Thursday, March 1, 2012

Meeting goldsmith Eva Dorney

Thursday, March 1, 2012
I spent a totally relaxing afternoon a few weeks ago, visiting Goldsmith, Eva Dorney. One of the things that Eva does is to recycle old pieces of jewellery into new designs. Yesterday, Barbara told us about her treasured 'new' ring which Eva made. Now Eva is going to tell us about what is involved in commissioning a piece of jewellery.

Eva, can you tell us about how you designed Barbara's ring? (Read the previous post about this ring.)

Barbara's new ring, re-modelled from a selection of old jewellery

Before we sat down, Barbara flicked through a portfolio of my previous work on Facebook to see what designs caught her eye so that we had a jumping off point when we met. She showed me the material she had to work with and we talked over what would be possible and how we could adapt her favoured designs to incorporate her stones. Barbara was looking for one ring to replace her wedding and engagement rings so the idea of two bands that were connected really worked. When I had a pretty clear idea of what Barbara would like, I sent her away and I did some very rough drawings from which to choose her favourite.  Design in hand I set about pricing it up and with budget agreed I started the job.

Why do you love re-modelling old pieces of jewellery?

Certain jewellery holds great sentimental value, but it's not always wearable as it is. I love to be able to give people a way of adapting that jewellery and making it their own. On a number of occasions I've taken an old yellow gold ring that's belonged to a customer's Mum or Dad and put it as the lining on a new white gold or platinum wedding ring for them. No one else can see it, but the important ring is still there right next to their skin. I think that that's just lovely. I think that jewellery deserves to be worn.

 Silver gold and diamond wrapped ring

I'm also a fan of remodelling from the point of view of recycling. As a total hoarder I know there are loads of people out there who have a lot of unloved jewellery, odd earrings and broken bits and bobs languishing in drawers, but they don't know it's even possible to recycle it. Until they take the decision to do something with it it's just junk, but then with a little heat and effort it can be made into something fabulous that they'll enjoy wearing everyday. I love the transformation and I love to see the look on peoples faces when they ask 'Is that mine? That can't be my gold. Sure that wasn't worth anything.' It's really gratifying and it's great to give old jewellery a new lease of life.

The last reason I favour remodelling old pieces is purely economic. Gold prices have reached record highs over the past few years and the cost of new gold jewellery can be prohibitive so recycling has never made more sense. By using your own metal you get to keep the value of your gold and turn it into something precious at a fraction of the retail cost of the new piece and with sentiment intact.

Pink Tourmaline ring from Eva's collection

What is involved in the process?

First I go through all the pieces to make sure everything is gold and is suitable to be remodeled (some things are of greater intrinsic value as they are or are simply too lovely to melt!) and then I weigh the metal. Usually we'll talk over designs and I'll do some sketches for them to choose from or adapt. When we've settled on a design I'll guestimate the finished weight of the piece and calculate how much extra material if any is required to make it. At this stage I'll give a quote to do the job and once that's approved I'll go ahead and melt the gold and start to work the resulting nugget into the finished piece.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering having their jewellery re-modelled?

Don't melt stuff just for the sake of it. If you think you'll wear it again or you know someone who would, then it might be nice to explore that avenue first, but then be brave! If you have a lot of material something like a bangle is relatively labour effective, so while the resulting bangle would be very high value it doesn't cost the earth to make. Light earring or chains on the other hand may not use much material, but are labour intensive and so don't offer the best value for money. That said almost anything is possible when remodeling so it's always worth asking the question.

Gold bangle made from re-modelled metals

How can people get in touch with you?

I'd love to answer any queries and can be contacted on [+353] 87 795 6321. You can view some of my designs on my website or Facebook page.

Thanks Eva - this process really appeals to me. I love the idea of lining a new ring with an older layer too, so you can keep it close to your heart. Jewellery holds such strong memory and emotion and I think it's still there when the piece is remodeled. You are just adding to the story of the piece.

Has anyone got any questions for Eva? Please leave her a comment below and be sure to check out her website for more details.

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