Quality

I have just returned from a quick and exhausting trip to Las Vegas, where the world of jewellery just convened for several of North America’s biggest tradeshows.

If you follow my blog, you will also know that I was, of course, going to be looking for some good food, away from the strip. And I found it! I had an amazing Omakaze (the Japanese version of a  tasting menu) at Raku Grill in Chinatown.

I highly recommend you make the trek out to eat here

And I really enjoyed the very relaxed and super delicious raw bar Other Mama

octopus, shrimp and halibut ceviche – very well paired with the crunch of these house-made sweet-potato chips

Oh and I happened to come across a tiny lobster shack, that served sustainable seafood (if, indeed, there is such a thing), and I had to have me some Cape Breton lobster – not the most environmentally friendly thing, but worth it for its weirdness of time and place.

Lobester in Vegas??

But mostly I was walking these shows. I know it sounds like fun and games to go to Vegas, but this was fairly intense. Sadly, I spent almost the entire time indoors in huge air conditioned halls. Only this morning, on departure day, did I catch a few rays pool-side for literally 25minutes, just for good measure. But that’s ok – I was there to learn!

My one glimpse of this hotel from the outside, taken just this morning

Seeing these shows can be overwhelming. Most everything is machine made, and most of this, oversees. In styles that haven’t changed much. Diamond-encrusting is still high on the list.
It can be tough not to loose heart; it certainly made me feel very small!

The Couture show ended in a sparkling awards ceremony, the “Oscars of Jewelry”, here honouring industry great, London’s Stephen Webster, who came in person to accept the award.

Part of these shows present gems and tools, and supplies. I took the opportunity to talk to many packaging suppliers. It was great to see and feel the materials in person. 

I always fall for the food-named colours

Another highlight were of course the rooms full of gem dealers. Some of them literally had piles and piles of gems. One merchant proudly told me he wheeled in 36 sacks full of gems.

cart-loads of gems

I really had a hard time looking at such a plethora of gems; it made me sad, somehow. It also made me realize once gain how hugely the quality varies, and how grateful I am for having a bond of trust with reliable and certified gem merchants Martine and Benedicte of Pierres de Charme. 

This was in Glenn’s booth – a photo of one of is rough stones ‘before and after’ he has applied his craftmanship

One booth stood out in particular; only few gems were on display, but each one was exquisite. As I started talking to the vendor, I quickly realized that the in fact cuts every single one of these gems himself, after carefully choosing the best roughs he can find. Glenn Preus also never uses any kind of treatment on the stones; all colours are absolutely natural – a very rare find. Such stones are, of course, very very much more expensive than those that are cut overseas for volume and price point.

What is it that appeals to one about something that is brought forth from natural material with skill and with tenderness and appreciation, even love? It speaks to us in a different way. I fell in love with these stones, which are simply exquisite. Each have their own expression, and such fire, from each and every facet being placed just so

Really a true pleasure to meet this artist of stone cutting. We formed a bond through our mutual passion hand crafting

I really don’t quite know yet what I can do with these exquisite stones, but I am very excited that, after hours of deliberating, I am bringing them home with me. I will have them with me at shows, and perhaps someone will fall in love with them as I did, and have me set one.

Well, I am writing this on the plane; I will be back in the studio the rest of this week, and the weekend.

My next gig will be the Avondale Sky Ginger Festival June 17th, and then off to Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver. For all my show dates, check my events page, here

Parallels

Maybe it is the brain of the creative that makes metaphors so often. Here is a fresh one just from last night.

I recently started watching a very cool Netflix original documentary series called Abstract: the Art of Design. Definitely worth watching, if you are at all interested in what goes on in the minds and lives of the folks who create a lot of things we tend to not notice as having been created.  That’s a whole other topic!

In the episode I watched last night, featured designer Tinker Hatfield (Nike shoes) talked about his pre-design career as an athlete in pole jumping – how, in that sport, you have to really mean it. There is no room for doubt.

I think it is true in design, definitely. But even more so, in business. I felt an interesting parallel to being an entrepreneur: there come these hurdles, and you have to consider whether or not you are up to it. Without getting too specific, let’s just say that the notion is very familiar to me. For example in bringing a new design to market, which might require the learning of a new technique, sourcing a new material, or purchasing a new piece of equipment.  Or any kind of expansion at all, really.

Decide with full conviction: YES (screen shot from Netflix Original Series “Abstract: the Art of Design”)

You do your training/research, you do some tests, and then you have to just go for it.  You put your whole effort and weight into it, with full conviction that your decision is the right one, and that you can make the mark. You push hard. You remain flexible. You remain elegant. But you push hard.

Go for it
(screen shot from Netflix Original Series “Abstract: the Art of Design”)

Sometimes you make it, and sometimes you don’t. And then you do it again, maybe with a different project, maybe with the same.

I think it is this sense of lack of room for doubt which spoke to me and reminded me so much of what it is like to being an entrepreneur in the arts (so much so, I took these ‘screen shots’ – literally photos of my television screen).  This periodic exertion and complete confidence to take the leap. I think maybe it comes from a mix of being a courageous and daring, and having a slight disregard for the ‘normal’.

Now what could be so bad about that.

Making it  (screen shot from Netflix Original Series “Abstract: the Art of Design”)

The Privilege of creating Custom Rings

I feel so very privileged to, as a goldsmith,  play a part in people’s journeys.

Several times, I have had the honour to create a special ring celebrating a journey with cancer.

