The one thing I would save in a fire

If there was a fire in your house and you only had 1 minute to save anything, what would it be?

Aside from my handsome giant 6’6 Irish boyfriend, who I am hoping is conscious and can get his own rig out of the house (imagine trying to carry a human this size when you are 5’3), I would run hard and fast to my vintage crystal jewellery bowl. Being a jeweller, I obviously have many precious jewels, but none more so than this ring


My grandma Pearl left me this ring when she passed away. I was only a little tracker then, being a jeweller wasn’t even on my radar ( I was probably more focused on becoming the Pink Power Ranger), and I had zero idea it would become my most valued possession. 

First glance, it’s a pretty gold ring with some sweet geometric fan detailing, but that is only a smidge of what makes this ring soooooo rad. Here’s the rest…..

This beauty is the first ring my grandad ever gave my grandma. They would have been sweethearts in love, Valentine’s Day was coming around and my grandad was getting his mooshy lovey dove on. He picked this ring, had “My Valentine” stamped on the inside of the band and hand-engraved himself “To Pearl, Love Alan”.

Years of my grandma wearing this ring and now years of me doing the same, have worn the engravings a little bit, but you can still see it (with Coke bottle glasses and a Pop Eye squint). 

My granparents lived in Wangaratta in a two-story house on a big block of land that required a ride-on mower, my fav activity to do with my grandad. They had plum trees which my grandma turned into jam, an old caravan full of wool for her knitting, a shed full of tools and bottled snakes where my grandad made and fixed EVERYTHING, an old blue Kombi camper for trips to their farm and a cupboard full of chocolates and treats my grandma would sneakily give to my sister and I, followed by “don’t tell your mum”. Grandma was more commonly known as ‘Boss’, cemented by the mug she drank her tea from with the same name. They were the type of grandparents you literally dreamed of as kids and I miss them dearly. 

All of these blissfully sweet memories flood back to me when I wear this ring. My fortunate childhood, time with my family and knowing I was supremely loved, even though I was a turd of a child ( ask any of my relatives, they will vouch for my turdiness).

Wearing this ring nearly every single day on the same finger on my right hand, even though it is way too big for that finger, but it doesn’t feel at home anywhere else, I am reminded of what’s really important to this little jeweller and that my grandma is always with me. She keeps me in check and makes sure I am okay. My hand actually feels naked if I don’t have it on, followed by a frantic panic to try and remember where it could be.

Hands down, it is the one possession I have, that would devastate me if I lost it. Most other things could burn in that fire and I would replace them with time, but this ring could never be replaced and its value to me is more than all my other possessions put together. 

I love how jewellery stirs up all them feels. 

So now tell me, what would you save?

Keeping It Real

Lately I have been consciously listening to my gut, trying to work through the diluted mess it can become from constant external influences directing what I ‘should’ be doing. Sound kind of intense? Yes it can be, especially when I question and vocalise what I feel stirring up in this gut of mine. I wonder if other creatives/makers/businesses feel this way sometimes too? Sit tight for a minute and let me explain.

Amy Rad Jewellery is the bees knees. I love it! I get to use tools, get my hands dirty (literally), create jewellery people value, help solidify loving connections, contribute to a handmade community and satisfy some integral parts of myself. I make an income from doing something I love, which is important to my core values, and something I am trying to grow to be sustainable for my lifestyle (which isn’t lavish by the way. Ain’t no bottles of Moet in my fridge). Here is where I hit some brick walls though.

Taking a one-woman-I-do-everything-myself small business to the next level is a massive undertaking, requiring other people’s skills, substantial financial input, time, commitment blah blah blah , you’ve heard it all before and know what I mean. So I spend a great deal of time trying to navigate this step in the most authentic way I can to reflect what I want my business to be, what is important to maintaining the integrity of what I do and how I can find my people. Along the way I hear “You gotta spend money to make money”, “You have to play the social media game”, “You have to do what everyone else is doing”, “It’s just the way the world works, get onboard or get left behind”, “Don’t you want to be wealthy?”, “Just go get a regular 9-5 job. Everyone else does it. It’s what you have to do.”

And my absolute favourite load of horse shit in one sentence….”Business is business”. Can’t business be more than that? I often see this used an excuse for people doing crappy things to other people. “Well that’s just business isn’t it”.

What if I don’t want to buy into all of this? What if I don’t want a marketing guru to plug A, B and C into the magic formula they use and regurgitate the same trendy product placement flat lay I see in my Instagram feed? Do I really care if some celebrity we’ve never met wears my jewellery? No. I don’t actually and why do you? I’ve had success with celebrities wearing my jewellery before and business definitely came from this. Yes my bank account grew and I was able to start considering my jewellery as a sustainable business, but I questioned why and felt like the use of celebrities and product placement couldn’t be the only way to get that elusive golden ticket.

