Our Jewellery Design Process

Our Jewellery Design Process

I was recently speaking to a girl living here in Cyprus, who has her own business.  We were talking about Rize, when she said to me, "Jane hang on, you are the jewellery designer?".  I was a bit suprised as I thought that was clear on my website, but she went on to tell me it wasn't obvious, especially as I haven't named my business after my own name.  It's funny isn't it, you can become so immersed in a project that you can't see the wood for the trees ;) 
So I thought I would share a bit about my jewellery designing process here on journals.

I didn't name my business after my own name, partly because it felt a bit showy and I didn't actually feel like a "real" jewellery designer at the beginning.  I come from a fashion background, but designing jewellery was a new venture.  I also wanted to represent the charities I am raising money for.

The name Rize came about because of the children I worked with in India when I lived there, who start out in life with challenges most of us will never experience.  It is a testament to their amazing positivity and resilience and my absolute want to help them elevate their lives, receive the education and healthcare they deserve and have choices, so they can live the lives they wish for.

(Children of Jagruthi Trust)

Tomorrow I will receive samples of my new jewellery collection, expertly hand made by my talented artisans in Jaipur.  I always have a mixture of feelings when the box of jewels arrives, slight horror at the amount of duties charged on imported goods, but mainly excitement mixed with anxiety, that the pieces I have worked on for months will turn out as well as I hoped.

My design process starts with me pulling together ideas I have thought about over a few months by looking through my design books; books about jewellery and textile designs of India, books about South Asian culture and architecture and photos of my own travels.  I want to create designs that are timeless and unique, not just limited to current trends, however I do keep an eye on them. Jewellery that is east meets west, the best of both :)

Once I have got a few designs in mind, I sit down and sketch the ideas for my main man Devendra, who is my connection to the artisans.  He interprets my designs to the artisan group, sometimes using CAD drawings if it is a complicated piece, or just by explaining exactly what I need when he is with them.  It then takes between 6-9 months of the group making samples, sending me images and backwards and forwards discussions and sample altering until we get to a finished pieces.

It is hard not being with the artisans in person sometimes, as things that take a couple of weeks to sort out, could take far less time if I was sat next to them.  Still, we get there in the end and it always amazes me how well the group seem to know what I am looking for from what can sometimes be fairly rough design drawings ;)

Once samples have been ok'd the artisans then get to work on producing small batches of each design for me.  Some pieces are made entirely by hand and some by wax casting.  Depending on the cost of the piece, some designs are limited to a quantity of just 5-10 pieces, if they are expensive to produce like my Granulated Cuffs.  We always use recycled sterling silver and the artisan team work in a very sustainable way, using little electricity.  I say "we" as even though it is just me creating the designs and running the business, I wouldn't be able to do it without my artisan team in Jaipur, so I feel like it is "we" :)

I go back to India once a year, partly to connect with the artisan team and to collect jewellery or to talk about new designs.  I also go to fill my "India cup" with all of the amazing sights, sounds and sustenance that the country offers.  I will be back in India next month to do all of the above and to have a photo shoot for my new upcoming collection.  We have the most amazing model booked to shoot in the most beautiful location.  I will be sharing lots of photos on instagram of the trip, so why not come away with me to incredible India :)
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