How to design jewellery

Making a piece of jewellery is not as hard as many people think. But designing a piece of jewellery with aesthetic feelings is not easy.

In the following contents, I will walk you through a basic process of how to design jewellery, taking our Meteorite collection as an example.

How to get Inspirations and what to do with them ?

As many design activities, designing a jewellery piece starts with an idea in our mind. Or not even a complete idea. Maybe it is just a vague image and we don’t even know where it will lead to. Just like an unknown seed buried in soil and no one knows what it will turn to be in future.

Then the next question is how to grow this seed. The answer is inspiration. Finding inspirations is a wild process. A travel, an adventure, even a scientific exhibition, basically any activities happened around us have potentials to inspire and lead us to a great design later. To put it in a simple word: CURIOSITY. Be curious to what you saw and what you experienced. Stories, meanings and heritage behind them. How to utilise these inspirations, designers all have their own ways to reach their most desirable result. But most importantly is elaborating these inspirations in your own words. So what did we actually do?

That was during we were stargazing and it was a quite splendid sky. All made us imagine what an amazing world is up there beyond our sight. Then we both said “Yes, it is”.

We started to draw the space on paper. Stars, Moon, Satellite, Orbit, Meteorite, etc. We actually coloured it and made it more aesthetic, which is easy for perception.

©James & Irisa
©James & Irisa

This is a picture of a meteor shower happened in the space from our perceptions as jewellery designers. After we drew the sketch, a more clear image came out. We wanted to design a jewellery collection themed as Meteorite.

Meteorite is a rough rock with many minerals. So how can we abstract its elements in an aesthetic way and translate them into jewellery and what elements we can focus on? Many aspects are open to discuss. For instance, its texture, its geometric shape, its moving trace, and its colour. In our collection, we focus on two aspects, the texture and the trace. To this point, our basic direction of further designs is clear. And its time to go to next stage.

How to choose materials and why choose them?

Appropriate materials can make the theme more perceptible by audience. Back to our collection, we use solid yellow gold, natural Australian opal and diamonds to elaborate our theme.

©James & Irisa
©James & Irisa

The reasons behind this selection are the colour and metallic lustre of yellow gold, the play of colour inside opal and the sparking of diamond. We think these elements are best players to illustrate the aesthetics of meteorite. When all materials are ready, it’s time to sketch some designs and find out the most desirable ones. This is definitively a time-consuming process. We actually stocked up a pile of sketch papers to get our final designs. The image below is a sketch of our final Meteorite collection.

©James & Irisa
©James & Irisa

From paper to jewellery

Now, it is time to make the designs come true. This whole detailed process explanation is intensive. So I just use a simple sketch here to show you that many different tools are involved, such as carving tools, files, magnifier, pilers, etc. I will explain the detailed process of how we make our jewellery in another article later on.

©James & Irisa
©James & Irisa

This is just a brief introduction of how we design our Meteorite collection, which is our first collection of our brand James & Irisa jewellery.


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