Bespoke Jewellery Projects
To begin telling the story of my own Engagement Ring, I have to start with a little history about me and my partner. He used to work in the diamond industry. So he had a fair bit of knowledge on diamonds. And I have worked for fine jewellery houses throughout my career. We have had discussions about how we both don’t necessarily value the concept of a pure White clean Diamond. He had once told me this story about a grey diamond they use in the cutting of other diamonds, and how this diamond, with this function, intrigued him more than the ones they were cutting. I loved this story, as I could definitely identify with appreciating a feat of nature more than other people’s ideas of value. (Even though a flawless white diamond is of course a gorgeous feat of nature, I just don’t necessarily believe it is the only version of a diamond with ‘value’)
People attached value to certain things because of so many different factors, belief systems, upbringing, advertising, etc. This is what I find so special in my jewellery practice – finding kindred spirits in my clients who dare to go for something different.
When my partner proposed with a beautiful Grey Diamond on Christmas Eve 2015, I was blown away by this special gesture and symbol of our history and future. We were about to embark on my first ever trip to Australia on Boxing day, two days after he proposed. As a jeweller I was sad that my diamond was going to live in his shirt pocket for the entire four weeks we were going to be on holiday in Australia.
So on Christmas day after Church with my family, my partner and I dashed over to my cousin’s studio (he is also a jeweller) and made a simple little silver ring in the 40*C Mbombela heat. I was so chuffed with my engagement ring, and was staring at it for days. I now had something I could at least show his family when I met most of them for the very first time. When we got back from this holiday in January 2016 and started preparing to make our move to Australia (in March 2016, only 2 months later), I started thinking about how my actual Engagement Ring was going to look like. Can I tell you, it was one of the most difficult things ever – deciding for myself what I was going to get. I did loads of research, changed my mind 40 times, drove my husband and my studio mate mad, but eventually sat myself down with a final drawing and started to get to work on it. I had been inspired by a 17th century Victorian style engagement ring that featured a number of diamonds ‘haphazardly’ clustered together – a big break from the normal conformity’s of cluster jewellery. Little did I know that this inspiration for my own engagement ring would lead, a short few months later, to my whole range and re-launching of Carla Maxine Jewellery in Australia. The result, blew me away, and my partner and I could not be happier.