happiest, and enabled me to inspire others to become happy. In May of that year, a friend suggested I go on a jewellery making course in Hatton Garden. We’d met in Goa four years before where we’d both designed a ring for ourselves. I had a natural love of gems and their healing properties, and each year I went to India, I would source them and have something made for myself while I was there. So although I had no experience, I went along. I took a ruby to my first class, which I had sourced from Goa the year before, and I made my first ring. I posted a photo online and immediately had my first commission, in just week two of my course! Within four months I’d made my first two engagement rings and many other commissions, all working with gold and diamonds and I loved every second!
Then out of nowhere, illness hit me like a train. Again, I couldn’t leave the house, couldn’t talk to my family, couldn’t make jewellery. Another promising career was slipping away from me. I sought guidance from a senior leader and what she said completely changed how I looked at my life experiences and my Buddhist practise.
She said “Rosie, you may be ill for another ten years. Who knows? Your karma is deep and you’re courageous in faith for taking it on. Just chant to feel the wonder of your life and to open the palace of your life.” I realised I’d been fighting my illness with an assumed ‘end result’ and with a naïve view of my life, my past experiences and the deep effects they’d had on me.
So I took a long look at my life and asked myself, what do I really need? Happiest in sunshine, regular company, fresh air, good food… I booked myself a four-month ticket to India. I took a single piece of jewellery that I was too ill to finish, with a small hope that maybe I could find a workshop and finish it there.
After three weeks I bumped into a fellow Buddhist from Islington, we were so excited to meet one another and we soon had women of all ages chanting for happiness in our tiny village and attending our meetings. I found a workshop and finished my piece – the Greek Goddess Armband. I was so proud! I still had strong symptoms and felt frightened a lot of the time, but the workshop and holding the meetings gave me a positive focus and I soon became good friends with the Bengali in the workshop.
The boys in the workshop took me under their wing, teaching me their way of silver and goldsmithing and I soon realised this was the perfect opportunity for me to learn my trade and start my own collection. Something I could never have afforded to do in the UK. I worked six days a week, and with the help of my Bengali friends, managed to complete my first ever collection. The Regal Collection was all about summoning up your inner queen, healing and celebrating the greatness of your life. I looked further into the healing properties of the gems, and I learnt that you’re naturally drawn to the crystals you need. Understanding this and loving the intent behind wearing stones with meaning, I created each design and ring based on where I was right at that moment, what I needed and where I wanted to go. The first ring I designed and made I named The Ametrine Queen. Little did I know at the time that amethyst is a great for clearing negative energy and that ‘Ametrine’ stones were historically known to be worn by queens.
I then made the ‘King of Crowns’ with a 12 carat grey star ruby, again just naturally gravitating to the stones I loved. My next design was ‘Healing Queen’ and when I went to purchase the gold, it had a queen’s head on the back of it! The right name had been chosen!
Tourists started to see the pieces I was making and started to commission me. Things were starting to change and I started to feel well again. I extended my trip by five weeks with the extra money I had made from the commissions and I decided to go to Jaipur to source stones. I was terrified by the challenge, but I trusted myself and I went alone.
While there, I reconnected with a manufacturer I had met a few months earlier (he’d said if I was ever in Jaipur, I could sit and learn at his desk). He was shocked to see me, but each day I sat at his desk, listened and started to learn. During that time I’d drawn up 56 designs. I chose 30 of them and started making samples. I worked around the clock, 14 hour days, churning the work out. After five weeks I had managed to put two new collections into production, sourced all of my stones and forged a good friendship with my new manufacturer!
I realised this was a huge victory against the odds and I could see these strong relationships would create a solid base for my business in India. I had found the job I was naturally good at and would allow me to travel to India, my prayer back in 2014 had finally paid off.
I reflected back to when I got so severely ill again in 2014. Questioning why after all my chanting has this happened? But I realised I had to go down that route, because if not, I would never have taken that leap of faith to break through. I would never have got on a flight to India, taking that piece of jewellery with me; which was the key to opening up this great life and business on the other side of the world.
I started to understand the power of prayer and the mystic nature in which the universe answers them! This year I have finally recovered my health and shed the traumas that held me back for the last two decades. I can clearly see that despite my mental health issues and the limitations that came with it, I’m finally starting to manifest this incredible life for myself that I could never have imagined before.
When I think back to 2008, the start of this campaign, I had nothing. I was told I would never work again, never come off medication again, never recover. But what is very clear to me, and what stays with me is when I was told to give up, my mentor, and Buddhism, told me something completely different. Never to give up. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, never give up hope to build yourself a new life and that nothing is impossible if we just try. Regardless of where I stood back in 2008, I learned that I had limitless potential in my life, waiting to be revealed.