AG on life and the universe Archives - Andrew Geoghegan

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Looking forward to 2017

andrew_geoghegan_2017

2016 has been an incredible year that we fully intend to capitalise on, with the continued roll-out of the new Andrew Geoghegan brand, some exciting advertising plans and an all new certificate of authenticity to those who buy our jewellery. We’re committed to strengthening our relationship with the retailers who have helped us enjoy this success, giving you more to work with and offering your customers reasons to come back for more.

Our work to establish and build the brand profile continues, and we’re developing beautiful new packaging to reflect our passion for precision and our love of exquisite design. We think customers will love this new touch of luxury, as it continues the story of our pieces – designed, honed, and crafted to perfection.

We want to invite our customers, who are naturally driving our success too, to feel closer to the Andrew Geoghegan brand with a registration portal and certificate of authenticity. This will allow us to nurture the relationships that will help our brand to thrive and grow, welcoming those customers into our world and showing them how much they matter to us. This will set us apart and we hope, truly reward those who wear Andrew Geoghegan jewellery – our best advocates – with a place at the heart of our evolution.

Finally, we’re excited to be advertising in Vogue from January 2017. Not just because Vogue is the ultimate arbiter of style and fashion and we love and swear by it, but because it will drive customers to you, our retailers. We hope then, that we can look forward to, and share with you, a very fruitful 2017.

Andrew Geoghegan Announced as Finalist in Two UK Watch & Jewellery Award 2014

It’s with delight that today I can announce that AG has been named as a finalist in two of the UK Watch & Jewellery Awards 2014 categories. We’ve been shortlisted for both the ‘Designer of the Year’ and the ‘Bridal Collection of the Year’ for the stunning Cannelé range.

This brilliant news comes to you from AG towers, where the team is currently celebrating with a well-deserved cup of tea and pack of fancy biscuits (because nothing says HOORAY like a decent mug of Yorkshire tea).

I’ve worked harder than ever in the past year to continue to build the AG brand into one of true British excellence. I’ve felt a surge of energy and inspiration and hope you would agree that the recent collections are exceptional in design and attention to detail.

For me, it’s all about quality, quality, quality. I’ve sourced some of the very best goldsmiths and setters in the world and together we’re creating incredible pieces, the likes of which have never been seen before

As always, thank you all so much for your continued support of AG – I aim to wow you all with more show-stopping pieces in the very near future.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Andrew.

ANDREW GEOGHEGAN WINS BJA ‘DESIGNER OF THE YEAR’ 2013

WE DID IT!

Andrew Geoghegan, the Yorkshire based jewellery designer and Founder of British fine jewellery design house, AG, has been announced as the winner of the British Jewellers Association (BJA) ‘Designer of the Year’ award 2013.

The announcement came following an awards ceremony in Birmingham last night. Andrew fought off his competition, the very talented Jessica Flinn Designs, Babette Wassermann, Lucy Quartermaine, Deakin and Francis and Charmian Beaton Design to scoop the award. (more…)

Parties, Pearls and Prohibition: The History of the Cocktail Ring.

As you gaze down at your sparkling cocktail ring adorning a finger of your right hand and admire its beauty, it’s unlikely that you’ve ever really considered how the piece came into being or tried to discover the dark yet delectable secrets the cocktail ring holds dear.

A relatively new addition to the jewellery world, the term ‘cocktail ring’ was coined only in the last one hundred years and is closely associated with the era of American prohibition back in the 1920s, when the manufacture and sale of alcohol was strictly prohibited.  With rules meant to be broken, illegal cocktail parties would be held in secret, undercover locations.  Women of the era, enjoying the clandestine nature of such events, would take full opportunity to glam up and embellish their flamboyant outfits with equally grandiose cocktail rings.    The rings became synonymous with the glamour of the woman who would ‘dare to wear’.  Indeed, the larger and more ostentatious the ring, the more on trend the woman was deemed to be.

Once the prohibition was lifted, the cocktail ring remained a fashion accessory and allowed gemstone jewellery to stay popular to the present day.  The cocktail ring was sometimes referred to as the ‘right hand ring’ and its history is closely connected to the rise in women’s rights.  As equality for women in the workplace was encouraged, so women made a point of displaying their own independence and personality.  The cocktail ring would usually be purchased by the woman herself and would be chosen to reflect her own style and character rather than the engagement ring which is traditionally selected and purchased by the woman’s husband to be.  The cocktail ring was designed to be eye catching and to make a statement about the woman’s personality.  And indeed, the woman would have more than one piece so that she could change what she wanted to say about herself on any given occasion.

