Jewelry Design Process
Make the gift unique with an inscription, a custom design or find an antique.
From time immemorial the resilient and enduring qualities of gold – its purity and beauty – have naturally symbolized untarnished true love. The fiery colors of precious gems are a perfect metaphor for passion.
Betrothal, marriage and anniversaries are often marked by such gifts of jewelry. This exchange is a long standing tradition and nearly everyone receives a gift of jewelry in their lifetime.
Aside from being central to these celebrations of love, jewelry plays a variety of roles. It defines social status, it works as a talisman and amulet and embodies powerful magic. Time invests these tokens with a deeper meaning and they come to represent the relationship itself. As the relationship grows and changes over years these mementos connect recipients to celebrations.
Jewelry has captured the imagination of famous authors throughout history from William Shakespeare to Arthur Conan Doyle. And what child hasn’t dreamed of pirate treasure? And yet even with all of the fascination for jewelry, many encounter great difficulty selecting a gift.
Finding a Gem
Part of the difficulty comes from the fact that jewelry represents a highly subjective and personal form of expression. Because jewelry and clothing serve as an extension of image and status and reflect the wearer’s personality, the gift may not be as well received as the giver (or recipient) would hope.
Some encounter difficulty finding a piece of modern jewelry that has the qualities that make it a suitable metaphor for their love. The diminished standards of modern jewelry leave many buyers discovering that much of what is currently available is unworthy. Jewelry making went through a change during the Industrial Revolution when manufacturing was simplified and brought into line with the economies of scale. Prior to this, jewelry making had been exclusively executed by hand.
These “advances” in technology – when coupled with mass marketing and distribution – expanded the availability of jewelry to its largest market ever. Today, much of this mass production is carried out in developing nations. The result is a product that is often compromised because it is produced with the least amount of labor and materials and the lowest level of skill. Modern trade-shop workers are more prized for their speed than their craftsmanship. We still make our jewelry by hand in Seattle, Washington.
For some, antique jewelry represents a time when excellence in execution was the norm and a higher degree of workmanship was demanded. The age, wear, patina and histories of these antique jewels make them attractive to connoisseurs. They make wonderful and unique gifts that have a connection with a romantic era. We carry a wide and ever changing selection of antique pieces.
One of a Kind
A new or old piece of jewelry can take on a deeper meaning if you have it engraved. You needn’t write a sonnet (you won’t have room for one anyway). Just names, initials and dates or perhaps a simple inscription that reflects your feelings at this moment in time to be carried like a message in a bottle into the future.
Custom design can produce a handmade work that more closely embodies the unique qualities of the person who will wear the jewelry The creative energy is even better if the person who will receive the jewelry is involved in the design process. One couple had their wedding bands sculpted in the form of an undulating river to represent its ever changing flow. The rings included small, randomly set sapphires that mirror the war rocks are set in a river. For them the river is representative of the flow of their lives together. They were married in a ceremony that took place next to a particularly beautiful river.
Other examples of custom wedding bands include a couple who carved the name of their spouse in Hebrew, and another who chose a pattern based on the rings formed in a pond of water when raindrops hit the surface. You needn’t be so literal or utilize a specific set of imagery. Custom design works best when it is subtle, simple and elegant but somehow unique. In our shop we have over ten thousand drawings of unique jewelry designs that we have created over the decades.
Finding a Jeweler
When looking for a jeweler, seek the recommendation of someone you know and trust. Find examples of their jewelry and look at the work closely inside and out, front and back. Try to determine if it has been finished with attention to detail. Mass-produced pieces lack diversity and individuality.
If the quality, workmanship and design appeal to you, find out about the range of services they provide (i.e. can they do custom work?). Short of a personal recommendation, look for well-established firms that have been in the business for generations or ones that are members of trade associations. Come and visit us in downtown Seattle and experience first hand the wonderful things in store.
When you give the gift of jewelry, seize the opportunity to make a great presentation. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. And anything involving romance is worth doing extremely well. Use exotic wrapping paper and pour some champagne, create ambiance. If you don’t have any ideas, draw inspiration from an old movie or confer with your jeweler.
When you need something special, I hope you will think of us.