Our ‘Dainty Dozen’ Collection
As you probably know we have a thriving workshop which we are really proud of and it has been at the heart of who EC One is since we started 19 years ago.
Over the years we have had the pleasure of making hundreds of engagement rings, wedding bands and pieces of jewellery to help customers mark special occasions in their lives.
But with all these bespoke pieces it can be hard to carve out the time to sit and design a new collection of our own, so we teamed up with our friend jewellery blogger Kate Baxter of The Cut.
We wanted the collection of 12 engagement rings – hence the name ‘Dainty Dozen’ – with accompanying necklaces and earrings to have a traditional vintage-style feel but with the weight of contemporary jewellery. And of course the pieces are all made in-house by our team of Goldsmiths combining traditional techniques and cutting edge technology.
The signature design features of the ‘Dainty Dozen’ are its halo of graduating diamonds and fluted under-bezel which make them subtly unique. The first rings have been set with stunning white and brown conflict-free Diamonds, coloured Sapphires and Emerald in 18ct Gold. But of course because everything is made in our workshop anything is possible!
We hope you love the collection as much as we have enjoyed making it.
On Wednesday evening a small crowd of jewellery enthusiasts and professionals gathered at the Goldsmiths’ Centre on Britton St, for a Q&A with acclaimed designers Shaun Leane and Leo de Vroomen. Hosted by our own director, and chairman of the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council, Jos Skeates, the conversation started with questions being pulled from the audience.
Between them, Shaun and Leo gave an incredible rare insight into their careers, from how they both accidentally fell into the profession, to how they go about day to day business now that they both have teams and houses of their own.
The audience asked a range of questions, to cover the entirety of their careers. Shaun Leane wanted to go into fashion and found himself doing a jewellery design foundation and falling in love with the manufacturing. Leo de Vroomen knew he loved to work with his hands but had never considered goldsmithing until he did a summer apprenticeship with his friend’s uncle. Leo explained why he loves the jewellery trade so much “There is no other trade where you have complete control, you have the idea, you control the tools and the materials you use, you make it, you show it, and you sell it.”
Shaun gave a rare insight into his time spent working alongside Alexander McQueen, speaking of his time spent classically training as a goldsmith and how McQueen pulled him out of his comfort zone, using his skill and craftsmanship which up until McQueen approached him, had been conditional to fine jewellery. “You can create beauty through any object”, whether that’s copper, aluminium, gold or diamonds.
They both spoke of their businesses, now flourishing, and how they got to they have got to this point, how they keep it going and how neither of them see their collections as brands, but rather as a House or a large collection with a signature handwriting to it. Employing goldsmiths and trainees to work at the bench means they both get little time to do the making, but they both immerse themselves in the design, the process, the customers, and the paperwork. The main key to success that was becoming more and more apparent from both of them is passion.
The last question of the evening asked each of them what their favourite piece was; with Shaun Leane claiming that was like picking your favourite child, Leo de Vroomen pointed at the image on the screen behind him – “that brooch!” Now part of his own private collection, the brooch was hammered out in the style of repousse and set with diamonds in an explicable manner.
Shaun, after some thought, boiled it down to the coiled torso which went down the runway at Alexander McQueen’s AW’99 show, which Leane claims broke every boundary he knew. He says “McQueen was a hard man to please, but the coiled torso blew us both away.”
On Tuesday we let love bloom on Exmouth Market by letting a balloon fly into the air, attached to a little bit of love. Click the image above to watch it go!
If you have found the balloon, please follow the instructions on the heart attached to it!
Congratulations if you found me. You’veWON a £150 Voucher to spend on Jewellery at EC One The Jewellers. Simply bring this balloon into our store, or post it back to us flat pack, to:
41 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4QL
Call us on 0207 713 6185
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Jos Skeates, Goldsmith and Jewellery Designer shares his top ten tips on how to find the perfect ring that will make her want to say “yes”.
1. Proposing with a ring is always much more romantic than being empty handed. You are much more likely to get a ‘yes’ when you turn up with a beautiful ring that you think she will like. Of course most women want to choose what they wear – long gone are the days when they had to settle for whatever they were given, so make sure the jewellers will exchange if it’s not quite right.
2. Research what you think she would like. Many partners make the mistake of buying what they like rather than thinking of what their partner would like. You were probably not drawn to her because she is just like you (let’s hope not!) so think about what sort of thing she would wear. Have a look in her jewellery box, and if you are really unsure, then take one of her friends along that you know you can trust.
3. Take a photo of her with you when you go shopping. At EC One we will often ask if the proposer has a photo of their partner. This can give us a better idea of what sort of person they are and what we think they might like. Practical things such as does she work with her hands and will she have to take the ring off when she is working may make a difference to your choice.
4. Don’t worry too much about the finger size. Most jewellers will stock an average size which can then be fitted once the ring has been given. If you can find a ring in her jewellery box that you know she wears then do take it to your jeweller. However it is unlikely that she wears anything on her engagement ring finger, so bear in mind any other will be just a guess.
5. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend! Without a doubt, nothing says “marry me” more than a diamond. It is steeped in history as the most romantic stone and won’t be confused with a dress or cocktail ring when being given. Unless you know for certain she’s not a fan, diamonds are the biggest signal that you are serious. Diamonds are graded using the four C’s and a stone should be chosen in this order; Cut, Colour, Clarity, and Carat weight. Make sure you have a basic knowledge and above all trust the person who is selling you the stone. The Gemmological Institute of America has more information, or watch this quick video of Jos explaining in more detail.
6. Quality over size. Wherever possible always choose quality over size. A large diamond showing yellow colour and black carbon deposits doesn’t compare to a smaller, whiter more brilliant stone. In the same way a thin weedy looking ring won’t stand up to being worn day in day out.
7. Don’t buy a diamond ring without holding it in your hand. Two diamonds can look identical on the certificate, but small differences in proportion can affect the look of the stone. The size of the table (the flat top of the diamond), for example, can affect how it catches the light. A large table reflects more white light, a small table reflects the fire of the diamond. It’s really down to personal preference, and it’s something you need to see up close. You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it, would you?
8. How much should it cost? This is often referred to as the fifth C! Most estimates vary from one to three months’ salary. My advice is always to set yourself a budget and don’t go too far away from that. There are ways to make the most of your budget; you will be able to have a bigger stone if you go for white gold over platinum, for example, or several smaller diamonds over a large single stone. In defence of the jeweller, they are selling you something that (if it is well made) is expected to be worn every day for the rest of her life. Pretty good value really.
9. Buy from people you like and have a long-standing solid reputation. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who proudly show their bargain ring bought with cash in the back room of some dodgy Hatton Garden ‘office’. Whoever you buy from, are they reputable, is the stone ‘conflict free’, and will they still be around when you come to buy a matching wedding band? All of her friends will ask your fiancé where the ring is from, and bargainbasement.com isn’t going to look very good….
10. Finally – the proposal. Here at EC One we hear lots of amazing stories of different proposals. They range from The London Eye to scuba diving! Whatever you decide, asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is one of the most important things that you can do. Therefore, a good deal of consideration should be put into the timing and setting of this event. This is a memorable moment, which will be told and retold over the years to your friends, family, children, and grandchildren. Make it a story worth telling…….
The Bespoke Experience
Did you know, not only do we make engagement rings and wedding bands in our workshop, but we also make bespoke pieces that our customers have dreamt up? We’re your place to come if you have something in mind for a loved one, whether that’s a necklace engraved with a secret message, a bracelet with your childrens’ birthstones or the perfect pair of diamond studs she’s always wanted.
Please remember that our workshop takes 4-6 weeks with most bespoke orders, contact our goldsmiths on email@example.com straight away!
See our galleries above and below and follow our instagram where there is inspiration uploaded daily!
Join our Assistant Buyer Charlotte as she explores Chanel’s Fine Jewellery
On a dark autumnal evening I attended Mademoiselle Prive at The Saatchi gallery, snaking in a queue of people eager to immerse themselves in The House of Chanel. Through rooms of glorious Chanel fabric hung in great rolls, it is almost Nania like as you enter Gabrielle Chanel’s world and see how the founder’s past and legacy has continued and evolved under the reign of Karl Lagerfeld.
For me the most striking pieces are housed upstairs, “In the rooms of her own” Karl Lagerfeld displays Chanel’s 1932 jewellery collection. Upon the walls are photographs of the brands current muses Vanessa Paradise, Lily Rose Depp, Keira Knightly and Julianne Moore. This sultry black room comes alive with the dazzle of the diamonds, not housed behind glass but allowed to radiate their bright star like light that Gabrielle Chanel envisioned when creating the collection. Motifs of bows and stars feature heavily in these feminine jewels.
Chanel described diamonds as a “Symbol of light, the diamond is king of stones”. Built from a desire to cover women in constellations, Chanel envisioned glittering diamond stars covering the body. Downstairs you have a hint of what to expect as a giant Swarovski version of Chanel’s Constellation necklace is caged like a bird to be marvelled at from every angle; as it turns beautiful reflections are cast upon the walls. Upstairs you can see the real thing, and to be honest nothing quite compares to the sparkle of a diamond.
These elaborate pieces of jewellery remind me of some of the bespoke fine jewellery creations we have crafted for our customers in our in-house workshop. There was an exquisitely detailed feather brooch, which reminded me of a beautiful feather necklace handmade by our Goldsmiths as a special Christmas gift.
If the diamond is the king of stones then surely the pearl is the queen. The Pearl has become an iconic symbol of Chanel, created by Gabrielle Chanel and continued by Karl Lagerfeld, an emblem of the house over the years.
Pearls are often described as the queen of gem and the gem of queens, in fact if you were to close your eyes and picture Queen Elizabeth II the image conjured in your head would be of her wearing her “Buitton” pearl earrings and two strands of pearls around her neck. At EC One we have created some beautiful bespoke pearl pieces over the years, as well as our inhouse classic pearl earrings and necklaces. Chanel would wear pearls with everything, adding them to a day dress and then increasing the number of pearl strands worn for a more evening look. Pearls are a wardrobe staple that transcend trends, ages and culture.
