We had a lot of feedback from our last blog post about the differences between costume jewellery and silver jewellery, in which we focused on one angle the material. However the main obvious difference between both is normally the design. We have also had a chat with a client about another challenging bespoke order of which we aim to fulfil their needs but have highlighted durability concerns. The conversation then involved into the core aspects of what is in a design? Below we have listed a few thoughts on how we go about this;
What is the concept? Normally the client has a fair idea of what they want so it is a good starting point to brainstorm. If we are designing a range the idea normally wakes the designer up in the middle of the night. Hence they keep a notebook by the side of their bed.
From the concept, what is the main feature you want to convey? As an example Origin 31’s backbone collection focused on a central tactile ripple of vertebrae, Janus was about the subtle details in the delicate faces and Apex was for the gemstone colours popping out from a constriction. The recent bespoke order I published details of, was about the classic framing of a beautiful stone; timeless elegance in gold and platinum.
Then think of the other details, the other views. All angles need to be considered, slight adjustments can make all the difference. The emerald cut engagement ring had a tapered shank leading your eye into the stunning diamond so when looking at the side profile what would suit the design the best? The client opted for scalloped stone bezel to compliment this aesthetic flow (the arched curve of metal underneath the stone as a support around the setting). Keep drawing sketches and having a play on paper until you have hit ‘the one’. Play with scale, colour and 3 dimensional views. We even consider what the inside of the ring would look like / feel like. Our pieces always have to be comfortable so in rings we are partial to a courted inside (corners softened and rounded on the inside edges).
Pretty aspects are the main concern but we bear in mind other aspects; longevity and durability. The number of claws and type of setting needs to be considered. However many times we love seeing our jewellery worn we do not want to see it back because it has not lasted the test of time. Hence these are some questions we run through our minds;
• How easy would it be to knock the stones? Theoretically the more claws around the central stone the better, however a 4 claw is perfectly strong and safe enough. If we were ever to do a 2 claw ring we would seriously study the other support for the stone
• What style of setting is involved within the piece, some are more durable than others. Personally we do not like pave with 2 claws per stone. For us you would then be asking for trouble.
• Are the corners of a stone exposed; these are the most vulnerable areas of the stone so ideally would need to be protected.
• How easy is it for the piece to be adjusted in size; sadly most of us fluctuate in size at some point. It would be a shame to have a piece of jewellery just sat in a jewellery box if it couldn’t be sized.
• Is there enough depth and width to the metal. The average lifespan for an engagement ring is 15years for gold and 20 to 25 ish years in platinum.
• Have any causes for concern been highlighted to a client? For example I would have strong hesitations in recommending an opal engagement ring unless the client understood the risks. Opal is a very soft ring so is highly unlikely to remain whole for the test of time.
• If designing pendant, bracelets or earrings can the wearer easily put the piece on and off?
It’s easy just to design a pretty piece but is harder to design a stunning piece whilst ensuring quality aspects, that’s what years of experience trains you for.