What jewellery does the jeweller wear ...

When I meet new people and we exchange the question "so what do you do", I always get an "oooo" when I say that "I'm a Jeweller". I am not sure if this is because they imagine me sitting down beading, with my son playing at my feet, making a few bits to sell on a market stall on a Sunday, or if they are genuinely impressed and think I am capable of producing Fabergé egg type pieces! (Please note - there is of course nothing wrong with a Sunday market stall, and alas I can't make Fabergé egg sort of things ... so I must be somewhere in-between!)

 The next thing a person might do is look down to my hands and say "so did you make these rings then?" and it always takes a bit of explaining that as a jeweller and designer, that I like to collect other designers' jewellery, as well as wear a few bits of my own creation.

 A jewellers' jewellery collection.

A jewellers' jewellery collection.

  These are my most important pieces of jewellery -   My engagement and wedding rings.

These are my most important pieces of jewellery - My engagement and wedding rings.

My (now) husband had clear instructions on what ring I wanted and what size I needed ... you know ... just in case - and I did get my wish! My engagement ring of choice was a deliciously delicate James Newman slender eternity ring in yellow gold with diamonds (pictured right). I had always loved this ring since working in jewellery sales and I didn't feel the need for a single solitaire diamond ring (why have one diamond when you can have sixty?!). Anyways it did the trick and we got engaged on a beach in Marlborough, New Zealand.

When it came to choosing my wedding ring I couldn't separate the perfect set of gold diamond rings (pictured left) designed and made by Mirri Damer ... so instead I have two wedding rings (why have one when you can have two?!) and there is plenty of space for more rings on this finger **hint hint husband**!

"Why buy some when you can make your own" is another question I'm often asked by friends. I could have made my own, but I also have great admiration fo these jewellers and their work. In the case of James Newman and Mirri Damer I love their jewellery, just as much as their attitude to creating designs! Their creations are honest to their own philosophies, tastes and style of working, which makes me love these rings even more! I also don't have to spend the rest of my days worrying that I could have made them differently, or better!

 Sophia Hargreaves Jewellery, Polkis Laborodite ring (pictured left) and Snake ring (pictured right).

Sophia Hargreaves Jewellery, Polkis Laborodite ring (pictured left) and Snake ring (pictured right).

I love rings! So I also wear one of my snake rings (available HERE), which I need to upgrade to a gold one (when I get chance), and I also switch between one of my Polkis rings (available HERE) in labrodite and one in red agate. 

I wear my rings all the time, but I should wear more jewellery, more often seeing as it's what I do and I should be my own billboard! I guess it comes down to practicalities - as well as working in a dirty workshop, on my own! I have a son and a dog, and the duties that come along with both of these don't warrant wearing my treasure box beauties every day unfortunately!

  Sophia Hargreaves Jewellery, bespoke black/gold Athena necklace (pictured left) and Athena Silver Pendant (pictured right).

Sophia Hargreaves Jewellery, bespoke black/gold Athena necklace (pictured left) and Athena Silver Pendant (pictured right).

When I do get chance to brush my hair and put a nice top on I wear these necklaces. These are from my Athena collection, a long silver pendant (available HERE), which looks ace with anything and an adaptation on another Athena piece (similar available HERE) which I love in subtle black and gold.  

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The above necklace is another Mirri Damer piece. A short double chain necklace with a gold plated central ring and oxidised chain - it looks lovely on and quickly became a favourite of mine.

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Finally I wear this necklace the most. It's from Marrakech, made in the back room of a backstreet jeweller completely by hand and I love its roughness and its ability to look good with just about anything.

So as well as making lots of lovely new pieces of treasure myself, based on the things I would want to wear, I would like just one piece of Ruth Tomlinson's jewellery, she is my jeweller idol! I love her work, her style, and just everything about her pieces (my husband is well aware of this too!).

 Sapphire encrusted ring by Ruth Tomlinson.....yum!  

Sapphire encrusted ring by Ruth Tomlinson.....yum!  

So tell me what are your favourite pieces of jewellery? What are their stories and why do you love them so much? Did any my pieces make it in to your own jewellery collection? I would love to hear from you if they did. It's always so lovely to know the onward journey of my SHJ's pieces. Happy to share? Please do get in touch with me HERE.