The question is, How do I grow my business authentically? Without cutting little slices out of my soul and handing them over in neat little money-wrapped packages to someone who will plug in all the right figures to the current mass formula for success.

Is it even possible to build a sustainable business just doing what you love? Is it a case that marketing has shifted and evolved and now this is the new normal? Have I been drinking just as much Koolaid? Let’s be fair, I have a website, Facebook page, Instagram account, Pinterest, Twitter and I spend too much of my day looking at my phone screen instead of face to face engagement.

Over time, I hope the social media and society ‘shouldness’ (just invented a word) will implode on itself and through the carnage a desire for authenticity will emerge. For now I see this all as one steep mofo of a learning curve, figuring out where on the spectrum I would like to perch myself. Maybe I’ll be eating these typed words and my Instagram feed will be one hashtag away from your blocked list.

I’m opening this up to you to share your thoughts too. As you can see I’ve asked myself about ten questions in this post and wonder what the answers will be. Maybe you have some pearls of wisdom to share or a gem of an idea to contribute (all jewellery puns intended).

Rock out with my bling out

 

Ever had a massive music crush? Like those crazy girls who threw their underwear at Sex Bomb Tom Jones or the fainting damsels in the front row of a Beatles concert? Or a 13 year old Belieber crying because Justin looked in her direction and that means he is now one step closer to fulfilling her life long dream of marrying him and having his babies?

Well that is me with UK rock band Lower Than Atlantis, except I am 32 years old  and so far I haven’t fainted , no tears have been shed and recently when I met the boys, managed to keep all my undergarments on (I did get butterflies and almost chickened out from talking to them, but somehow pulled it together and held a decent level of conversation). However, from a comment about fat fingers, came the opportunity to design and make each of the band members a custom piece of jewellery.

What??!! I know! Sounds crazy right! Who actually gets to meet their favourite band and make custom bling for them? This little jeweller, that’s who.

Let me introduce you…

lta boys black

See why I got nervous? BABE TOWN!

L to R:

Mike Duce (vocals and guitar)

Declan Hart (bass)

Eddy Thrower (drums)

Ben Sansom (lead guitar)

Lower Than Atlantis came to Australia, for the second time, in October 2015, supporting Aussie band, Hands Like Houses at The Newtown Social Club. My friend Tim, a fellow LTA fan came with me. We were pumped! On route to the venue we had a conversation about how cool it would be to hang out with the guys after the show and get to know them. I guess you never really think that will happen, but you kind of hope it will. Then no sooner had I finished gushing over how hot Ben is and how much I hoped they would play ‘Damn Nation’ and ‘Get Over it’, they were standing in front of us at a kebab shop next to Newtown Social Club.

Trying to act as casual as possible (and failing miserably), we struck up a conversation with the guys. Thankfully Tim is the coolest cat in town and stopped me from making a fool of myself. Beers flowed, admiration levels soared, the show absolutely rocked and my little heart was filled with joy seeing my favourite band play live with a great friend who loved their tunes just as much.

We ended up talking the night away with the guys, getting to know them and the dynamics of life in a rock band. It’s funny how we seem to forget famous people are still just normal regular humans with cool jobs. During these chats, Mike’s hands became a hot topic, probably because of his new tattoos and he commented how fat his fingers are, saying he can never find rings to fit them. Well wasn’t this a case of right place at the right time.

Boy has fat fingers and can’t find rings to fit them.

Girl is a jeweller who has the skills to make rings to fit fat fingers.

The rest of the boys overheard this conversation and wanted custom pieces made for them also. Business cards were handed out, Instagram stalking began and ideas started developing. Such a fun project to design jewellery just for fun for people you admire so much who you are beginning to understand as individuals without their instruments.

I had a couple of months before I would be heading to the UK for a wedding and delivering the jewellery to the boys. These are the results and the concepts behind them:

Mike

Handsome, tattoo covered lad with a quick wit, humorous, charming, no tolerance for bullshit and says what he thinks. Wanted a dirty silver ring with skulls.

Mike Duc 3 pics for blog
Photo credit- @Iamshootermcgavin @mikeduce

And this is the end result.

Titled First Of Many as this ring was the very first piece of jewellery to ever be stamped with the Amy Rad Jewellery logo. My hallmark  stamp arrived from the USA a few days before I left for the UK and this massive ring was the lucky piece to be number one. A pretty special moment for any jeweller.

First Of Many, 2015, oxidised 925 silver

Dec

Handsome, funny, hilarious, best Alf Stewart impersonation on the planet, entertaining, cheeky, fun. This guy made me laugh so much my face hurt.

