October 13, 2020
It’s a Vandal thing. If you went to University of Idaho, like Amaia and her dad, you’ll understand that sentiment. It was something they had in common, and a strong bond they shared. When Amaia graduated, her dad took the original stone from his ring, and had a ring made for her. He upgraded his to a fancier one, and when he passed away, Amaia inherited his ring. Like so many of us who inherit jewelry, the ring was tucked away, gathering dust. Amaia remembers, “I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with a man's class ring.”
As her five-year wedding anniversary neared, she and her husband discussed appropriate ways to incorporate the ring into something meaningful, while honoring her dad and their shared college experience. Most importantly for Amaia was to create something with meaning, and purpose, regardless of its monetary value. She openly, somewhat apologetically, shared that she had gone to a few jewelers before coming to me. The first one discouraged her from doing much with it, because it was a giant men’s class ring. She suggested "Well, let's just get you a chain and you can wear it as a necklace." Disappointed, Amaia explained, "That's not my style. That's not my aesthetic. That's the kind of thing you did in high school, to have your boyfriend's ring on a chain”. She wanted something with deeper meaning and sentiment.
After another jeweler suggested Amaia just melt down the ring and sell it, she finally came to me. I was excited to facilitate her wish, to honor both relationships, with her dad and her husband, in a way that felt good. Amaia remembers, “There were a lot of emotions involved, and you were able to handle that without any sort of pressure or anxiety.”
Clients often feel nervous or emotional about redesign projects. They worry whether they’ll like, or even wear, the redesigned piece. Sometimes it’s just the “fear of the unknown” as Amaia aptly put it. I always try to be sensitive to this concern, when making recommendations. It’s important not to pressure anyone into anything that doesn’t feel right. “Working with you, feeling listened to, and that you were going to honor my request and not just take the stone and pop it in a new band” put Amaia at ease.
As a designer, it’s important to listen to my customer’s wishes, while relying on my years of experience and unique sense of design. These are the details that put people at ease and keep the process fun and enjoyable for everyone. Most people know what they like, but may not know how to express it. Amaia admitted she knew very little about design, “You were able to take my dreams with my minimal ability to describe them and make something that reflected exactly what we wanted. Having your artistic sense to help balance it out and make it a complete piece, rather than just repurposed, was something that I valued immensely.”
I love capturing that moment when my clients see their pieces for the first time. Amaia described her unboxing experience, “I was very excited! I'd seen the prototype, because with my apprehension and indecisiveness, it was important for me to see the 3D model first” but when she opened it she said, “I wasn't expecting it to be so beautiful. It's everything I could've wanted”.
Jewelry connects us to emotion and sentiment. It makes us feel something. It’s why I love what I do. One of the best parts of my job, is when my customers feel safe enough to share the meaning behind a piece. Amaia was no exception, “It's just perfect. It's all these parts of my life. It's the right size, it's the right style. It's unique enough without being too much. And it's everything that I could have wanted”. Today, she happily wears the redesigned ring, every day, honoring her dad, her husband and their marriage.
Have Jewelry collecting dust in your jewelry box? Let’s Connect!
Have more questions about heirloom redesign or maybe a custom piece of jewelry? I’d love to chat about your ideas and bring your vision to life. Take a few minutes to fill out my custom inquiry form here and set up a time for your free consultation.
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