Re-invent your heirlooms, without losing their sentimental value. ​

Do you have a little stash of Granny's old gold jewellery tucked away in a drawer? If it's anything like the jewellery I get to see at my bench on a regular basis, it will either be a bit worn, it doesn't fit you, it isn't your style or it is simply in need of a bit of love and attention.

Working in collaboration with my customers, I feel that I can work my magic with these hidden gems. I believe that jewellery should be worn and not hidden away, so this blog post is an insight in to that very process. 

I wanted to share a commission that I worked on, not so long ago. This customer had that 'said stash' and I wanted to show my readers that you really can re-invent your heirlooms without losing their sentimental value. 

 Inherited gold jewellery to re-invent

Inherited gold jewellery to re-invent

With this particular stash, Granny had passed down a lovely yellow gold ruby ring, along with lots of other pieces of gold jewellery. 

It was clear to me from the outset that the rubies wouldn't survive being re-set, so I knew I needed to work around this issue. The band on the ruby ring was in need of some attention. To re-invent the ruby ring, we used the head of the ring and added a new yellow gold band wider then the old traditional one and made using the other gold that we had refined (melted down and made in to workable bullion).

 The head of the ruby and diamond ring with the re-refined gold

The head of the ruby and diamond ring with the re-refined gold

With the rest of the gold we melted it down, took all the alloys out getting it back to raw gold and re-alloyed it to make rose gold. With these 'new' materials we made two contoured rings that sat perfectly with the new improved ruby ring. 

 New and improved Ruby ring accompanied by two rose gold contoured bands.  

New and improved Ruby ring accompanied by two rose gold contoured bands.  

Granny's gold became very wearable and practical again and as a gorgeous finishing touch, the customer decided to have each band engraved, with the names of her loved ones on them. I'm happy to say that my customer was delighted! 

 The finished piece, recycled, re-used and re-freshed gold Ruby and diamond rings. 

The finished piece, recycled, re-used and re-freshed gold Ruby and diamond rings. 

The small print - a few things to know before going ahead:

A common misconception about using your own gold and diamonds to make something new, is that it is guaranteed to be more cost efficient than buying something new. Depending on the design it may well be, but you should always be aware that this may not necessarily be the case and there are often risks involved.

Some of the processes used to transform old jewellery into new can be complicated, time consuming and costly. Diamonds can break and using old gold some in different qualities, so unfortunately it's not usually as simple as putting everything into one big pot to make something new. Ensure that you ask all the questions that are on your mind before work begins so that you feel confident with the jewellery you are trusting your precious jewellery with.

Our tips:

  • be open, flexible and honest with the jeweller you are working with
  • make a realistic budget for you (and them) to undertake the work
  • be aware that most jewellers will take a deposit before undertaking bespoke commission work
  • believe in the fact you're creating a new heirloom to pass down 

I'm confident that I can transform your heirlooms and I'd be happy to hear from you if you have stash, a commission idea or just simply want to see what's possible, please do get in touch with me: HERE.

Scrap my gold , stash it or start again......?

Over the last couple of years I have had an increasing amount of customers come to me with a stash of old jewellery, wanting to up- cycle it in to something fab and new (and something that fits!) 

Depending on the stash, it can be relatively easy to create something modern, wearable and new from Granny's much loved and well worn treasure. 

This customer came to me with a necklace she had inherited and an idea of what she wanted it to be made into - a simple double hoop necklace. 

 

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The original necklace was a heavy and bulky gold pendant on a thick chain with a couple of really good quality diamonds and a generous weight of gold......perfect.  

So I agreed a design with the customer and then set about turning the gold into workable bullion.

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In this case I sent the gold off to my refiner who magically turned it into a perfect piece of gold wire and some gold tube. 

First I worked the gold wire in to the hoops and the tube in to two settings for the beautiful diamonds, joined the two interlinking hoops, then added a delicate but sturdy gold chain. 

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Once the two settings were secured in to the hoops I attached the chain and polished the pendant, the last step is to set the diamonds. These diamonds were a high quality 'Brilliant' cut and had little wear so were perfect for re-setting. 

Et Voila! A bespoke necklace is born from Granny's old gold and diamonds! Hopefully it is also a bit more pass-on-able when the kids grow up (well here's hoping anyways or I wouldn't have done my job very well!) 

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So, stash it till it comes back in to fashion.....start again make something new from it and show it off.....or scrap it and take a holiday! I know what I would do! 

If you have your own stash or an idea for a bespoke piece, please do get in touch, this is what I love to do. Email me here.