Feeling passionate and fiery, she would choose the Andrew Geoghegan Celestial Fire; sultry yet sophisticated she would select the Satellite whilst on those days when nothing less than elegant and chic would do, she would pick out the Enchanted.

Celestial Fire

In the forties and fifties, the cocktail rings were the chosen accessories for formal social occasions, such as dinner parties, and they became less associated with a woman’s propensity to attend illicit parties.  Celebrities increased their popularity by wearing cocktail rings to high profile events such as the Oscars and thus their desirability for the everyday woman increased massively.

Enchanted

So as you peruse Andrew Geoghegan’s collection of cocktail rings, take a moment to ponder their rich heritage: the undercover parties which saw women’s right hands sparkling in the face of authority, as they lifted that illegal cocktail to their lips; the rise of the independent woman who wanted to wear a beautiful ring now rather than having to wait for the perfect man to come along and buy her one; and the desire to be like those 1940s starlets and have a little bit of luxury adorning your right hand.

Platinum or white gold for an engagement ring?

This is a question I get asked pretty frequently, and I often see the same question cropping up around the web. I’ll do my best to provide you with the information you need to make an informed choice…

Choosing an engagement ring is one of the most significant purchases that a man will make in his lifetime. It signifies the bond of love and commitment between couples, and as such requires a great deal of consideration. Many couples opt to choose the Engagement ring together, whilst some men bravely make the choice alone, to surprise their future wife. Regardless of who makes the final decision the design and quality of the ring will permanently be on display, so it is important to get it right. Traditionally gold was always the first choice, as it was perceived as classic and timeless, but over the years Platinum has become ever more popular. Ultimately the decision will be based on cost and personal preference, but here’s a few pointers to help you to decide.

Platinum

The qualities of Platinum are certainly impressive. It has a higher percentage purity than gold and is thirty times more rare (which is reflected in the cost). It is an extremely durable and resistant metal and can remain looking like new for years, emphasizing its excellent quality. This durability naturally lends itself to the security of gems. The last thing you want is loose stones or heaven forbid, lost stones! Platinum rings don’t actually lose their weight; wear and tear simply pushes the material around rather than actually removing it from the piece. This means that pieces will retain their material value.

Another important consideration for some is that Platinum is hypoallergenic, due to its 90 to 95 per cent purity. This makes it an excellent choice for those with particularly sensitive skin.

White Gold

Pure Gold is an element, and precious metal that is naturally always yellow in colour. To create white gold, yellow gold is combined with other metals. Gold in its purest form is actually too soft to be used for jewellery. It is combined with such metals as nickel, silver or palladium to make it harder, coloured (if required) and more durable. When you hear someone discussing the carat of gold (9, 14 18 or 22ct) they are referring to the percentage of gold in relation to other metals. 18ct  white gold, for example, is 75 per cent pure gold combined with approximately 15 per cent palladium and some other metals. White gold rings are also coated with another metal called Rhodium – a metal that is similar to platinum, particularly in its colour. The plating makes the white gold appear “whiter” and offers extra durability. However, this plating doesn’t last forever. In fact it’s advisable to have Rhodium plated jewellery, re-plated every 12 to 18 months to keep it looking new. This is something that should probably be considered when looking at the cost difference between white gold and platinum. Generally 18ct golds are hard metals and usually harder than their lower carat cousins. But this does depend on how the piece is produced. 18ct White gold can be an exceptionally hard metal approaching even the toughness of platinum.

Whether you opt for white gold or platinum, if you choose a designer engagement ring from Andrew Geoghegan we’ll provide free servicing to ensure the piece remains as beautiful as the day you chose it.

Shawish to unveil carved diamond ring

Swiss jewellery house Shawish is set to unveil a world first – a diamond ring carved entirely and directly from a chunk of diamond rough, dubbed ‘The World’s First Diamond Ring’.

A special event will take place on April 14 in London, presenting and charting the creation of the ring from original sketches to final design. The ring is unique as it’s composed entirely from a diamond, with the faceted band carved directly into the stone.

London has been selected as the city to present the exclusive invitation-only event at Il Bottaccio, on Grosvenor Place. Brothers Mohamed Shawesh and Majdy Shawesh, who co-serve as the brand’s CEO &
president, are the brains behind the unusual design.

Drawing inspiration from a variety of global cultures, Shawish sees jewellery as a way to “enhance a woman’s femininity and beauty.”

The Shawish flagship store is found in Geneva’s cathedral square.

via ProfessionalJeweller.com.

