Friday, March 25, 2011

sapphire cocktail ring

I love covert projects. I am very good at playing dumb so we are batting a thousand in the not giving away surprises department! This is a ring commissioned by my great customer Mark for his amazing wife Christa. It's a 3.5 ct reddish-pinkish-orange sapphire. It's one of the most unusual shades I have ever seen. We made it into this bold cocktail ring in 18k yellow gold. Spectacular, thanks Mark!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Diamonds... and coffee?

This week I wanted to post another entry to my "Distillery must see" list. As we all know, every visit to the Distillery should start in my studio where you should come and get decked out in sparkly things... But your next stop might be for a club sandwich at Brick Street, or if you're not ready for lunch and more in a coffee mood, a stop at Balzac's Coffee - the perfect place to grab a latte, cappuccino or macchiato and a little something sweet. Balzac's in the Distillery is by far the coolest coffee shop I have ever been in, with atmosphere to spare, and features micro roasted fairtrade coffee beans.

Originally from Stratford, Balzac's was one of the Distillery districts first tenants and helped to set the tone for the quality and character that businesses in the district have become known for. It helped sell me on setting up shop here 8 years ago when construction was in full swing and the district was still an unknown, out of the way spot.
Having sampled their wares some 2500 times, I would consider myself an expert... or addict! Either way, my morning coffee from Balzac's is a small pleasure that enriches my life. So next time you are in the Distillery seeing me for that special project, grab a great coffee afterwards and see for yourself...

Friday, March 4, 2011

custom process

This week I thought I would discuss the custom design process I have developed and use to work with clients from first visit to completed piece. Custom design is a lot of fun, and working with each client to develop a style and design that will reflect both their taste and my design esthetic is just the kind of challenge I love. Through meetings, sketches, renderings and prototypes, we work through the process until both our visions for the piece are realized. Each item of custom-designed jewellery is a true collaboration and unique in its own way. The process usually begins with the client reviewing my portfolio and looking at pieces in my display cases. We'll then have a conversation about their favourites, and what is attracting them to these pieces. From these conversations, I can get a pretty good feel for where the design is going. The next step is selecting the gems. In this example, sapphire and diamonds!
Once the gems have been chosen, I'll create a series of quick concept sketches so the client can see 5 to 6 variations on the theme, and start narrowing down the design possibilities. We then work to eliminate the designs until we get down to the one the client likes best.
Once we have chosen our top design we proceed to rendering. This is done on the computer and a 3-D model is made so the client can see the piece in detail, and from many angles.
From here, the hope is that we have gotten the design close, maybe even perfect. If not, then this is the stage where we can easily make modifications to the design and really refine it to the clients taste.
We keep working on the rendering until the client loves it and then we proceed to prototyping... But that's for next week! Stay tuned as we will cover prototyping, casting, grinding and polishing, and then setting the stones...