Monthly Archives: November 2010
I recently saw a checklist of tips for buying jewellery for your loved one. One of the tips was to make sure that the gemstone is flawless, that it has no faults.
Firstly, one needs to have a good grasp of what a “fault” is.
The Tanzanite cabochon in the picture above has “inclusions”. This means that it is not 100% clear and uniform in colour; that it has visible “defects” or “faults”.
It is also, however, a stone with profound inner beauty.
The fact is, the visible structure and colour variants within this tanzanite occurred as part of its natural formation. It is an entirely sound gemstone and has a uniqueness accentuated by the signature of nature within. It is for this reason that I chose to add it to my collection of gemstones and I take enormous pleasure in looking at it!
A truly delicious aspect of being a Goldsmith is the continual search for gemstones. I create jewellery for my own gallery and also work to commission, creating customised jewellery to individual requirements. To this end, it is essential that I maintain a delightful collection of gemstones from which my clients can select.
Sitting down with a client as part of this process is a truly wonderful experience. To see just how much they enjoy it and how the stone of their choice emerges and speaks to them. It happens with friends and visitors, too, just for the pleasure of it.
For those choosing from my collection without a personal visit, I provide a number of photographs and have found this to be hugely successful with clients from all over the world.
I choose naturally beautiful gemstones.
Here in the Languedoc region of France, our eyes savour the last of the autumn’s golden colours.
After a proliferation of reds and golds displayed in a glorious patchwork of vineyards, the last vestiges of gold are all that remain.
A Mix of Gold
The colour palette of autumn is irresistible. I don’t know how many photographs I have taken over the years, but I never grow tired of the variety of tones. The golden hues, patterns and textures have a mesmerising intensity. I save only the best photographs and the golden colours continue to speak to me from the album.
Rose Gold Jewellery
The rich golden, coppery bronzes in the yellow and rose gold pendant above were undoubtedly inspired by the autumn. An enticing warmth captured in gold that speaks to you and invites you to touch.
My jewellery creations are often a mix of golds … and a mix of textures. Each piece evolves uniquely; exact repeats are an impossibility. Maybe my ideas are romantic, but I believe that jewellery should try to be as special as you are. I’m a Goldsmith creating real opportunities for people to choose unique treasures.
Through the classical skills of traditional workmanship, I create jewellery for the individual.
Pliers Poised for Action
Every so often, usually at the end of a creative project in the workshop, I have a serious tidy up.
The jewellery workshop is just that; a workshop. A place of tools and equipment, metals and materials, filings and offcuts. As each project progresses, tools are plucked from their nests. Some are immediately returned after use, but others find themselves close at hand on the workbench ready to be used again.
My rack of pliers shown in the picture is less than an arms length from me as I sit at my workbench. Each pair with its own purpose and function. Racking them up again punctuates the creative process; it provides a time for reflection as well as organisation.
Pliers … are Personal
As someone who creates jewellery from the basic materials, pliers play a huge role in shaping, curving and bending gold and silver into the desired forms.
Since starting in this profession with a few treasured tools from the Master Craftsman who was my teacher, new pliers have been added to the collection. Since those days, however, the collection has adapted with me; grown with my ideas for design, the challenges I’ve faced, the outcomes I wish to achieve.
The jaws of many a pristine pair of pliers have been pressed against the abrasive wheel of the grinder. In a few noisy and grating seconds, a parallel edge has been eliminated … a uniquely tapered edge created. After final smoothing, they become a part of my world. Reaching for them with the knowledge of how they will perform becomes second nature.
Pliers for Precision
I know each pair of these pliers intimately. Using them for anything other than my creations in the jewellery workshop is out of the question.
Precision work requires precision tools. They’re precious.
How We Perceive Quality
I love boots. When choosing boots, I look for quality using various senses.
The manner in which the leather has been cut and shaped, and the way it has been stitched to the sole, is where the craftsmanship can be seen. The way the leather feels at my fingertips also tells me a great deal. Good quality leather also has an unmistakable smell. Through various senses, I perceive the resistance, quality and design of the boots.
Such quality is of paramount importance when I create jewellery, too.
The Look and Feel of Quality
The compass bracelet in the picture above includes a precision built compass. At first glance, this unique aspect of quality may not be obvious, visually. However, for me to be able to offer compass jewellery that I know will stand the test of time is vital. The north seeking, jewelled sapphire bearing compass inside is both accurate and of sound construction.