Now this I am looking forward to seeing. The cost of this must have been spectacular mainly because of the fact that there would have to be a hole (for the finger)! I have a funny feeling that sizing may be a bit of a bugger! Our diamond rings are modest in comparison but if you click unusual engagement rings you will be welcomed by one of the most eclectic collections of diamond rings in the UK.

Faberge Cubed!

Russian high jewellery brand Faberge has unveiled a collection of one-off, couture jewellery designs inspired by Fauvism and Constructivism at BaselWorld 2011. Described as “In tune with the Bauhaus and Cubism, the striking Constructivism capsule collection includes the Dissonance earrings and a chunky white gold bangle with enamel, diamonds and Russian demantoid garnets aquamarines, sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines and beryls. The new designs are said to be inspired by the art of Rodchenko and Popova. Faberge also showed a more organic collection inspired by Fauvism, as part of its wider Les Fabuleuses collection. Les Fauves showed off sparkling couture jewellery, taking inspiration from Russian painting, literature, music and ballet, inspired by the work of Diaghilev – with whom Carl Faberge was acquainted – Stravinsky, Nijinsky, Malevich and Kandinsky and Matisse.It is said that Ballet Russes dancers were regularly gifted Faberge jewellery by admirers, and often danced on stage wearing Faberge diamond-set tiaras. Les Fauves collection is, as a result, a fluid collection taking the colours and shapes of the ballet and artistic movements of the early 1900s.

via ProfessionalJeweller.com.

Like many art students, Cubism and Bauhaus were particular movements that inspired me so these Faberge earrings really caught my eye. Where as there is a trend with jewellery to really emphasise the three dimensional nature of the forms, these pieces reverse that trend. The two dimensional aspect of the earrings are the first thing that hit you – clever and beautifully resolved jewellery!

Roots in Perfection and Love

I thought it may be interesting to let you know a little more about the heart of my company. I can wax lyrical about the designs all day long but what is at the core of Andrew Geoghegan Ltd?

For several years I never really thought about why I do what I do and, if anything, what I was trying to achieve. Then a good friend of mine gave me a book about what makes some companies visionary. The several businesses discussed were the likes of 3M and Ford for examples and the author uncovered a series of similarities in each of these incredible and ‘here to stay’ companies. The most important was a Core Ideology or more specifically core values and purpose. But it was apparent that it was not enough just to have one of these, it was its quality that made the difference:

The ideology had to capture what the company stands for and why it exists. The values must be deep, totally authentic and in no way created just for the sake of the statement. It is not to be confused with operational practises or be compromised for financial gain or short term expediency. The values need no rational or external justification and nor do they change with trends and fashions. They must have a crystal clear simplicity that provides an unequivocal guide. It should contain the fundamental reason for the company’s existence beyond just making money. It should inspire and enthuse……..          is that enough for you?

So armed with this brilliant information I set to work on digging deep within the roots of myself and my company. It was quite an incredible process of upturning old habits and enlightening introspection. And here are the results:

Continuous improvement.
Challenging the individual and requiring their best efforts.
Creating and innovating exquisitely designed and exceptionally crafted jewellery in pursuit of the ‘perfect’ piece.

This short statement took many days of refining and I hope it speaks volumes about why I do what I do. The ‘perfect’ piece phrase is especially important as this sets a pretty much impossible goal which keeps everyone who works with me and my self continually inventing and striving.

Sometime after creating the statement I was discussing it with a friend who also ran a business. When I proudly revealed my statement to him, he paused for a while and asked me was there a further layer beneath the final sentence. I knew that I had peeled off layer after layer to get to it so I replied that there was not. He then suggested that the reason I created jewellery was that people can express their love to each other. I will be totally honest and admit that this never occurred to me – possibly because I have a bit of a hang up with the word love. But on a subconscious level I believe my learned friend had a point. The giving of  engagement rings , wedding rings or even cocktails rings are simply ways of saying ‘I love you’. They are the most emotive and symbolic gifts there are. Maybe I deal with my hang up by immersing myself in an industry based on love.

Armchair psychology aside, creating the statement was a brilliant process and the statement itself is now clear to me, my team and I hope all of my customers.

