Updated: Aug 7
Many of us have inherited family jewellery that sits in a drawer gathering dust.
Heirloom jewellery can have enormous sentimental value but is very often the wrong size or style to be worn regularly.
Fortunately there's a solution and this is one of the things I love about my job, taking unworn jewellery that's been gathering dust and turning it into something that can be worn and treasured for the memories it holds.
My latest commission involved a ring that had been inherited as a family heirloom.
The original ring contained rubies and diamonds, set into a traditional 9ct yellow gold band.
My customer hadn't worn it for 10 years because the style of the ring didn't suit her taste. Further more it was the wrong size and she worried about losing it even if she did wish to wear it. So the ring gathered dust waiting for its moment...
Once she approached me about the commission, we very quickly settled on a statement design that would be a mixture between two of my collections.
A ring with open cups as a central feature and granulation surrounding them, where the stones from the original ring could be set into the texture.
After my initial sketch of the design was given the go ahead, I began work on the wax carving. This is where much of my design process takes place, as I allow myself to work quite freely with only a rough idea of where I want to end up.
Once I am happy with the wax design the ring is cast using the lost wax casting process. This is a process by which the wax model is melted away and the cast metal fills the void where the wax once was. Nothing remains of the wax, making the ring completely one of a kind.
I am then able to begin the work of creating settings for the reclaimed stones from the original ring. This is the part of the process that makes me most conscious of handling a piece of family history.
As I begin to set the stones, the new ring begins to resemble the old again.
The same materials only re-arranged. The metal and the stones have been recycled, and the new design breathes a bit of life back into this family heirloom.
" Emma turned an unloved piece of heirloom family jewellery into a beautiful piece - and more importantly, a piece I now love wearing. The whole process - from the enquiry to design to the final piece - was a pleasure. I felt included at every stage and absolutely confident that Emma would take good care and create something special. "
If you would like to discuss your own heirloom commission, I would love to hear from you. Please get in touch using my Bespoke form