The more the merrier!  
Power in numbers!  
Three’s a crowd but more is a party!
What I’m getting at here, is that sometimes one just isn’t enough.  It is, after all, the loneliest number.  So unless you are a hobbit (hehe), perhaps your one ring could use some company.  To prove that point, we had another stacking ring workshop in the studio yesterday.  The ladies, Kristina and Kim, were very worthy goldsmiths-in-training.
Here they are hard at work:

Here is amazing result of all their benchwork:

If you can’t make it in for a workshop, never fear!  We have a great selection of stacking rings, already made just for you.  Take a look:
Rings by Carolyn Cathcart of Cathcart Designs

 Rings by Gillian Batcher of PASH Jewellery Design
Rings by Lauren Hanham of Lauren Hanham Jewellery Designs
 Rings by Sasha Oda of Archerade
*Please excuse my manicure – the nails of goldsmiths never last that long!
Have a great week!

More Work from Cathcart Designs

Hello folks,

Cathcart here. I know you’ve missed me since my first post. So to help with that I have stocked my pod up here with some fresh pieces to help you all in your early Christmas shopping. You somewhat late to the gate shoppers need not fear. On December 13th Jewel Envy is having a holiday party where you can get your jewellery fix at a 10% discount to boot! One day only! Just makes you drool with excitement doesn’t it? The shindig kicks off at 5pm! Be there!

Tension – Cathcart Designs

One Year Later….A look back at renovating 151 Marion St

November 16th was the one year anniversary of Jewel Envy’s relocation to 151 Marion St. It has been a busy and wonderful year but getting here was not easy. This is the long awaited blog entry detailing the epic journey of the retail and studio space (two of the four floors)!

This is first image I have of the house. You may wonder why I am so close to the house and why I took a shot that was clearly blocked by trees. Well I had to stand this close to avoid getting the weeds in the viewfinder and it was the only way to see the house.

The place was used as a rooming house with each floor having a kitchen and washroom and a variety of tenants. The owner bred dogs and yes you could smell them before seeing them. Many of the issues were cosmetic and aromatic, but overall the structure was good. I consulted with three structural engineers, electricians, plumbers, HVAC installers, general contractors, and pest control to make sure I wasn’t buying an infested house. Most pre-purchase inspectors wore a respirator once inside and commented on this being a disaster home but a good buy for the right price. I knew from the start I would be gutting the ground floor and basement to open up the space, while trying to preserve some of the old charm as the house was built in 1904 and had some lovely features.

These next few pictures show the cleaned up exterior of the house. We had to remove the fences around the front yard, some of the trees and the three foot high weeds got trampled during demolition.

This area had a collapsed back deck and was home to weeds and waste. There were also some foundation issues causing leaking in the basement.
There was a giant crack in the side of the building filled with caulking, the window sills were cracked and a ready to fall apart.
The roof was also leaking.
This is the side view after clean up and restoration but before painting.

Now these views look like this:

Next we have some pictures from inside the house before the demolition. Most people thought I was crazy but I could see past what was here and imagine what could and would be here.

The entire basement was full of pallets of Russian teapots for sale, wedding dresses, and various other random items like hot plates and 90’s boom boxes. A path had to be cleared to walk through it to view the space.

It is kind of hard to understand how the space looks from images so next up is the ground floor floor-plan and a few of the variations I designed along the way. I made lots of structural changes and some walls were removed while others were built.

By the last floor plan you can see how I managed to fit in everything I wanted with room to play around in the retail. I measured everything hundreds of times and tried repeatedly to explain to contractors that when they changed the plans by an 1″ it changed everything for me. I may have gone through about 50 versions of these plans before I settled on the final layout.

The day I got the keys we had a little ceremonial breaking of the wall with a sledgehammer, hard hats, and some heals (heals never to be allowed on site during the renovation again).

I was at the renovation every day and part of every decision but I couldn’t have done it without the great team keeping the old space on Spadina going while I was away. Alexis was there to help, as she always is, every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for a better manager or friend!

Next I will include some before and after shots so it easier to make sense of the transformation.

Walking into Jewel Envy there is no longer a fireplace on the west wall.

Oddly enough the east wall also had a fireplace that had to be removed.
The floors and trim are all original. We recycled wood from areas that were removed to preserve the historical elegance.
This is the view looking out onto Marion St.

The center wall was removed and posts and beams were put in so that 90% of the ground floor could be opened up for the best use of the space.

This is the view looking past the retail into the studio.

As a side note there are ten workbenches in the space, each with flex shaft, light, and torch. Having natural gas to the house allowed me to set up a wonderful system with torches upstairs and casting downstairs. I use oxygen generators at each station so this system is very safe!

This was once the ground floor kitchen and is now another workspace.

Next up the basement.

This area became the washroom, home to the draw bench, and one of the studio wash up sinks as well as various other pieces of equipment.