Everything you need to know about Yellow Diamonds

 


Rarity is one reason for the desirability of yellow diamonds but Tiffany also had a part to play. In 1878, after a year of being studied, a rough yellow diamond was cut under the supervision of a brilliant gemmologist George Kunz. This exquisite stone yielded an impressive 128.51 carat cushion cut and was to be become the emblem of Tiffany & Co. This yellow monster was on display at Tiffany on 5th Avenue for 70 years where it has had millions of admirers. At the time of cutting, Charles Tiffany was unsure of the rarity of the piece as South Africa was producing a healthy measure of yellow stones. But, in the following years, the depth of colour possessed by the emblem stone was confirmed as exceedingly rare and valuable.

So what causes a diamond to be yellow? Here comes the science…

Diamonds are made up of mainly carbon and when one has absolutely no other elements within its structure it possesses no colour and would be graded as a D.

All other diamonds contain other chemical elements, most often nitrogen. Since the nitrogen atoms do not have the same number of electrons as the carbon atoms, they bond with the carbon atoms in such a way that one nitrogen electron remains free. The free electrons are able to partially absorb light, most often the blue and violet wavelengths. The diamond’s yellow colour results from the light that has not been absorbed. The different ways in which the nitrogen atoms are present accounts for the different intensity of yellow within the diamond.

The deeper colours are rarer and thus command high prices.

How are yellow diamonds graded? I am sure you have all heard of white diamonds being referred to as a G VS1 for example. The G stands for the colour. The internationally recognized GIA colour grading scale begins with the letter D (pure white) and ends at letter Z (tinted colour). It is beyond the Z grade that the stone would be referred to as a Fancy Coloured Diamond as opposed to a White Diamond. The lower down you go in the alphabet (so the more yellow you go) the less rare and less expensive the stone is. However after colour Z this is reversed!  The colour range for Fancy Coloured Diamonds includes four colour grades: Fancy Light Yellow, Fancy Yellow, Fancy Intense Yellow, and Fancy Vivid Yellow. The colour known commercially as canary or canary yellow actually refers to the GIA grade of Fancy Vivid Yellow.

Why are most yellow diamonds radiant or cushion cut?

The intensity of the stones can be clearly improved by choosing the most appropriate shape; as a result, the stone’s value will increase accordingly. The Radiant Cut and the Cushion Cut both respond beautifully to large yellow diamonds. The reason for this is that they ‘hold’ the colour well. Experience has shown that a Radiant Cut yellow diamond might be certified as “Fancy Yellow”, whereas the same stone would most probably be certified as only “Fancy Light Yellow” were it to have a round brilliant shape.

The Celebrities. There have been several celebrity yellow diamonds besides the aforementioned Tiffany stone.

The Eureka (Greek for “I‟ve found it!”) is the first recorded diamond to be found in Africa. The pale yellow diamond was found in 1866 by children playing along the Orange River in Hopetown, South Africa. Later, in 1867, the rough 21 carat diamond was officially recorded as the first authenticated diamond discovered in the history of Africa. The diamond was subsequently cut to its current 10.70 ct size and in 1967, a century after its discovery, De Beers bought the diamond and returned it to the African people. The South African government put The Eureka on display at the Kimberley Mine Museum where today it continues to bear witness to the beginnings of the country’s diamond industry.

The Incomparable is the largest faceted yellow diamond in the world. It is flawless and weighs 407.48 ct. It was found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, supposedly by a little girl who was playing on a garbage heap next to a diamond mine. Its colour has been determined by the GIA as Fancy Brown Yellow.

The Kahn Canary is a flawless, rough diamond weighing 4.23 ct. Discovered in 1977 in the state of Arkansas, nick-named “The Natural State”,  this diamond has become the state’s unofficial symbol for its natural uncut triangular form. Former First-Lady Hillary Clinton was allowed to wear the diamond on several ceremonial occasions, including the inauguration of Bill Clinton as the President of the United States of America.

Thanks to Kulsen and Hennig, the coloured diamond specialists.

Pure Gold Genius

  • 26th January 2011 was the date.
  • The Birmingham School of Jewellery was the venue.
  • The speakers were the goldsmithing deity Martyn Pugh and laser welding guru Dr Anne-Marie Carey.
  • The title of the talk was ‘I want one of those in 24ct’.

I can’t remember the last time I went to a lecture and came out of there so inspired and in awe! The genesis of this lecture and it’s title occurred a decade or so ago when one of Martyn Pugh’s customers, on seeing one of his exquisite silver and crystal jugs said, ‘I want one of those in 24ct’.  24ct gold has a beautiful rich colour but is inherently soft. This softness makes it unsuitable for jewellery or tableware but this was all part of the challenge for Pugh. If you haven’t heard of Pugh, you should have! He is prolific British creator of tableware and jewellery and is the winner of several awards and his work is used in 10 Downing Street!