Dec 3 pics for blog
Photo credit- @declta @Iamshootermcgavin @jordangreen

I couldn’t resist to make him this

Alf Stewart, 2015, oxidised 925 silver

 

Eddy

Handsome, stylish, quiet, considered, attention to detail, mature, the solid beat that keeps the boys in time. The ‘rock’ of the group.

Eddy 3 pics for blog
Photo credit- @eddylta @Iamshootermcgavin  @jordangreen

For this reason, I made Eddy one of my Rock Pedants. Stylish and simple.

Rock Pendant, 2015, 925 silver

Ben

Handsome, talented, fun, sweet, friendly, engaging,  owns the stage, the all around nice guy you just want to be around. Ben was after an anchor of some kind.

Ben 3 pics for blog
Photo credit- @jordangreen and @benlta

“Anchors away as I set sail”.

Hall Pass, 2015, 925 silver

Everyday I listen to the music these boys make. I sit in my jewellery studio, loudly belting out their lyrics as I file metal and drill holes and make things shiny. To think I would meet them, they would be such stand-up lads, we would stay in touch and I would create custom pieces for them all while listening to the awesome music they made for my (and everyone else’s) listening pleasure. It blows my mind!

In a world where we crave fame and use its power to generate likes, followers, sales and false meaning, the authenticity of this encounter, the simple truth in the love of music and admiration for fellow creatives makes me smile from ear to ear.

Life can be really sweet sometimes.

Note: All images of band members are from their Instagram accounts. I do not own the rights to these images and can remove them if this creates any issues. Apologies in advance should this be the case. All jewellery images are owned by Amy Rad Jewellery.

 

 

 

Hallmark

Finally! After many years of creating scribbles (and scribbling out scribbles), jotting down ideas, surveying my friends, and creating shapes in illustrator, I can finally say I have my first official hallmark. 

Amy Robson Hallmark

Some people see the foundation of the design instantly, but incase you are missing it, it is my name. A M Y. Look closely.

The kite/diamond shape is common in my work, particularly the last couple of years and my never-ending love of neat geometry had to be the strong design element.

Once I get this made into a nice little stamp, it will appear on all the jewellery I make and be recognisable as a handmade Amy Robson jewellery piece. Having a hallmark has always felt like a big deal to me, I wonder if all jewellers feel the same way? It becomes your signature in metal that stays with the piece as long as it exists. Much like your file strokes, or your solder joins or the final polish. 

I’m pretty pumped to start leaving my mark around the place.

The Beast

Recently it dawned on me that Amy Robson- the jeweller and Amy Robson (or Amy Rad as most people know me)- the surfer from Maroubra don’t need to be separated into two images/personalities/identities as they are clearly both me (duh, I know that sounds stupid). All the facets of my energetic and sometimes crazy personality influence what I do in my jewellery business and my lifestyle so why not just let that be the foundation for what I show the world and how I communicate ME.

Embracing my local pride for Maroubra Beach snow-balled this realisation that most people in my hood only know me as Amy, the kook surfer with the big smile. I wanted to get to know my tribe better and show them there is more to me than my goofy poo-stance (fellow surfers will get what I mean) so I put my idea to a local publication called The Beast.

The Beast is a monthly read that prints over 61,000 free copies every month for the  Eastern Suburbs of Sydney community. Check them out  http://thebeast.com.au .

The awesome guys at The Beast asked me a few question and sent out a photographer, Grant Brooks to take some snaps on the North Maroubra cliffs and this is the result……

 

the beast July 2014

Have a read or just do what I do, look at how hot Mark Matthews is!!!!

Surfing and being a jeweller will always go hand in hand for me. Stay tuned for some new pieces I have been working on that are designed for….. wait for it……..SURFERS!

I look forward to sharing the new jewellery with you really soon.

5 tips for creating a custom design with your jeweller

How lucky are you! Soon you will have your own unique one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery. Or someone very lucky will receive an extremely thoughtful gift from you.

You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with the idea of designing a piece of jewellery, but this is where I (or your favourite jeweller) step in and help take that weight off your shoulders. Our end goal is to see your face beam with happiness when you collect your finished piece of handmade goodness. Here’s my top 5 tips/things to think about to make the process smooth, easy and fun for both you and your awesome jeweller:

1) What piece of jewellery are you after?

Fashion-Jewelry-for-Women

Do you want to design a ring, a gorgeous neckpiece or perhaps a striking pair of earrings? (always check first if the ears of the receiver are actually pierced) Is it a bangle/cuff you’re after? A pair of cufflinks for a special occasion or maybe you’re after some body jewellery?

