Bespoke jewellery: 3 ways to make your Valentine’s special
PUBLISHED: 12:11 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:45 27 February 2017
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, perhaps a beautiful and bespoke piece of jewellery could be an ideal gift for your loved one. Holly Eells talks to three of the finest, bespoke jewellers in Essex to see how they can create something special for you
Jonathan Lambert Fine Jewellers
Jonathan Lambert Fine Jewellers, based in Sudbury, is not a traditional jewellery business, but more of an exciting collision of contemporary talent with generations of experience. Co-director Jonathan Lambert is a descendent of the Lambert family, famous goldsmiths and silversmiths since 1795. Educated in Kent, he had chosen his career path at the age of eight, having established an early appreciation for the family business. Apprenticed as a goldsmith after leaving school, Jonathan worked for one of the world’s largest gemstone merchants before achieving his Professional Jeweller’s Diploma. His reputation grew over the years and he became the youngest ever chairman of The National Association of Goldsmiths in 2004.
Working alongside his co-director Yasmin Moss, who possesses considerable artistic talent, their professional relationship is a match made in heaven for the prestigious jewellery business. It is evident Yasmin has had creative flair in her blood from a young age and earning her first class honours degree in fine jewellery from Central St Martins was the spring board to an impressive career as a jewellery designer. Notably, Yasmin spent seven years creating breath-taking jewellery for royalty, and many celebrities, at Garrard, the then Crown Jeweller.
‘By bringing our abilities and skills together, Jonathan Lambert Fine Jewellers continues to grow and be synonymous with jewellery excellence in the region, offering a full range of jewellery services including bespoke jewellery, repairs, valuations and restorations,’ Yasmin says.
‘It all starts with a consultation with myself. We will discuss your initial ideas, what inspires you and your proposed budget. It is from here that we really begin to bring your ideas to life. We set to work creating hand-drawn designs using your stones or start sourcing the beautiful gemstones you require. We turn the final design from an intricate drawing into your exclusive piece of bespoke jewellery. It is always our aim to create something that reflects your own personal story and a special piece that will be treasured for many years, if not generations to come.’
Yasmin believes everyone should have significant and unique pieces to cherish for a lifetime and explains why bespoke jewellery is, in itself, a fine solution. Yasmin says: ‘Bespoke jewellery allows people to be involved at all stages of the experience of designing and having a truly individual and very personal item of jewellery made just for them. My inspiration in designing bespoke pieces comes from the customers. Their unique story and personality is what motivates me to design a bespoke item that is perfectly suited to them.
‘The pieces that we get the most enjoyment from creating are the ones where our customers have beautiful stories to tell that form the reason for us to create the pieces. We produced a lovely pendant for one customer who came to us with her and her husband’s wedding rings. They were their first wedding rings and they had replaced them with new ones, but wanted to find a way of still wearing the original ones. We set about designing and making a pendant by shaping each ring into a heart and fitting one inside the other to create a lovely pendant which she now wears all the time.
Marisa Arna Jewellery Studio and Gallery
Greek-born Marisa Arna, originally a potter, has been an innovative jeweller for more than nine years and specialises in using a variety of traditional and modern goldsmith techniques, most of which have been acquired in the UK. She believes her previous career as a potter has helped instil particular skills to help her match texture, contrasting surfaces and coloured precious metals to give life to her designs in jewellery that are beautifully tactile and easy to wear.
‘I believe I have the best job in the world’, says Marisa. ‘Despite the constant technical challenge of this job, the evolution and progress made in my own ability, combined with the chance to meet lovely people and be part of a specific and happy moment in their life makes me really happy.’
Creating her handmade jewellery from silver, gold and gemstones (including diamonds) as part of signature collections and bespoke jewellery, Marisa explains how she always finds herself inspired by something new. ‘This is where my ideas eventually become another new innovative collection or a special one-off creation. I love inventing my own bespoke work, which is made exclusively for the client. During the process I usually base the design around the stones and according to the style, taste, life and general direction the client gives me.’
Marisa’s studio in Thorpe le Soken is the place to visit if you want to commission a piece of jewellery, however large or small. It can be something created from completely new materials, commemorating a particular event or just a special treat for yourself or a loved one. Alternatively, it could be a remodelling of a much-loved but tired-looking old piece, which can be given a new lease of life after melting the gold and re-using the original stones. If necessary, additional gold can be included in the remodelled piece of jewellery. An enticing selection of new, quality gemstones, which Marisa sources from trusted suppliers, can be an outstanding addition to the final design.
‘I will interpret your ideas so that the finished piece will be one of my creations, but with your influence, contribution and final say’, she says. ‘Making jewellery is my way of enabling people to express their feelings through their loved pieces. I love every aspect of it - talking to the client, designing the piece, making it on the bench, setting the stones, presenting the finished piece and receiving feedback from the client. I always prefer quality to quantity.’
Lord of London
Celebrating more than 40 years in the jewellery industry, Lord of London founder Russell Lord prides himself on offering a totally bespoke handmade jewellery service at all three of his branches.
He has been a diamond mounter in Hatton Garden since 1974. During his many years in the trade, he has taught numerous apprentices who have now gone onto running their own successful businesses. Boasting a variety of achievements, he is proud to have made jewellery for high profile clients including the Royal family and to have been awarded the Freedom of the City.
He explains: ‘The Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a municipality upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. This is a high award and a big achievement for me.’
Russell, who has hand made and designed his own jewellery since the age of 17, evidently has a passion for beautiful jewellery and creating special pieces for his clients. Making his first ring on his own in his dad’s garage at the age of 12 was one of his first tastes of this industry. His impressive skills have all developed from his intuitive hunger to train and teach himself and by working with other young apprentices learning the trade.
He believes bespoke jewellery is the way forward to showcase something unique for yourself or a loved one. ‘What is so special is the true, raw talent and art of hand-making jewellery from metal, because in this day and age the majority of high street jewellery is mass produced and farmed out in the Far East. The jewellery there is produced lightweight and is cast with the diamonds already in; they are not hand set and the metal is hollowed out. But the way we make jewellery is so special because it’s made with quality and effort. We ensure that for every piece of jewellery we make, we would not let it out of our shop with our name on it unless it was 100% perfect!’
The family-run business has its our own workshop in Hatton Garden, London, as well as branches in Billercay and Shenfield, and is made up of Russell’s two middle children, Sarah and Robert, and Russell’s brother, Robert, who is himself a diamond setter and polisher. Lord of London can make any piece of jewellery for you, whether it is a redesign, a remake or an alteration. All the work is carried out in its onsite workshop with a viewing window from inside the shop where you can spy on Russell or Robert making your piece of jewellery from start to finish should you wish.
GET IN TOUCH
Jonathan Lambert Fine Jewellers
2 Borehamgate, Sudbury CO10 2EG
Marisa Arna Jewellery Studio and Gallery
High Street, Thorpe-le-Soken CO16 0EA
Lord of London
74B High Street, Billericay CM12 9BS
162 Hutton road, Shenfield CM15 8NL
Hatton Garden Branch
34-35, Hatton Garden, London, EC1N 8DX
020 7404 7708