I am Jerell, I have been fascinated with jewellery from a young age, 4 or 5.

Looking through my Mom’s jewellery box I would find her good jewellery and a pile of broken and discarded items.

I was amazed that items made of gold would be discarded.  It was usually chains that were tangled or were missing parts.

Even though I was a lively, energetic child, I still had the patience and the eyes for being able to detangle the chains.

Family have so many traditions and memories around jewellery.

For me jewellery was a right of passage.  Getting my first little gold ring with a turquoise at 7, a watch at 8,  charm bracelet at 10.  And then, charms through out my life ( when charm bracelets are in style I would add charms).

Growing up I watched my Mom get jewellery for special occasions, and sometimes just because.  The gift and occasions become memories for the entire family.

My sisters and I remember my Mom getting a new ring from the jewellery store in the Banff Springs Hotel.  We were out skating and when we came in we saw this beautiful Lapponia ring that my father got my Mom.  Just because..

As the years progressed, my father added to her collection of Lapponia.  Birks carried the line for many years.

Fast forward 30 years.  I was in Jewellery School and joined the Metal Arts Guild of Canada, I saw an exhibition that the group was putting on.

It was an exhibition of works that were inspired by the sculpture Björn Weckström’s. from Iceland – Lapland.   Bjorn Weckstrom was Lapponia principle designer.

His gold work represented the rough gold nuggets found in Iceland.  These look pretty similar to gold nuggets found in Northern Alberta during the goldrush.

The silver work is inspired by the vast winter landscape and the snow drifts.  It has a frosting achieved through depletion building.  Removing the copper content from Sterling silver, gives the metal a very white, frosted coating.
Image result for snow drifts in iceland

Photo from Fire and Ice Helicopter Tours of Iceland.

Lapponia and Star Wars

Planetoid Valleys necklace by Lapponia Jewelry.  Photo © Lucasfilm Ltd

The secret to Jewellery Success!

The secret to Jewellery Success!

One jeweller-many roles!

When becoming a jewellery designer one imagines sitting quietly in your very own studio sketching ideas followed by bringing your sketches to life effortlessly after which your adoring (and wealthy!) customers flock to you to buy every piece as soon as you make them.

The reality–as always–is different than the dream.  A successful jeweller wears many hats: designer; maker; bench jeweller for others; jewellery repair-person; wedding-band maker…in short, a  jack-of-a-trades.

It is hard to get the balance right but when you do–success!  As a resident goldsmith of Jewel Envy, I have been very fortunate to learn this by watching one of our successful goldsmiths, Amanda Henderson, in action.

Amanda fits the formula for successful jeweller to a T: she designs and manufactures for a friend’s jewellery business, she teaches, she does custom work, and she designs and makes jewellery for her two, yes, you read that right, TWO jewellery lines: Jewelust and Fandom Regalia (with her art partner Zsolt Szekely).

In her latest work Amanda has, “embraced her inner (or maybe outer) geek,” in her Elf Deco line.

Elf Deco Necklace in Sterling silver by Jewelust

Elf Deco Earrings in Sterling silver by Jewelust

If you are interested in seeing Amanda’s work in person you can find her work at Jewel Envy, 151 Marion  Street, Toronto, or at one of the many shows she does.  She will be exhibiting (and selling) at two shows this summer at Wychwood barns, 601 Christie St, July 22 + Aug 19, 8am-2pm.

I don’t know how Amanda does it, but she does, and it is a joy to witness!


Artist Spotlight on Micheline Roi

As luck would have it, today’s jewel envy artist spotlight will be written by the artist herself, moi Micheline Roi!

It’s a great opportunity to let you know what extra curricular jewellery activity I’ve been up to.  Aside from my custom jewellery work and my production line, one of my loves is art jewellery.

What is art jewellery you ask?  Well, in short, it is jewellery that focuses on creative expression over all else. Using traditional and experimental metalsmithing techniques–and often borrowing heavily from the visual arts’ grab bag of material and methods–the artist sets out to make a work of art that communicates a thought or idea. In other words, art jewellery is an opportunity for the goldsmith to explore big ideas.

Looking to exercise this particular muscle, I was encouraged by my fellow goldsmith’s at Jewel Envy (we’re good at that!) to apply to an international competition called The Contemporary Jewelry Exchange which is “an art project where jewellery artists from all over
the world, are paired and asked to create a unique contemporary piece
of jewelry for each other.”

And guess what…I got accepted to participate!  Even better, I got matched with an incredible artist Rachel Suzanne Smith.

Rachel Suzanne Smith’s wearable sculpture-winner of he 2016 Niche awards

Rachel and I met by Skype to talk about our exchange and brainstorm ideas to explore. It was a meeting of like minds, we dove into a long discussion of possible directions for our project. Both Rachel and I are interested in the idea of communication through art and soon we landed on the question: Can we understand our work better via the lack of control given when the wearer of our work is the curator rather than ourselves?  In other words: when an artist creates something, s/he is making it with an idea/message in mind but what happens when the wearer of the jewellery interprets the piece differently–does this add or subtract from the work?

Rachel’s idea map following our brainstorming session.

Once Rachel and I settled on this idea, we set about our design/making separately without communication with each other (my idea because I wanted to surprise Rachel and be surprised by Rachel work when it arrives for me).

This summer I have been busy thinking/sketching/designing/testing ideas. I have settled on working with  Rorschach ink blot shapes–for their historical use in psychological diagnosis/interpretation, and working with mirrored acrylic–for the mirror’s ability to reflect oneself and one’s surroundings.

Beginning prototype designs for  Micheline’s Contemporary Jewelry Exchange

The deadline is coming up in a couple of weeks and I am busy finalizing the design and working out kinks at the laser cutters. Until then, I continue to dream up more designs and wonder what Rachel will have in store for me with her design!

To see more of The Contemporary Jewelry Exchange you can visit their Facebook page or view the 2014 Exchanges online.


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
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