I don’t know if it would occur to me to commission an item of jewellery if I didn’t do what I do for a living. I thought you might be interested in finding out why people commission items of jewellery and maybe I'll inspire you to instruct your very own one off item to treasure.
This ring was designed for a wedding in Granada and was inspired by travel and pomegranates.
There isn’t a certain type of person who commissions an item of jewellery. It’s not something that’s only an option for very wealthy people. It’s not a certain age group. It’s hard to define a certain type of person but I’d say the one thing they all have in common is that they want something that has special meaning and that is different to anything they’ve seen before.
People commission jewellery as gifts for others as well as special treats for themselves. Sometimes people say they have been searching for years for something they’ve always wanted but have never found and sometimes it’s for a special occasion that they want to celebrate with something they can keep forever.
A thistle brooch made as a gift for a Highland dancing teacher from her pupil.
Every commission I do is different. I don’t have a formula that I push every client through. I listen to what the person wants and understand what they need, which isn’t always the same thing and I find a solution that’s right for them. As each commission follows its own unique path it's a really fun experience. It’s a one off connection I have with that person and the designs are more varied because I am open to allowing it to be different each time. I enjoy the challenge of taking a step into the unknown, knowing it will take me somewhere I've never been before. I think that’s part of the reason that I’ve created so many different designs.
Three rings made for three sisters inspired by mountains and stars.
I have to have a vast library of ideas to pull on in order to navigate on this journey. I try to read lots of different books, fiction and non fiction, I visit galleries, I store away anything that interests me, not knowing when or where I might use it. I've developed a habit of imagining everything I see in metal. I think, “what would that poem look like if it was a ring? How can I make yoga into a necklace?” The more unlikely the idea is to work as an item of jewellery, the more my mind is excited by the challenge. I also find juxtaposing conflicting ideas together very inspiring. So what would it be like to go through the commission process with me? Well, you’d tell me what you were thinking, no matter how vague or specific your ideas. I’d ask for more information if I sensed something was missing that I needed. How I know when this is the case, I don’t know but I seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to this. Sometimes I’ll see in my mind’s eye immediately an idea that I’ll present to you. Sometimes I'll have to research the subject deeper. Once I have a feeling that I have the right idea, I will communicate it to you. At first it might be a verbal description that I’ll use as feedback from you to determine if I’m on the right track. Sometimes I’ll draw down the idea. Sometimes, I’ll make a sample in metal or another material. At this point, I’ll review the idea with you and we can finalise the design.
A rough sketch sent to a customer for approval for three friendship pendants
I like to show customers the item of jewellery at different stages of the process because that way they come on the journey with me and they get control over where it goes. It makes it much more special to see the piece as it is made because you know for sure that it really has been made for you and isn't something mass produced that is claiming to be a one off. Knowing that an item of jewellery has been lovingly crafted for you rather than mass produced for profit gives it a special energy. Knowing you are employing a craftsperson instead of a machine helps to make the world a better place.
My job isn’t just to design and make the item of jewellery. It’s to understand clearly the feeling that the customer wants to create and the message they want the item to convey. It’s to present these ideas in a surprising and new way that the customer really connects with.
It’s a wonderful job. You can read in detail the process of specific commissions on my blog. I add new blogs about commissions as they happen so keep checking back to see the latest ones.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. If you’d like to commission your own item of unique jewellery and experience your own journey, contact Christine on firstname.lastname@example.org