Here at EC One we love to showcase independent jewellery designers. The unique handmade jewellery by Michelle Tuck is featured this month because we love her pendants and bracelets that ooze individuality and creativity.
Each of her stunning pendants has a personalised element that make them a perfect gift choice. Choose from delicately crafted tokens adorned with both motifs and words that can be customised to suit the wearer.
Inspired by the enchanting qualities of the natural world and her time spent travelling, Michelle’s jewellery has a wonderful ‘found’ feel. Add pretty cabochon gemstones to the mix and her jewellery takes on an ethereal look that can be worn every day. Whether you choose a combination of charms to signify adventure, exploration and wanderlust or simply love and happiness, the sentiment and attention to detail in each piece will be a welcomed gift or a perfect treat.
We have taken a moment to speak to Michelle about the jewellery she has created and to explore the inspiration and ideas behind her work.
What inspires you?
As society increasingly views objects as disposable, and we discard our possessions from one season to the next, I wanted to create something with meaning. Something that has emotional and spiritual content. I wanted to create not just beautiful ephemeral objects, but lasting treasures that connect us with ourselves and each other, tools to communicate our feelings and celebrate our successes, our loves and even commemorate and remember our loses.
I wanted to offer something that both looks like it has history, in terms of it’s aesthetic, and something that with time and the memories attached develops a meaningful personal history for both the wearer and possibly future generations. It would be my dearest wish for my pieces to develop a sentimental value that far eclipses its material value.
What are your influences?
I love objects where you can see the hand of the maker. Objects with depth and soul. I find high polish, super-modern, glossy things to be lifeless. As with humans, it’s the little imperfections that make us beautiful. My current collection of talismans and lucky charms, my ‘Amulets and Artefacts’ collection, is inspired by ancient coins, both their soft worn details and marks left over time, as well as the uneven edges created by millennia old minting processes.
Which gemstones do you covet?
My love of gemstones echo’s my appreciation of the imperfect. I love stones that have inclusions. I find a perfectly clear flawless stone looks unreal. The bigger the stone the more I enjoy the inclusions. Some of my favourite stones are tourmalines, and I really love a rustic rosecut diamond. But two stones I repeatedly choose for myself are moonstone and labradorite, I just love their mystical quality, their iridescence and the way they glow from within.
Ruby July Birthstone
So since July’s birthstone is Ruby it gives us a great excuse to explain a little bit about this beautiful gem.
First of all a little bit of geology and then some of our current favourites….
I hope you enjoy
When it is totally pure, the mineral Corundum is colourless. It’s the trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure that give it colour. Ruby’s distinctive red and pink shades are caused by the trace element Chromium.
Ruby is the most valuable variety of the Corundum mineral family, which also includes Sapphire.
The strength and intensity of the Ruby is determined by how much Chromium is present. The more there is, the stronger the colour. Chromium can also cause fluorescence, which adds to the intensity of the red colour. Some of the most famous Rubies have come from Myanmar (previously Burma), the Himalayas and northern Vietnam. These Rubies are generally formed in Marble which is a metamorphic rock created under heat and pressure acting on limestone.
Because of Marble’s low iron content the Rubies formed within it lack iron, giving them their very beautiful and desirable intense red colour known as ‘Pigeon Blood’. These Rubies command the highest price per carat of any coloured gemstone.
And now for some of our current favourite pieces with Rubies…
It’s that time of year when under one guise or another we’re pretty much all going to at last one wedding.
So I thought it would be helpful to give you a few ideas of which pieces of jewellery might suit you or make that perfect gift. I hope you like them.
For the Bride…
For the Bridesmaid…
For The Guest…
How to clean your jewellery (and show it a little love).
Just like your car needs an annual service and your shoes need re-heeling, so jewellery needs a little care and attention too sometimes.
So with that in mind here are a few tips for keeping your jewels sparkly.
With silver, gold and platinum jewellery you can use a soft toothbrush, lukewarm water and some washing up liquid to take away any residues of, for example, hand cream, soap and everyday dirt.
Always store each item individually in the packaging it came in or a jewellery box, to reduce tarnishing or the chance of chains tangling.
Check your jewellery regularly for any wear and tear – check necklace clasps are still secure and so are any stones which are set in rings or pendants.
Some words of warning…
Don’t expose your jewellery to any chemicals such as household cleaners and perfumes as these could cause damage and discolouration to the surface of your jewellery (that means ‘no’ to cleaning any of your jewellery with vinegar, gin and coca cola!)
Don’t wear your jewellery during activities such as exercising or gardening to avoid knocking or scratching.
Avoid any prolonged contact with hard or abrasive surfaces.
Avoid carrying heavy bags when wearing delicate rings or bracelets as these can cause damage or misshapen your jewellery.
Don’t swim in jewellery whenever possible. Pool chemicals are not good for gold plating and because water makes our fingers smaller it’s possible for rings to slip off altogether.
It may not have crossed you mind but…
If you wear rings on both hands beware of clapping (!). We don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm but if you are hitting metal against metal it may damage your rings and if you have stones set all around it there is a chance they may become chipped. So next time you are applauding just make sure your rings clap your hands, not one another!
The key thing to remember is that your jewellery is precious to you and so whether it’s an expensive item or not, spare it a thought and it’ll look lovelier for longer!
If you would like a little more information about specific metal finishes and stones, please click here.
But if in doubt you can always drop us an email, we’re always happy to help!
We seemed to have jumped straight from winter to summer weather, but officially it’s Spring, which can only mean one thing:
it’s time for our annual Jewellery Spring Clean!
It’s very simple, before the 31st May 2016, just drop in up to six pieces of jewellery from EC One and we will give them a free clean and polish. When it’s all done and looking fabulous we’ll give you a call and you can pop into our Clerkenwell store to pick them up.
While you’re rummaging in your jewellery box, if you come across that piece of jewellery you have been thinking about getting re-modelled for ages, feel free to bring it in too. We’d love to chat to you about your ideas and what may be possible.
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!
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