So how do you make 24ct gold tough enough to create a jug with and then pour claret out of? This was the question which Pugh had bouncing around in his head and what followed were groundbreaking in both the end result and processes developed. There is no need to go into too much technical detail here (mainly because it I don’t fully understand it!) but what Martyn had to do was research what micro alloys of gold were available and suitable. A micro alloy is where a tiny amount of another metal is joined with the gold. After many conversations with world leaders in the field of metallurgy and workshop trials involving leading craftspeople, a gold-titanium alloy was chosen. This was 23.9ct pure gold and 0.1ct titanium. On hearing this I first thought that this small amount of titanium could not affect the strength of the gold  – but it does – significantly. This alloy has been used over the past few decades to create jewellery but has not made a huge impact in the industry. Creating the sheets and components of the gold alloy to be worked on was no mean feat and bullion and casting experts were drafted in to figure it all out. Actually the whole project was a successful experiment in pooling the resources and expertise of the best metallurgic/casting/spinning/lasering/goldsmithing minds in the world!

One of the issues that came up when creating the pieces was invisibly joining the sections together – the jug was made up of about half a dozen or so pieces. This is where Dr Anne-Marie Carey came in – the laser wielding welding expert! Countless hours were spent in creating the perfect join which the pieces required. There was no previous research available in the welding of this alloy so Dr Carey had to develop her own. A challenge but highly rewarding.

Believe it or not, one of the most important applications in creating the tableware was good old Brasso! The alloy did not respond well to normal gold polishing methods so Martyn decided to give Brasso a shot and it worked perfectly  – as the image shows!

To those of you who work in metal you may appreciate what Pugh and Carey have achieved here. To sum it up – they have created the first pure (almost!) gold jug and developed the working of a lesser used alloy on a scale never before achieved. Praise be to Oppi Untracht for those who decide to commission the impossible.

In 2008 I returned from a trip to India inspired to use rich gold with platinum in my designs. I heard rumours of these elusive alloys which were hard enough for jewellery but they just remained as rumours. That is until last year when I had the pleasure of chatting with Martyn. It is my desire this year to create some jewellery using this beautiful alloy.  The only thing is that it is bloody hard to produce or source. But, like the Pugh, I will rise to the challenge!

World Gold Council’s six key trends for 2011

Dimiani Rose and White Gold Wedding Rings

The World Gold Council (WGC) has announced six key gold trends for 2011, as seen at Vicenza Fair in Italy last month.

The six trends focus on styles which were popular across gold jewellery at Vicenza, including a focus on gold as a ‘jewel’, delicate gold accents and popular shapes and themes.

Gold – the New Jewel
Gold prices have seen gold accents become a popular way to add a luxurious edge to jewellery designs, with gold becoming a ‘jewel’ to elevate a design. The incorporation of gold into wood or ceramic designs is both eye-catching and modern. Gold chains were nestled amongst silver in designs by SuperOro.

Precious & Delicate
The preciousness of gold was exemplified at Vicenza in delicate and detailed jewellery. High carat, slim chains were shown, combining elegance with classic style. Nanis’ Petites collection presented tiny gold charms on necklaces and rings. Gold detailing had been designed to imitate gemstones, using diamond-cut techniques to catch the light and the eye.

Openwork& Weaving
Expert craftsmanship on show at Vicenza showed how gold electroforming has been taken to a new level. Designers including Tre Spighe and Graziella showed bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings that demonstrated a level of detail in gold jewellery which previously was only possible to achieve through hand-carving. Delicate, spidery, skeletal structures weaved through designs – pieces that expressed the beauty of the gold in the most intricate designs.

Texture & Colour
Hammered, diamond-cut and silk finishes were popular textures, creating much interest. A mix of textures were often combined in one piece to create eye-catching effects. Yellow, white and rose gold were combined by designers including Damiani.

Shapes of the Season
Gold hearts, pebbles, stars, seashells and flowers peppered pieces by Il Giglio, Sade and others. Gold Expressions’ Opulent Organics theme was seen throughout the industry at Vicenza Fair. Smaller details were complemented with bolder shapes alongside organic, free-form designs including corals.

Personal Expression
Expert gold craftsmanship found was shown through a trend for versatile jewellery, such as reversible designs; pieces that work with or without charms or those designed to lengthen or shorten chains. Customisable gold by designers including Neri Romualdo, Chimento and Mattioli offered versatility, modernity and the power of personal expression, something seen last year in the popular bead charm trend.

via  ProfessionalJeweller.com.