We removed the closet behind the bin and opened up the space to become our polishing area.

There was a little asbestos surprise at some point along the way. But after the men in hazmat suits came in and cleared the way we were good to keep working on the area that houses our burn out kiln, enamelling kilns, and casting area.

This post became part of the wall opposite the kilns.

This is now a clean space for enamelling.

 And on the other side of the wall is a clean kitchen with a computer and couch for work and relaxation!

Where the sink is sitting there use to be a non-functioning bathroom raised on a concrete platform.

There are still a few landscaping things I have planned and of course I am always buying equipment so I guess it will always be a work in progress. Looking back over what has been done I am very proud of this endeavor. I can say this is exactly where I wanted to be at this stage in my career and I look forward to many more years in this location working with the wonderful artists who are a part of the space.

I encourage you to stop in anytime for a tour of the studio and a look and what our incredibly talented jewellers do here.


Au Naturel

I love the style of uncut and included gemstones.  The organic and natural beauty appeals to my esthetic, and the rough texture of the stones is such a wonderful contrast with the fine craftsmanship.
Some eye-candy, for your Sunday inspiration:
 Band rings by Polly Ware.

Engagement rings by Diamond in the Rough

 Rings by Todd Reed

Movember at Jewel Envy

Happy Movember to you all!

Here at Jewel Envy, we love to support charitable causes, and our own Amanda Henderson of Jewelust is a big supporter of Movember. For those of you that don’t know what Movember is- it is a a charitable organization that raises money for men’s cancers, with an emphasis on prostate cancer research and support. The money is raised by challenging men to grow a mustache (mustache only- beards don’t count!) for the month of November. (Get it- MOvember!)

Amanda participates in Movember by wearing mustache septum rings that she designs and creates. She also makes mustache-themed jewellery, and donates a portion of all sale, all year-round. So, come on in to Jewel Envy and take a look at her newest mustache-themed jewellery, and feel good knowing that you are supporting prostate cancer research and support!

Amanda sporting her favourite silver and CZ ‘stache.

The Next Jewellery Social!

The Jewellery Social was originally an event created to get the jewellers in Toronto all excited about SNAG the jewellery conference that took place in May of 2013. It was an effective way to get us together and acting as a group to help put on this extensive conference but post SNAG it did not seem to have a purpose anymore. 
It took a few months but we realized it was an event the jewellery community was crying out for so we made some tweaks to the format and relaunched it at Jewel Envy in October. 
This new format has rotating venues and themes to make it exciting and inclusive to jewellers, students, industry suppliers and jewellery lovers alike. 

For the next little while it will be four times a year but maybe will become a monthly fixture again in the future. We have big plans for this little event so be sure to sign up for the emails here. or ask to join the Jewellery Social -Toronto group on Facebook

The next social is called “SHOP Studio” which is an art jewellery
show and sale. This event will represent the work of six artists including Ivanne
Binetruy, Shao-Pin Chu, Charles Funnell, Emily Gill, Heba Kandil and Elizabete

The opening reception will be on Saturday, December 7th, from
6pm to 10pm.
What is really exciting about this event is the artist’s talk
with Charles Funnell at 7pm so be sure to drop in early so you do not miss

The exhibition will run from the opening date until December
Location: Shao Design Studio, 35 Golden Avenue, Toronto. (416)777-1313. 

Please call Shao Design Studio for opening hours during the scheduled

A Bead of Appreciation

Sometimes when I tell people I make jewellery I get this response:

“Oh, so you like bead and whatever?”
It’s a strange attitude I come across every once and awhile that beaded jewellery is somehow…unimpressive. Typically no, that’s not what I do. Even though it’s how I started out making jewellery (that and embroidery floss knotted friendship bracelets) I actually find it more difficult to incorporate beads into the current style of jewellery that I make than ever before. I personally think it takes talent to find a way to include beads in finer and contemporary jewellery not to mention the skills required to make intricate beaded jewellery.
I walk into a jeweller’s supply store and stare at the walls of gems and beautiful glass on strings and I can feel my pupils dilate. PREETTYYYY!!!! But I can rarely figure out what to do with them. On my latest trip to one of these stores I came across these beautiful agate beads. Their pattern and texture was so unique I wanted to buy them just to put in a glass jar. I thought to myself, no, make something! Conquer this stigma you’ve made up in your brain that you can’t use beads and just make something cool. So, I made this neck piece using pieces from my Bed of Bones collection. 
Lauren Hanham

Here are a few more images of some awesome pieces that incorporate beading.

Ulli Kaiser
Myung Urso

Alexis Kostuk

Gillian Batcher

Loretta Lam

Maybe now that I’ve broken the ice between myself and beads I’ll be able to actually use the reserves I’ve got stashed away. Here goes nothing!

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