We are counting our stars with our latest press story from VOGUE.
"Meet the New Generation of Custom Jewelers"
"What to get that one obscenely chic friend who (thinks she) has everything? Try something so special and so exclusive it doesn’t even exist yet. No, not Céline Fall 2016. Custom jewelry. Put aside those antiquated notions of gem-encrusted baubles and the 1 percent: We’re in the age of understatement, of personal-expression-by-piercing, still firmly held in the thrall of the heritage movement. Having something personal beats having something flashy (or, as the kids say, trending) every time. And here to supply the goods is an entire micro-generation of up-and-coming jewelers that have the bandwidth, technique, means, time, and wherewithal to create custom orders at pricing that suits a lot more than the top tax bracket. Plus, customization holds appeal across the board. Truly, what’s better than responding to a compliment of “Oh, I love your earrings—where did you get them?” with a blush, a brief look down, a touch of the ear, and a sighed, “Oh, they’re custom.” Of course, for most houses, it’s not custom, it’s bespoke. Which is a delicate distinction—and a canny one for a jeweler to make. Bespoke suggests something beyond that which is made just once into something made just for you. Unlike tailoring clothes, tailored jewelry focuses less on literal fit and is more about fitting the wearer’s spirit or personality in a more direct and abstract way. It’s ars gratia artis (that’d be: “art for art’s sake”), pure and simple—and, as far as a thoughtful gift, it sure beats the hell out of monogram.
But where to start? It’s best to begin with jewelers that are already invested in some level of variation: creators of charm bracelets, for example, or those who offer obviously hand-hewn pieces. It’s essential to find one whose style speaks to you generally, so that they might design a piece that appeals to you personally. For a fee, Loquet Londonwill take an image of your choosing and turn it into a miniature talisman to place inside the brand’s trademark glass-encased lockets—as was the case with one couple’s dearly departed pet bulldog, whose photo Sheherazade Goldsmith and her business partner, Laura Bailey, made into a precisely rendered gold charm for a lasting tribute that’s as chic as it is sentimental. Want something totally your own? Smaller operations are more willing to entertain custom requests at a not-totally-extravagant or out-of-character price. Frances Strathern, for example, works from tools inherited from her jeweler grandfather, so you could say she takes personalization really rather personally. Her line, Franny E Fine Jewelry, is a sure fit for those who prefer textural idiosyncrasy in their ornaments—and Strathern is always eager to further customize her already unique pieces. Lest you presume that all of this requires heavy footwork, know that, if you’re interested, the whole transaction can take place the modern way—online.
For something more contemporary—without a trip down Fifth Avenue—there’s Bea Millen, a line focused on stones of all sizes, shapes, colors, and range of preciousness. A marquis sapphire ring looks like a family heirloom, a very modern alternative engagement ring, and the character-defining accessory for a Game of Thrones usurper. If you’re deeply invested in the lost arts, consider Polly Wales, a British designer whose custom work is coveted by that Stone Fox type of bride we all wish we were—free, effortlessly chic, and wonderfully imperfect. “We make jewelry that never had a perfect moment,” Wales is proud to say, and her designs look almost earthily medieval in their allure. And then there’s Caroline Ventura and her smash-hit line, BRVTVS, whose in-box is not infrequently flooded with custom requests. “It’s actually quite a large part of my business,” she wrote to Vogue via email. “I don’t typically advertise custom services, but somehow I get a ton of people asking. It ranges from minor tweaks to existing pieces that I have created (like doing something in a different metal or adding an inscription) to creating something completely unique for someone from scratch.” Hopeful boyfriends and winning husbands have sought her out for custom pieces after noting a partner’s devotion to the brand, whose minimal, clean lines, multiple-piercing-friendly earrings, and ability to coax a sense of luxury from a simple strand of gold has made her a shibboleth in downtown cool. Custom work is integral and foundational to her whole business. “Making things that people will cherish forever is the best part about what I do,” says Ventura. “To make something new and special for someone—it keeps me excited.” One can only imagine the possibilities—and, of course, it’s all just an email inquiry away."