Encircled by a band of gold, the compass and other treasures move freely on the chain; a comfortable flow and rhythm of movement. An individually designed and hand made toggle closure safely secures the bracelet on the wrist. A visible Hallmark endorses the quality of the metals used.
The Sound of Quality
Jewellery also has it’s own sound. As you hold this bracelet in your hand and listen to the way it sounds when you move it against itself, it sounds … right.
It’s similar to when you let smooth pebbles tumble out of your hand, the sound they make as they fall together is full and mellow. A rich sound of quality as opposed to a shrill or light tinkling sound.
For me, the sound, the timbre, of a bracelet when it moves on the wrist is very much a part of the joy of wearing it. I only wish I could better describe it!
Working with My Hands
Perhaps I was destined to work with my hands. Today, I work with my hands and my heart as well as my head.
The shape of my life has changed enormously. Although from a family of fine art dealers, my first career started in the world of Information Technology. Today, however, I am a Goldsmith living in France.
The Jewellery Workshop
The jewellery workshop is a place where I lose track of time. Creative ideas are realised in this special place.
Amply equipped, the workshop is home to a variety of tools; tools from the past, some newer, and some individually crafted to meet a particular need. It also houses numerous discarded items that might one day be useful. A veritable den.
The Goldsmiths’ tools are never lent or shared for there’s an intimate relationship between them. The way one uses a file, for example, is unique to the individual. So, too, is the knowledge of its age, degree of abrasiveness and its idiosyncrasies; a dead area here, a nick there. A familiarity exists that’s key to knowing what to expect from a certain tool and how to achieve a particular outcome.
A Master Craftsman of Goldsmiths’ Hall was my teacher and I, his apprentice. An advocate of the classical skills of traditional workmanship, he’s a gentleman I’m privileged to have met. Creative and mechanically inclined, I remain fascinated by the challenges and rewards of the profession; of working directly with gold and silver.
Jewellery for the Individual
Working with my hands and my heart, as well as my head, continues to inspire me. Part of what makes my jewellery so special is that it is uniquely created using the classical skills of traditional workmanship.
Jewellery often makes the perfect gift. Individually hand made jewellery makes it unique.
Risico Means Risk
Risico is the name a beautiful barge on the Canal du Midi that I was recently fortunate enough to be aboard. When I enquired about the name, Risico, the gentleman owner explained that it meant Risk and told me the story to accompany it.
A Time for Risk
In years gone by, the canals were the route by which goods were transported. Barges would navigate up and down the canals laden with their cargo and a crew. An apprentice would be watching and learning the ropes to become a captain.
From time to time, an apprentice would approach the owner about buying the barge for himself. The time would come where the apprentice wanted to take the risk and put everything he had into owning and running the barge.
Risk and Ownership
At the time of taking on the barge for himself, this new owner re-named the barge Risico. He gave the barge a name to suit the occasion, to celebrate and cement the commitment.
The Rarity of Risk
Not everyone acts on the decision to take on a new project and give it their all. I mean to take a real risk as part of changing their life for the better; to risk the security of the familiar, for the adventure of the unknown.
In fact, I think it’s something of a rarity.
However, I can’t help but admire those who do for their adventurous spirit.
How many times have you heard someone say how, if only they had such-and-such and opportunity, then they wouldn’t waste it? No indeed, they’d grab it by the horns and give it all they’ve got.
When it comes to it, so many of us humans say one thing … but do another. Oh-so-often there’s some obstacle preventing us from grabbing that opportunity, checking it out, turning it upside down and looking at it from another angle. All this kind of attitude does is dilute the adventure. This kind of attitude waters the adventure down to some insipid, tasteless soup.
Yes but, I can’t because the kids are in school (how many times have I heard that one?!)
Yes but, it’s easy for you; life’s different for me.
Yes but, it’ll be a lot of hard work.
Yes but, what if it doesn’t work out?
Agreed, all of these “Yes Buts” are the stuff of responsible individuals.
However, the adventurers amongst you will move beyond the “Yes-Buts”.
The adventurers amongst you will choose your direction and explore ways of achieving it. Yes, I use the word explore as that’s exactly what’s required when it’s time to move out of your comfort zone and try something else. Creativity is called for.
Can You Imagine?
Can you imagine how difficult it was to distract this little dog of mine away from the mole hill?
She was determined. Are you?
…and a compass set into the back!
…a unique design all around
…and small enough to wear everyday
View this Compass