What makes someone want to be a jewellery designer and maker? It is the allure of the gems, the creative satisfaction of the design and crafting of the piece, the intangible something where the kernel of an idea becomes the piece that is admired and touched over and over. But it is more than that – an engagement or wedding ring symbolises a promise for eternity, and when a couple asks Jasmine of Jasmine Fraser to design this special piece it is with all the joy and hope that an impending marriage promises. So let’s meet Jasmine – a talented Melbourne jeweller, just waiting to tell you her story…
Designing and making jewellery is a very particular skill. How did you decide that this was your passion?
My family has had a long history in the jewellery industry so I was exposed from a young age, but it was not until I was around 16 years old that I realised that I had an interest in jewellery manufacturing. My Great Grandparents owned a jewellery store and the tradition has continued since then.
How long have you been in the jewellery business?
I started in the industry in 1998 with an apprenticeship and have had my own business since 2006.
Where do you source your gems?
I generally use local merchants as this allows clients to view a variety of gems without making any decisions until they find the perfect one. This also helps support the local jewellery industry.
What process do you go through, to decide which gems to buy – what criteria do you use? Is it important to you to source ethically mined/sourced gems?
As a qualified Gemmologist I will thoroughly look at each individual gem to ensure that it is what the client has requested. All diamonds are conflict free.
Is all your jewellery designed and made in-house by you?
All my pieces are designed in-house with the client and then made on the premises. This ensures that the client receives the perfect piece of jewellery.
Please describe the design process?
Generally I will meet with the client initially to get their ideas on what they might like and discuss the pros and cons, such as manufacturing/durability/cost. From there I would arrange to show them gems to suit and my ideas via sketch or a wax model depending on the design.
How long does it take from initial meeting to finished product?
Turnaround is generally 4-5 weeks but some designs require more time than others.
What should we consider in terms of choosing a quality diamond or gem stone?
High Colour and an Excellent Cut are what I consider the most important factors when purchasing a Diamond. I like to educate the client regarding a gem but ultimately it is their decision on what is important to them.
Previously the wedding ring was often a plain gold band. Do you now see a move to designing a suite of rings for the bride that would include the wedding band and perhaps an eternity ring?
I like to discuss the wedding ring and eternity at the time of designing the engagement ring as you wear them as a set longer, so it is important to also have an idea of what the client might like as their wedding and eternity ring. The trend is definitely more Diamond set wedding rings than the traditional plain gold band.
How important is it to have your wedding ring designed to fit around the shape of the engagement ring?
If your engagement ring requires a wedding ring to fit around it, it is important to get that fit right as otherwise the two rings will rub together and wear down over time. I like to design engagement rings that will allow a straight wedding ring where possible as then you are not restricted on your choice of wedding ring.
Is the groom’s wedding ring also often included in the design process, or does he most often opt for a completely different look?
Some couples like to incorporate a touch of the bride’s ring into the groom’s by matching the colour of metal or shape. There are far more options for the Grooms these days, therefore it is not as common to match them as it was traditionally. Grooms are definitely a little more design conscious now.
Gems come in a variety of colours. What is most popular in terms design – coloured gems playing a secondary role to the main stone or are they valued as the main feature of the ring?
Coloured gemstones can make a big impact as a main diamond, especially if you are not a Diamond girl. I do find that diamonds help enhance a coloured gemstone even if they are only small diamonds. With the Art Deco designs being on trend I have also been making engagement rings that have beautiful coloured gemstones such as Sapphires, Rubies and Emeralds as accent stones.
Are coloured gems more rare than white diamonds or the more common blue sapphires?
There are coloured gemstones such as Alexandrite which are rare like diamonds. Although you can get a variety of shades of colours within one particular gemstone which is unique in itself. When purchasing a coloured gemstone it is a very personal decision not always based on what is considered top quality.
Do you see trends come and go in metals and stones chosen for the engagement and wedding rings?
There are always trends at different times and we are definitely taking a lot of design elements from the 1920-1930’s at the moment. Although the classic designs are fairly consistent, like the 6 Claw Solitaire. Platinum has become more popular over the past few years too.
What other services do you offer?
With all jewellery that I manufacture I provide an Independent Insurance Valuation. Jewellery cleaning and a security check on claws etc is provided as an ongoing service.
Favourite place for a special meal…..
Any good Italian Restaurant…love pasta with a glass of wine.
I would give the gift of…..
Helping finding a cure for cancer. We have lost too many loved ones and continue to watch others fight this awful disease.
Thank you Jasmine for sharing your story. The world of jewellery making is a fascinating one, and don’t these rings just entice you to try them on? To find out more about Jasmine Fraser visit the website.
All images and headshot by Georgia Biggs Photographer.