Brilliantly detailed trend report by Professional Jeweller – as always they are really helping to support and inform the industry. Trends have never been a huge influence with our work as we concentrate on creating more Timeless than Fashionable. Especially when it comes to our unusual engagement rings.  Saying that, it is good to know that we are on trend with Expert Gold Craftmanship which is something we have shouted about for a long while. The combination of white, yellow and rose gold by Damiani sounds delicious – we have seen an excellent response to Rose gold of late championed by our Celestial Rose Cocktail Ring.

Photo Shoot for the Satellite Cocktail Ring

The studio is booked at Powerhouse Photo – and these guys know how to take a pic! The subjects are two Satellite Cocktail rings! These are our most adventurous cocktail rings to date and we have one with Tourmilated Quartz and another with Fire Opal. I guarantee that these shots will knock you socks off so be prepared….

Image care of www.psychedelicporcupine.co.uk

http://www.andrewgeoghegan.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/earth_moon.jpg

Timeless Royal Style

The Albert Brooch

In 1840, Queen Victoria married her beloved Albert. The engagement ring that he presented to her was a snake with an emerald-set head. The snake was a symbol of eternal love and emerald was her birthstone.

Victoria’s wedding dress was decorated with hand made lace and adorned with a sapphire and diamond brooch, presented to her by Albert, the day before their wedding.

via Lang Antiques.

Now correct me if I am wrong but the Prince Albert Brooch has a very similar styling to the recent Royal Engagement Ring. The choice of a serpentine engagement ring is a trend which has not lasted to this day but was subsequently fashionable in the 19th century.

Sapphires are associated with fidelity and a gift of sapphire suggests trust, honesty and loyalty which is why it is commonly used as a stone for engagement rings. I have heard it said that the blood that runs through the royals is blue so maybe the sapphire is also a symbol of their status and nobility.

Three Inspirations

When I started out my career in the jewellery industry in the late ’90s it was a very different creature to what it is today. The word ‘brand’ was not uttered that much and there seemed to be more of a focus on design and craft quality. In my opinion, a more pleasant and authentic era but one must change with the times mustn’t one?

So there I was with a full head of hair, and under that a sponge like substance which was absorbing every bit of jewellery information available. 23, passionate and hungry! They say that your formative years are the most influential with regards your developing personality. Maybe the same applies to your career in that the initial influences when you start out in your profession become inspirations which are evident throughout.  Three companies and designers are etched in my memory and their work still has a place in my rhodium plated heart:

Henrich and Densel

When I looked closely at the work of Henrich and Denzel, I could not really believe what I was seeing. As a mere jewellery designer fledging, I did not know that this level of quality and precision was possible – it was perfect! To match this precision was a stunning simplicity and balance which all added up to creating pieces that were bloody marvellous! The designs, even though simple, were innovative and not too out-there for my conservative British taste so all-in-all this company were a huge inspiration to me and engrained within me to always strive for better quality.

Paul Spurgeon

A name familiar with many in the jewellery industry and consumers alike is Paul Spurgeon. It seemed that every jewellery retailer I approached was stocking this man – he was everywhere! On more than one occasion potential retailers would tell me that they loved my collection but wouldn’t do business with me as they had just invested in Paul! And good reason. This man has created some iconic designs – he has an incredible skill of  keeping designs wearable and practical yet they posess a sculptural and timeless aspect – no mean feat as any jewellery designer will tell you. His focus on the setting of the gems is something which we both share and his approach to keep reinventing has no doubt spurred me on in my endeavours.

Neissing


You may think that my famous three are a little German heavy when I mention my next inspiration but there is good reason.  I was working in Manchester when I first clasped eyes on the  Neissing’s Tension set ring. I was initially dubious of the strength of the setting but when I actually tried to physically twist a ring I understood that there were some strong German forces at work! As with Henrich and Densel the craft was flawless and the grace of the pieces was undeniable even if some of the pieces got a little heavy for the UK market. An interesting fact is that both Neissing and the late Stephen Kretchmer from the US claim to have invented the Tension Set idea. Kretchmer, who died in 2006, was a brilliant goldsmith and metalurgist even developing ‘levitating’ jewellery using a magnetised platinum alloy. As I have a fascination with innovating settings, the ingenuity of the tension ring was indeed a strong inspiration.

So there you have it – three very important jewellers that have helped me to carve my own path in the industry. There are no doubt many more but it is these that I would like to thank and ask that you keep doing what you are doing.

“Up-cycling” – the new Re-cycling!

