One-of-a-Kind Designer Jewelry in the Making

One-of-a-Kind Designer Jewelry in the Making

In creating our Fall/Winter 2018 Collection, owner and creative director Marion Cage McCollam found a new source of inspiration in the form of geometric gemstones. Each and every stone having its own unique cut meant the birth of a stunning collection of one-of-a-kind designer jewelry. Marion began by laying out multiple combinations and configurations to arrive at the most striking arrangements possible of the tanzanite and spinel geometric gemstones. Then, she worked with skilled artisans to have the stones finely bezel set and finished into a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces. Learn about the details of that process from beginning to end—the inception, the trial and error, the result, and the reward—and discover what makes this exquisite collection so unique.

Geometric Gemstones — The Inspiration

Geometric gemstones like these—which come in a variety of beautiful colors and are hand-cut to achieve unique, faceted, geometric shapes—became the inspiration for the Fall/Winter 2018 Collection from Marion Cage.

Inspiration for a collection can come from anywhere and at any time. It can happen on a trip to a museum, on a stroll through the countryside, in discovering another artist’s work, or in discovering a new medium or method of fabrication. Marion often finds her inspiration in nature and in the materials she uses themselves. Most of our designs are based on a unique source of formal inspiration that is then abstracted through the process of translating it and making it—literally—our own. We typically use gemstones in a pave setting (where very small stones are set closely together) to further accentuate certain curves or angles in the forms of our jewelry.

Our latest collection started a bit differently when a parcel of beautifully colored, hand-cut geometric gemstones caught Marion’s attention on a visit to one of her stone dealers in New York. “For this collection, the starting point was the stones,” said Marion, “specifically spinel and tanzanite that were cut into a myriad of faceted, geometric shapes. From the start, it was clear that stones needed to be the stars of the show.”

Immediately drawn to these unique stones, Marion was reminded of the faceted geometric shapes she developed in both her Facets jewelry collection and her Peak cabinetry hardware collection. “Stones in jewelry are traditionally cut into more conventional shapes, like round, oval, or square, and working with these shapes has never really interested me. As an architect, I have always had an affinity for asymmetry and complex geometries, so it makes sense that the types of stone cuts I choose to work with would reflect that.”

The geometric gemstones that inspired the Fall/Winter 2018 Collection from Marion Cage are reminiscent of the faceted geometric shapes in our Facets jewelry collection and Peak cabinetry hardware collection. Our Long Shard Studs earrings from the Facets Collection are shown on the left in 14k yellow gold with white pave diamonds, while our geometric Ingot Knob is shown on the right from the Peak Collection.Long Shard Studs in 14k yellow gold with white pave diamonds (left)
Ingot Knob (right)

Selecting and Arranging the Tanzanite and Spinel Stones — The Design Process

The tanzanite stones shown here have the characteristic rich blue-violet color of tanzanite and are hand-cut as geometric gemstones for our Fall/Winter 2018 Collection.

Once Marion had fallen in love with the unique tanzanite and spinel stones, she knew that these would be the focal point of her next collection and went straight to work, taking the parcels home so that she could carefully select the stones that would create the most striking designs. When choosing stones, shape was just as important as color. She arranged them on paper as many times as necessary, trying multiple combinations until arriving at the final designs. Marion says this was her favorite part of designing the collection.

“I had never worked with cut stones before, so this was a lot of fun for me,” Marion said. “Putting together countless different shapes to make a finished composition as well as discovering all of the amazing ways to combine the colors of the stones with the different colors of gold were also highlights of the design process.”

These geometric gemstones, ranging from blue-violet tanzanite to ruby red spinel, are shown on paper as Marion arranged them for the Fall/Winter 2018 Collection.

Setting the Stones and Fabrication — The Production Process

There are many steps involved in the creation of a collection of jewelry—from design to production—and we’ve come to understand that every step of the process is important. As designers, dreaming up new ideas is where our hearts lie. However, it is equally important that ours designs be properly engineered so that they are not only beautiful to look at, but comfortable and durable to wear.

Once the stones were selected and the designs were all laid out, it was time to bring the pieces to life in gold. For this step, Marion worked closely with her team of fabricators to design and construct the bezels and components by hand and to carefully set each stone. Not without a bump or two in the road, the collection finally materialized beautifully.

“I am always looking to test the limits of the materials I work with in my designs,” said Marion. “That said, I have learned to rely on and respect the knowledge and experience of the craftspeople that I work with. My stone setter and I went back and forth for weeks about how thin he could get the metal around the stones. I wanted it to be as thin as possible. When I insisted he use a thinner gauge wire than he recommended, I paid the price. In the end, some of the bezels were not strong enough to hold the stones, so those pieces had to be completely redone in order for us to have a salable design.”

Geometric gemstones become one-of-a-kind designer jewelry in the Fall/Winter 2018 Collection from Marion Cage. For example, these Geo Tanzanite Dangle Earrings feature 18k rose gold with blue-violet tanzanite stones, and these Geo Spinel Stacking Rings in 18k rose gold feature pale pink spinel stones.Geo Tanzanite Dangle Earrings in 18k rose gold with tanzanite stones (left)
Geo Spinel Stacking Rings in 18k rose gold with spinel stone (right)

The Appeal of One-of-a-Kind Designer Jewelry and Our Fall/Winter 2018 Collection

There is something very special about owning and wearing a design that you know isn’t going to be seen anywhere else—ever. Many customers find this to be the icing on the cake when falling for a particular piece of one-of-a-kind jewelry.

When asked about the type of customer she hopes this new collection will appeal to, Marion said, “I don’t really have a ‘target audience.’ I like to think there is something for everyone in my work as a designer.” For this collection in particular, however, the stones were cut such that each is a one-of-a-kind, helping to distinguish this jewelry collection from others.

“Because each stone is unique, so is each setting,” Marion said. “All of these factors combined make the audience for this collection one that appreciates handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry. I am most drawn to the uniquely beautiful combinations of geometry and color in this collection, and I feel sure our customers will, too. I also think customers will feel very special knowing they are wearing unique, one-of-a-kind designs.”

Along with the unique colors and shapes that characterize this collection, customers are sure to appreciate the exclusivity factor of these pieces as well. Shop our Fall/Winter 2018 Collection today online or in our gallery, and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about this one-of-a-kind designer jewelry.

← Older Post Newer Post →