BAJ Insight: Do you think about how your designs will be repaired?

BAJ Insight: Do you think about how your designs will be repaired?

Join us for our weekly BAJ:Insight on the latest industry trends by Rachael Taylor, a freelance journalist who writes about jewellery for a number of titles, including The Financial Times, The Jewellery Editor and Retail Jeweller. In her 10 years reporting on the industry, she has travelled the globe to visit key industry fairs, descended a Fairtrade gold mine on top of a Peruvian mountain, toured silver jewellery factories in Thailand, and regularly has access to the most sparkling jewels and people in the business.

When creating a piece of jewellery, thoughts of its destruction are far from jewellers’ minds, yet taking repairs into consideration at the early stages of the design process can help build strong, long-lasting relationships with clients.

Jewels break. Fact. And it can happen through no fault of the designer. Sometimes a client can be clumsy or be involved in a trip or a slip that can damage their jewellery, or it could just be age that causes a piece to lose strength. If the jewel has been a significant investment or has particular sentimental meaning, its owner will want to have it repaired, and the disappointment that would be caused if this were not possible could be devastating. Both to the owner of the jewel, and to the future relationship between them and the jeweller.

This week I met with Hoonik Chang, a multi-award winning young jeweller who studied his craft in London. Chang has since moved to Dubai to work with his business partner, and muse, Aisha Baker. The duo has created a jewellery collection together that is showing for one week only at a pop-up shop on Maddox Street in London.

The collection, called Mirror Mirror, is inspired by fairytales and is a riot of colour thanks to a dreamy use of enamel and oversized faceted citrines that sit exaggeratedly high on rings and anchor earrings, as well as sprinkles of small coloured gemstones and diamonds. Subtle design motifs, such as fishes, nod to Chang’s South Korean roots while pyramid-style domes of shimmering mother of pearl acknowledge Baker’s Middle East heritage.

Hoonik Chang and Aisha Baker’s collection – Mirror Mirror

Credit: Yarra Jones

The Mystère

The Majesty Earrings

Another element that defines the collection is Chang’s use of cubes. When he had submitted the finalised CAD drawings to his manufacturer – the highly respected workshop The London Art Works, founded by Hatton Garden master David Marshall – pointed out that the designs, as they were, would be impossible to repair. Had a cube been chipped or damaged, craftspeople would have to use heat to fix it, which would damage the other cubes and discolour the enamel.

The Majesty Ring

The Wild

The Saga

To fix this, they proposed that each cube should be an individual component; a more painstaking manufacturing process, but essential to allowing the designs to become forever pieces that will last. And so the CAD drawing was exploded, and a newer better version of Chang’s vision emerged thanks to this collaboration between designer and manufacturer.

The Alcazar Ring

The Ever After

The Alcazar Bracelet