Image kindly donated by www.feedthechildren.org.uk

Dower & Hall have unveiled a new “up-cycle” scheme to help transform old gemstone jewellery into affordable, new designs.

Having first designed their Twinkle stack rings twenty years ago, Dower & Hall’s new Sentiment rings have been created “to bring new life to old jewels”, by setting customer’s own diamonds or gemstones into the pre-designed stacking rings.

She added: “We saw a rise in brides coming into our stores with family diamonds that they wanted to use, or they had been proposed to with the grooms family ring, but they felt they needed to add their own style. Sentiment will be a great way to do this.”

via ProfessionalJeweller.com.

Congratulations Dower and Hall – great idea. There must be a huge amount of diamonds and stones which are lying around in unfashionable or damaged jewellery! This clever marketing idea by the Scottish based designers will no doubt do them proud.

A Right Royal Knees-Up!

The ring

Not since 1981, when that fabulous sapphire engagement ring surrounded by diamonds appeared the first time around, has the world been so excited about a royal wedding.  With William and Kate’s announcement of a spring time celebration accompanied by the fabulous news that we all get an official day off to enjoy it, royal wedding fever has enraptured the nation.

Gripped by news stories speculating over the fine details, Andrew Geoghegan Ltd, has been pondering over what would make the perfect royal wedding.  With the UK trying hard to crawl out of the depths of economic recession we doubt William and Kate will go for the pomp and circumstance that regaled the wedding of Charles and Diana back in the eighties.  But we still expect something more than a little bit special to cheer us all up.

We’ll spend time wondering what Kate’s dress will be like; where William will take his friends on the stag do and what jokes Harry will make at his older brother’s expense in the best man’s speech.  But speculate as we may, it’s hard to imagine how this contemporary royal pair will celebrate their union.

We doubt they’ll opt for one of those popular themed occasions which force guest to dress up like Vikings or other historical figures – it just wouldn’t go down well with the Queen and her friends the Heads of State.  We imagine they’ll avoid scenes of faux-fairytales with lots of pink taffeta like those adopted by Katy Price and Posh Spice in celebrity weddings splashed over the front cover of HELLO magazine.

We do imagine that there will be high glamour, exquisite tailoring and some incredibly impressive hats. Like a red carpet occasion, there will be designer outfits galore and plenty of famous faces to spot. And we can only assume that Kate’s huge sapphire will be complemented by something equally as fabulous as she takes the spotlight at as a future Queen of England.

As the crowds delight in watching a new era of royalty take their vows at Westminster, we know guests will be sipping the finest champagne dusted down from the special section of Prince Charles’ cellar and that the canapés served at the wedding breakfast will be much better than those from your average wedding caterer.

With less than an 100 days to go, we know we’ll join the millions of people who’ll gasp in admiration at Katy’s bridal wear on April 29th and feel a sense of national pride as William and Kate become Mr and Mrs King and Queen to be.  But as for the finer details we can only wonder with the rest of the world.  With cameras from all corners of the commonwealth rolling, we know for certain it will be a right royal knees-up!

There’s an interview with the happy couple over on youtube.

Spiritual Designs

After a good few years of enjoying alcohol, partying and all that goes hand in hand with these, I started to feel deeply unsatisfied.  I developed an underlying dislike of who or what I had become. Not entirely because of the relatively hedonistic life style I was leading, but of how much inane chatter was present in my head and how low my confidence was, even though I managed to project confidence externally. After finally admitting this to myself I decided that it was time to have a look at these aspects of my life. During this introspection it transpired that true confidence was something that I desired intensely. I was fed up with the fickle and superficial confidence that I had when drunk or when something in my life had gone the way I wanted it to. So what was the answer, if any?

At this point I was lucky enough to be introduced to meditation. My view, at the time, was that this was an esoteric practise and it appealed to me greatly. Armed with some books, advice and a soft cushion, I delved deeply and whole heartedly into this discipline. My understanding was that by meditating, many benefits could be experienced. The particular ones inspiring to me were: increasing confidence, reducing mental chatter, calming, and any mystical experiences that might come along too!

The initial effects of meditation were exactly as promised in the books. My inane chatter, usually highly critical was starting to lose his voice, friends started to comment on how calm I appeared to be, and I had a deeper understanding of my true nature which in turn increased my confidence. More importantly, I took introspection to heart which has helped to provide me with a growing inner strength for the last 10 years. Along the way Yoga played an incredibly significant part in my life which led me to India learning from the bendiest people I have ever come across! My meditation took me to South Africa and India also, taking part in 10 day silent retreats learning what is called Vipassana. This was the hardest thing I had ever done but I felt like I was taught something almost magical!

