A LAWYER is swapping justice for jewellery after resigning her position and setting up her own online business.

Court legal adviser Natalie Robinson, of Trimdon Village, near Sedgefield, has teamed up with her dance partner, Sam Mills, to launch Samalie Jewellery.

The venture specialises in dance-related silver and gold adornments - inspired by the pair’s love for Latin dancing which gained the teaching partnership their name, “Samalie”.

Mrs Robinson said: “I’m used to working in court with magistrates from 9.30am and everything is quite rigid.

“This is such a completely different look at life - it’s the happy side of things, it’s treats and dance related and different to burglaries and thefts. I’m hoping it will take off.”

Mrs Robinson has spent more than 26 years as a legal adviser in County Durham magistrates’ courts, advising justices of the peace on the law.

Now, having spent the last few years founding a Latin Dance business, she decided to bite the bullet and retire from her position to concentrate on the company.

It was during a holiday to New York in August, standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, that she settled on her plan.

“I was at a point in my career where I thought ‘do I do this forever or do I do something different?’,” she added.

Mrs Robinson enjoyed ballet and tap dancing as a little girl but in later life became “hooked” on Latin dancing, which she says has taken over her life.

She began dancing 20 years ago, training to be a teacher and “absolutely loving it”.

Meanwhile Mr Mills, who is a retired sweet factory manager, has been involved in Latin American dancing, especially Salsa, for more than 15 years and has taught for the last ten.

As XSalsa, they are “consumed” by the art form - dancing and teaching regularly at home and across the region.

This year the duo decided to spend time researching dance-related jewellery and discovered there was no other business offering it exclusively.

“Samalie is the only business on the internet selling jewellery for the dance industry,” said Mr Mills, of Chester-le-Street.

“So, we have something unique here, and in fact, the jewellery is unique and some of it designed especially for us.

“We have found a gap in the market – and filled it.”

Designed by Mrs Robinsons’ 16-year-old son Jed Robinson, the business’s website has several sections, including bracelets, rings and necklaces.

Mrs Robinson, who sketches out a vision of her products and sends them to designers to be realised, hopes they could replace trophies as keepsakes for competition winners at dance festivals.

Samalie Jewellery has even had a helping hand from Jed’s friend Ellie Patterson, 15, who is modelling the jewellery.

A dancer herself and now an ambassador for the new business, she suffers from a debilitating gastronomic condition that means she must be educated away from mainstream school.

Despite this she is pursuing her ambition to become a model.

“Our pieces will last forever,” added Mr Mills. “They could even become the heirlooms of the future.”

Currently Mr Mills and Mrs Robinson have designers making the products but they have dreams of bringing the business into Durham City in the future - specifically to Silver Street.