You’re so lucky to be here, at the beginning of your wedding planning journey. You’re about to discover a world of creative, skilled and passionate craftsmen and women who will help you along the way. There’s nothing I enjoy more than hearing what inspires these amazing wedding creatives. Today we’ve interviewed lovely Sarah, bespoke ring designer at Heulwen Lewis Bespoke. From sustainability through paper shoes, Mary Poppins and her Gramp’s paintings, Sarah’s story is fascinating and of course it goes without saying, her creations are absolutely stunning. I hope you enjoy our feature today!
So Sarah, tell me your story again – I love hearing about your Grampy and your Nanna’s box of buttons and sparkly things!
When I was tiny I used to sit with my Gramp painting, he would teach me how to draw to scale and I watched as he painted amazing portraits of the family as well as landscapes. He explained how times back then didn’t allow him to make a career out of it, my love for art made me want to make a career for the both of us. He was my inspiration. All of the family have at least one painting hanging on our wall.
As I grew, I always loved creating things, from Meccano, to threading beads and creating paper shoes. I loved all things miniature, I believe Miniature World was one of my favourite places to visit, which seemed to lead quite nicely into jewellery in later life.
How did you get into bespoke jewellery design?
When I graduated with my Masters, I knew I just had to make sustainable and glamorous things. My degree was Fashion Artefacts at London College of Fashion, the course focused solely on designing/making products that last through time and aren’t just throw away or fast fashion! Thus, bespoke became me and each piece I design really has to mean something to its owner, to be cherished and passed on forevermore.
Where do you get your inspiration from when a customer comes to you for ideas?
When a client gets in touch for a bespoke item, it’s really all about them, so I ask a lot of questions!
What they like, what type of jewellery piece they want – i.e ring, necklace, earrings, what their everyday style may be, metal preferences, favourite colour and if they have an era of style they prefer? Sometimes, just having this information is enough to sketch ideas together and we hit the spot right there and then. Other times, I ask for a handful of images, patterns, objects and types of jewellery they like/would wear, from there I can pinpoint similarities and design accordingly.
What’s your workspace like?
It’s very organised! I have a mood board above my desk which helps to keep the design ideas flowing and also a check list for what I need to do next. I like to tick things off, it’s very satisfying.
I am in the process of moving to a new premises, which is super exciting and I am looking forward to having a new consultation room, where I can showcase my workbench and design desk.
Has your jewellery design style evolved since you first started?
My jewellery design style is constantly evolving, personally I love designing pieces inspired by Art Deco or Nouveau. However, with bespoke, it’s not really about me, occasionally people come to me for my style, often they want a design that is truly them, which is why my portfolio can appear to be very different from piece to piece.
If you could design a bespoke ring for someone famous, who would you choose?
I actually think I would choose Mary Poppins – so not a real famous person! But I have a real love for Mary Poppins and I think I could design something ‘Practically Perfect in Every Way!’
And some FAQ style questions on behalf of our lovely readers who might want to get in touch with you…
I’d like a bespoke ring, but I just wouldn’t know where to start. Help!
Don’t worry, I am here to help! From information about which gemstones and/or diamonds to go for, down to metal preference, the design itself and the cost.
All advice and consultations are FREE to ensure your design journey is friendly, informative and goes smoothly so we are able to create the perfect ring for you.
How long does it take to have a bespoke wedding / engagement ring made?
On average bespoke pieces take 6-8 weeks. I advise to try and get your engagement/wedding rings 4-6 months before the big day, this is to ensure we have everything boxed and ready for the big day! After all, your rings are on your hands for a lifetime after the event, so it’s definitely one of the first things I would recommend ticking off the list!
Can I afford it?
Absolutely! Bespoke doesn’t mean spending big bucks, just let me know your budget and I can advise accordingly. I have commissions from £200+, a lot of my bespoke commissions are remodels from old to new, not only is this sustainable, but can be very sentimental. It’s always worth having a gander through your jewellery box to see if there is any gold, platinum or gemstones you can use towards your new items, as this can reduce the cost substantially.
I have a piece of vintage jewellery that’s really important to me. Can we keep all the bits even if we don’t use them?
Yes, depending on what you would like to do with your vintage piece, we can retip, resize or remodel! When remodelling, we can unset the stones to put in a new design or use the metal within your new design. Any remaining stones or metal not used will be returned to you.