Jewellery is art in wearable form and it’s very personal: we’re each drawn to different styles and colours. It might also be the reason you’ve tucked an old piece away, not knowing what to do with it. Working with a local custom designer results in something uniquely yours – even if it’s repurposed from an old or worn out piece. We asked some local designers what they’re currently creating for clients.
It’s a Ring Thing
Custom designed engagement and every day rings are keeping jewellers busy in their studios. Clients often bring in a visual of what they’d like or sit down with the designer to map out a sketch on paper. Maja Prvanovic-Kogut, owner and designer of Zoran Designs Jewellery, says Halo engagement rings are a highly requested style. “Most often they are set with a round centre surrounded by a single row of diamonds and usually with a diamond accented shank. People are really drawn to that style of ring. The centre stone choice will depend on the customer’s preference and budget.”
Some people like minimal and contemporary designs, and others prefer regal or vintage designs. “We will always work around the client’s taste, and we take their input very seriously,” notes Vo Hiep, designer and owner of HV Creative. “But, in taking a look at our annual original designs, a lot of them have a very minimal, clean, and universal aesthetic; meaning a lot of them are contemporary twists on classic designs.”
Heidi Schnabel, owner and designer of Heidi Schnabel Jewellery has clients requesting rings with an antique look and also others who want modern. “Because it’s custom, it depends on the customer,” she says. A rare technique she has mastered is Mokum Gane, an ancient layering technique. She creates each layer of gold and solders them together to create a piece that can have between eight and 12 layers. The final result is a wood grain patterned gold.
These designers spend days crafting for their clients, but do they have their own favourite styles? Of course! “I feel like I’m pretty eclectic in terms of what I like to design,” says Kogut, who notes she also enjoys ultra-modern concepts, organic, sculptural, vintage inspired and even rustic pieces. “I enjoy variety so if someone comes to me requesting a very clean and modern setting and the next day it’s something with an old-world vibe, I can honestly say that I am in my element.”
Laura Tedesco’s favourite style comes through in her work – including her engagement ring, which the owner and designer of Laura Tedesco Jewellery Design fashioned herself, of course. It’s an art deco style. She also likes to add colour, using alternate gemstones. Although she sells a lot of diamonds (they’re still a girl’s best friend after all), there’s an increase in requests to work with natural sapphires. “We have a good supplier of natural coloured sapphires. Not just royal blue but a wide range. We use them a lot for engagement rings.” This is because they are next in line behind diamonds for durability.
Reworking or repurposing older pieces is a great way to take something dated (with sentimental value) and give it new life – creating something that feels special, and that you’ll actually wear. Tedesco says people don’t seem to hesitate to rework a piece. “If it’s just sitting in their drawer they don’t hesitate because they want to do something with the piece.” In some cases it’s reworked using the original materials and “some people want to bling it out more.”
Westdale Jewellers loves to take on unique and niche work as well as more traditional custom design. They can create anything you ask for – “everything from little lockets to store a baby’s hair to a man’s father’s tooth that was made into a necklace,” says owner and designer Daniel Upsdell. He doesn’t feel there’s necessarily a common theme for style since client’s requests are so varied, but even if you’ve got an image of an antique piece or something you pulled from your own imagination, those are the types of sentiments that go into the types of jewellery people wear. “It’s really in the eye of the beholder,” he says. From a designer’s perspective of style, Upsdell says he’s a vintage guy. “I like the old filigree (work) and art deco.”
White gold is his go-to element of choice because it’s the strongest and he’d never advise putting a $10,000 diamond in a setting that he knows wouldn’t hold over time. Damaging or losing a piece of jewellery is disappointing, but if you hung onto an earring or broken necklace or have a piece that’s just too ugly to wear, “bring them in; we’ll melt them down and go from there,” says Updsell.
No matter the style, something old or something new, the end goal is always a beautiful, personal piece to be worn and enjoyed. So if you have an outdated piece, or want to create something custom from scratch, rest assured there is a fantastic variety of local jewellery designers in the Hamilton region ready to help you acheive your goal.