I used the client’s own diamonds to make this rebirth ring

When another woman first contacted me, she wrote I have been searching for probably 3 years for a ring design to reset my engagement ring diamond in. I love your rings and feel like they are exactly what I have been looking for. I have been married 24 years and beat cancer (so far) and this design just really seems to represent the journey of life. Crazy. Unique. Unpredictable” . We spent quite a bit of time discussing material and design options via email, before I custom-made her rebirth ring for her.

Three diamonds out of one ring, and into another = rebirth ring

 When she received it, she sent me an email with a photo of the ring on her hand, and the words Mind BLOWN!!! Thank you so so much. I adore it.”

One customer was looking for a ring that would bring to mind Caribbean waters. We were throwing gemstone options back and forth across this vast land of ours via email and telephone calls, before we settled on this:

This Twofooter ring with gorgeous baguette cut Swiss Blue Topaz hit the spot for her

Upon receiving the ring she wrote Thank you again, very much, for creating such a special piece and for all your time and trouble in helping me.  You were more than generous with your time, which I greatly appreciate.  I shall remember our discussions as part of the lovely experience leading up to my receipt of your ring.”

This client brought her granddaughter the day she came to pick up her late father’s now re-imagined diamond ring

I often get to be part of stories of love -such as surprise engagements (I love surprises!), and celebrations of milestones (I recently gave a client a ’35-years-married’ discount, when he ordered a ring for their anniversary – I couldn’t help myself!).

And most recently, a gentleman had placed a special order through one of my representing galleries, whereupon the gallery owner took the trouble to recount this sweet story:

This is the custom-made half-carat certified Canadian diamond 18k gold ring that the gentleman presented

The whole event was wonderful!! They came in the gallery. Very gorgeous couple.  I asked as she was looking at cases, ‘Would you like to make a presentation?’ He was all smiles and agreed. I showed him your beautiful ring in the little pouch. He took it and sighed with pleasure. He turned to her (and almost went down on a knee…more like he bowed his head to her) and handed her the ring.. She gasped with pleasure!! He put it on her finger and it fit perfectly!! They were so, so happy. They went out all cuddly and ecstatic.
Your work was perfect!!!   Thank you, thank you” .

These are just some of the special moments I get to be part of. Every one of these people and their stories touch me, and I make each ring with care for that individual and their journey.  From time to time, each will pop up in my mind, even years later. I am truly grateful for being able to bring people joy with the work I make.

Family rings are also fun to create, like this 18k palladium white gold ring with sapphire, diamond, blue zircon, and alexandrite.  The stones don’t have to be birthstones – they could simply be emblematic of the person

Come see me in Halifax this weekend!

Ah, Spring is finally springing here in Nova Scotia. The sun is a welcome change today to the cold hail showers of only a few days ago. In Halifax, the cool folks know that the surest sign of Spring is the very trendy Halifax Crafters Spring Market, to be held this coming weekend at the Olympic Centre on Cunard at Hunter Street.

Even the market poster was thoughtfully designed by Rob Cameron of Very Satisfied, and locally silkscreened by The Quarrelsome Yeti.

This is my first time exhibiting at this show, and I am excited to be there as a vendor this time. I have always gone and enjoyed this hip and groovy event, and have bought many locally hand made items there. I also enjoy seeing former Haligonians who come from far away to strut their stuff, such as Gillian from Pip Robbins, and Jana from Swainestreet Woodworking. And of course you will find many of my talented local jewellery colleagues there! I think this event is seriously a collection of the finest that is being made here in Halifax, from amazing soaps to awesome apparel and fantastic leather goods.

If you happen to live in this beautiful, late-springing province, I hope you will come out to support us crazy folks who try to make a living by making things by hand. Map and directions can be found by clicking here.  Admission is free, and show hours are

Saturday    May 6 / 10am – 5pm
Sunday       May 7 / 10am – 5pm

I will bring some things with me you won’t see elsewhere, so come on out. See you there!

My lovage survived winter and is coming back. And so are these last few Script rings – on sale!

 

Style Advisor & Custom Onefooter Rings

I was so delighted to have been given a big splash in a recent edition of the Globe & Mail’s Style Advisor, in an article about the jewellery scene in Nova Scotia. It is very nice to receive such acknowledgement, and I am honoured to be mentioned amongst some of the folks who stuck it out here in Nova Scotia. Most jewellers eventually move to bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver, where suppliers and subcontractors are much more easily accessible. You need a diamond for a client in a hurry? Just head on over to Queen Street. Et cetera, et cetera. It does get lonely here in Nova Scotia, but I would never want to leave.

What a surprise to open the glossy magazine of the national newspaper, and find this!

Since the article was published, I have had several inquiries about custom pieces, and so have decided to talk a bit more about this process in the next few posts. I also did something very exciting – I added a ‘create your own estimate’ page, where I have ballpark figures for those wanting to have me create something special in the Onefooter series.

This is a custom Onefooter ring in 18kyg, set with rose-cut sapphire

For example, in order to create the ring pictured here, I worked closely together with the client and her husband. As they live in Halifax, they came in a few times to look at stones. They had the good fortune to come in just as the stone merchant had left – as a result, they had an amazing (and perhaps overwhelming) variety of stones to choose from. Initially we thought it might end up being a red spinel, but in the end, this oval rose-cut sapphire won her heart over.

Choosing a stone that suits the ring and pleases the client.

Here is a series of photos of stone placement options. I had sent it to clients of one of my representing galleries, this one is Seattle, WA, so that they could be involved in the design process.

The differences are subtle; look closely as the possible placement of the stone setting shifts from picture to picture.

If you have been thinking about perhaps having a special ring made, head on over to this new page on my website and play around with some ideas and combinations: www.dorotheerosen.ca/design-your-own-custom-ring/