My favourite pearl commission created by EC One’s goldsmiths were a pair of thread through pearl earrings designed as a collaboration between our customer and our workshop. They were designed as a wedding gift and were adaptable with the second pearl removable and plans to be able to customize the earrings with interchangeable stones. Sadly like many other commission pieces the workshop creates we did not get chance to photograph them. Each piece created by our talented goldsmiths really is a labour of love, they are truly passionate about each piece they work on whether a unique engagement ring or repairing a much treasured necklace. I am proud to be part of a company that has craftsmanship, design and quality at the heart of their business just like Chanel does with highly skilled artisans. If you are feeling inspired by the exhibition and want to create a bespoke piece of jewellery please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
EC One’s Head Buyer Alison Skeates, and Assistant Buyer Charlotte Kimber are just back
from Paris’s Premier Class and Tranoï. Here Charlotte Kimber shares a sneak preview
of things to come for SS16…
It’s always inspiring to catch-up on the latest developments by jewellery designers we already stock, uncover new gems, and shape EC One’s future season.
We love an injection of colour for Spring/Summer. Shashi offered vibrant tassels with pick’n’mix beads. We got to create unique colour combos for SS16 EC One exclusives. We were delighted by Rue Belle Stones: Chrysoprase, Sapphires, Kyanite, and envious of their idyllic life between Paris and Hawaii.
For AW15 we already have in-store Fiona Paxton more tribal influenced feather torque necklaces. It was exciting to see the evolution of this for SS16, for which Paxton has sensitively combined silver chains and soft leathers in sultry grey tones.
After a quick safari trip via Alex Monroe, we cooed over Douglas Poon’s new bold shapes and styles, a decadent mix of Grey/Green coloured Lucite and marble resin.
Our day finished with a quick stop at the Nailmatic vending machine (a joy for any self-respecting nail art fan) and finally an indulgent make your own hot chocolate to warm us up on a rather rainy day, before heading back on the Eurostar, with tired feet but dreams of the season to come.
EC One the Jewellers have announced the shortlist for their Unsigned competition.
After tough competition on social media the three designers
with the most votes were;
Hoonik Chang, Roxanne Gilbert and Helena Vieira and the wildcard chosen by EC One – Megan Collins.
The four competitors will be invited to show their work to industry experts; John Pearce from Johnny Rocket, Maia Adams – Adorn Insights, Kate Baxter – The Cut and David Webster from Stephen Webster, with the winner announced at EC Ones’ Unsigned party next Wednesday 16th September.
Previous winners of Unsigned include Myia Bonner, Clarice Price-Thomas, Katie Jamieson and Flora Bhattachary. All three have gone on to develop their collections and are stocked at EC One and elsewhere. The prize includes mentoring for a year by Alison and Jos, showcasing their work within the store, as well as manufacturing advice from EC One’s team of Goldsmiths.
The winner of the EC One Unsigned competition will also receive a free place on Getting Started, The Goldsmiths’ Company’s prestigious business short course run in January each year. Held at the state-of-the-art Goldsmiths’ Centre, Getting Started is an intensive week long course designed to help goldsmiths who have graduated in the last five years from a certified UK Precious Metal course, to get to grips with the practicalities of setting up a business, or working as part of a workshop.
We’re delighted to announce this year’s Unsigned Award Top Ten Finalists!
To vote for your favourite jewellery graduate, please click the designer’s photo which will take you through to facebook – here you must click ‘Like’ to have your vote considered!
Unsigned Winner Clarice Price Thomas won in 2011, and spoke to us about her experience with EC One and what she’s been up to since then.
What inspired you to apply for your Unsigned award?
For a long while I knew that I wanted to set up my own business as a jewellery designer and maker however I had no clue how to go about doing it whatsoever! When I heard about Unsigned I thought it sounded like the most perfect way to get guidance and support in setting myself up.
How has your jewellery and style developed since winning the award?
It’s developed a lot I think, especially with my next silver collection which will be out for AW16. Unsigned was great for me in terms of creativity and developing my style as it allowed me to have help with all the admin and business side of things so I quickly learnt how to do those things and get them out of the way. That then freed up my time to spend on designing
Has winning the Unsigned award helped you to get to where you are now?
A million and one ways! Aside from helping me with all the business side of things including pricing, selecting the top pieces for a collection, marketing etc, it gave me a huge amount of confidence and paved the way for me to set out on my own. I really look back at winning Unsigned as the true birth of my business.
Do you have any exciting plans lined up for this year?
Lots of exciting plans! I’m working on my debut fine collection at the moment as well as my AW16 collection. On top of that, I’m busy with bespoke customer orders as well as looking forward to doing my CAD course in October!
Any advice for designers just starting out in the industry?
Gain as much experience as you can! My highlights before setting up my own business were working for other jewellers and learning along the way. I was lucky enough to work for Jessica de Lotz which not only was so much fun but I learnt so much from her. I also think it’s important to learn as much while you can. I’ve recently been investing a lot in my own learning; embarking on a CAD/CAM and a Diamond Grading course. Learning a new skills can push you forward and help you move into new areas.