More recent events in my life have turned everything upside down again (in a positive way), but I’ll share the details of that with you another time. Coming down to earth a little, it is important to say how all this mumbo jumbo has helped me in my profession. As a jewellery designer creating fine jewellery for over 60 retailers in the UK and Eire, I am quite a busy chap. I am confident in saying that without my alternative interest, my mind would be far too busy to probably even enjoy my job. Even though I have a deep passion for my craft, I also have a healthy detachment from it where I appreciate that the emotions and feelings I experience from and in my business are not me, not permanent and not to be cherished or despised. One intriguing aspect is that when creating my designer engagement rings for example, even though they can take many hours of resolving, testing and adapting, the initial ideas come quite effortlessly. It appears to be less about hard, brow creasing thinking and more about introducing an initial idea and then being receptive. This receptivity allows a flow of ideas and to be honest I am not sure where it comes from…. but I like it!

I can’t believe it’s not butter!

Famous jewellery designer Gurhan ignored the prevailing belief that pure 24 karat gold was too soft, heavy and expensive for jewelry. He studied the craft of the ancient goldsmiths of the Anatolian and Byzantine empires who had been successful in their endeavors to make pure gold jewelry, then refined their methods to develop his now signature technique.

Today his designs are driven by the dictates of the pure metal; every piece must achieve strength, lightness and affordability, as well as beauty in its design. But the warmth and sensuality that is central to pure gold remains at the soul of his pieces and is the first thing that appeals to his devoted followers.

via GURHAN | The Jewelry.

All of the team at Andrew Geoghegan admire greatly what Gurhan has done and Angelina Joley appears to agree, pictured in a pair of Gurhan earrings. There seems to be a wealth of techniques available to us when we start to delve into ancient methods but also, it seems, in mixing with more recent technology.

2 years ago whilst in India, I was inspired to use pure gold but was naturally concerned with the hardness of the metal. Subsequent research has introduced me to the skill of Gurhan but of also the more recent possibility of micro alloys! This is where pure gold is combined with other metals such as titanium thus creating a harder gold. My research carries on and will take me to a lecture in late Jan 2011 by Martyn Pugh. This goldsmithing genius has created an item of table wear from this micro alloy – an incredible feat.

I have designer engagement rings and cocktail rings floating around in my mind just waiting for me to resolve the possibility of using this magnificent metal. I will bring you news as soon as there are developments!

Jeweller designer to the Celebrities

Dramatic jewelry lit up the red carpet at the 2011 Golden Globes  and the most successful looks were truly golden. After years of diamond-intensive bling, this year’s best jewelry styles showed texture and unusual gold work (in addition to diamonds, of course). The trend was best captured by the suites worn by Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, and Jennifer Lopez – all by Lorraine Schwartz.

via Modern Jewelry Trends » Globes Truly Golden.

Now I have to admit my ignorance here and say that I do not know who Lorraine Schwartz is.  Of late I have seen her name linked with a plethora of celebrities and it seems, after a quick bounce around on google, that she has her own celebrity status. I feel this will need a little more research on my part but feel free to send any information. This prolific designer is obviously doing something right and I am keen to learn a little more.  She seems incredibly adept at cocktail rings – which is an area that we at Andrew Geoghegan started to focus on in 2010. I am pleased to say that, although we are nowhere near the dizzy heights of Mrs Schwartz, our Cocktail Rings are being sought, bought and admired – mainly, I am reliably informed, because there is nothing else quite like them!

Business Link put out of business

The government has announced that enterprise advice and support service Business Link will close in November 2011, with its paid advisors replaced by thousands of volunteer mentors.

via ProfessionalJeweller.com.

It is not often that I get inpsired to write anything slightly political but why not start 2011 with something new! Business link have been pretty much instrumental in helping me develop my business including basic funding, expansion funding, mentoring, employment advice etc. It was always good to know that there was always help at hand when the decisions to be made were weighty or a few extra pound notes were available to help move my business to the next level. I can categorically say that without the help I received, the quality of our service and even our engagement rings for example, would not be at the highly refined and developed stage they are.

I sincerely hope that the change in the way Business Link is run continues to support business in the UK. The new title for Business Link is B.I.S. – Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. At first glances it seems geared towards those who are unemployed and wanting to start a business. A worthy cause indeed but many of the existing small businesses in the UK are the backbone of the our economy. I suppose time alone will tell re the effects of the change. Good luck UK business!