Take some time to think about what type of piece you want or what you want to give. If it’s a gift, visualise the person you are giving it to . Even better, bring in some photos when you meet with your jeweller. I find this really helps sometimes.

 

2) Know your budget.

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Be honest and realistic about what you want to spend. Your budget will largely dictate the design, materials used, time spent and obviously the end result. No point saying to your jeweller ” I want 10 of the biggest and best diamonds you can get”, expecting a big blingy platinum ring the size of a small dog, but you have a budget of $500. Your jeweller will get you the 10 biggest and best diamonds they can for what you can afford. Listen to us, we will guide you through what you can expect within your budget. Also keep in mind, you are getting something handmade that is a one-off. You are paying for the jeweller’s design, skills and time. If you don’t want to spend the money for this, go buy something mass-produced in China and don’t be surprised when you notice a whole bunch of other people with the EXACT SAME PIECE OF JEWELLERY.

 

3) Plan a timeframe.

calender

Make sure you allow plenty of time for your jeweller to go through the design process and the actual fabrication. Have a date in mind when you would like to have the jewellery or know the date you need it to be delivered to the special person receiving it. Sometimes jewellers are insanely busy and need extra time. If this is the case and we don’t think we can get it to you in that time frame, we will be honest and we will tell you. We’re good eggs and we’re time savvy.

 

4) Do some homework first.

I always advice my clients to start thinking about what it is they really like. 2 really great ways to do this. 1) jump online and give Google, Pinterest , Etsy, Instagram a work out. Collect images you like and keep them in a folder on your phone or computer. They can be pictures of absolutely anything, not just jewellery. 2) Take photos of things around you that inspire you. It could be scenery, a particular fabric colour, some other jewellery you have tried on, a piece of furniture. If you think it could be useful to getting a sense of the design direction you are headed in, get snapping.

I often ask my clients to email these images with the reasoning as to why they like it or why they don’t. It gives me a really clear indication of where we will be heading, an overall view of your tastes. You could email me 10 times a day, great! The more homework you do, the better!

Here’s some good places to get started.

Do you prefer organic or geometric/industrial?

Unknown   images

Simple or detailed?

Unknown             images

 

Delicate or bold/statement?

triangle_1024x1024  Mint-Bead-Statement-Necklace

Diamonds and/or coloured stones and/or pearls?

ERG1010_white_05d07670-5569-4f65-9210-c9c8009575f3_large passion_cut_earrings_(2)_shop_largeimages

 

White metal or yellow metal? Maybe even alternative materials?

images Wave Bangle Bracelets Oxidized Sterling, Sterling Silver, 18k Gold Plated over Sterling with Accents Hand-SandedAF Bracelet

Just some ideas to get you started.

 

5) Be a good team player.

high-five-1024x1137

They say it takes two to tango right? Same goes with your jeweller. We need you to work with us, be honest, be open to our suggestions, make your payments on time and be available to communicate with us. We want you to be happy and want the end result to makes us both wear huge smiles. It’s also about building a relationship with you. Together we will make something special and personal. Once you find a good jeweller who you work well with, hold on to them with two hands. We speak a pretty amazing language with our skills and that wonderful piece of jewellery you hold so precious will be with you (or the receiver) for a life time. There’s going to be many occasions in your life when you will meet with your new awesome friend to work together and it’s all the more enjoyable when you become a good team.

 

I hope these tips get your creative cogs turning and inspire you to invest in quality handmade jewellery with an awesome jewellery designer.

 

Please note I do not own the rights to any of the images used in this post. If you are the owner of the image and would like it removed from being used in this post, I apologise in advance and will happily remove it. Please email me at amyrobsonjewellery@hotmail.com if you have any concerns.

What I’ve been learning

I realise that all year I have been learning a HUGE amount of skills in my second year of Jewellery Manufacture at The Design Centre Enmore. Looking back on the snaps I’ve been taking I find it hard to believe I have made the pieces I now hold in my hands, it’s just crazy!

If you are ever thinking of studying a jewellery course this might give you a quick insight into what goes on at the bench, why my hands are sometimes sore and why I am so god damn happy lately.

This was our first project- wax carving. I’m a hexagon bandit so no surprises what mine was.

IMG_0812And here is the end result once it has been cast in silver, cleaned up and given a final lick of rouge. Pretty tough hey!

IMG_0906I loved it so much it has become the feature ring in my next production range.

The projects that followed were focused on making settings specific to a stone and creating the ring for them to shine in. Let’s be real for a moment……. I don’t like these designs one bit. They’re very traditional and out-dated (in my opinion). But that wasn’t the point. There were skills I needed to learn and these babies were the path to learning them so with that in mind I was head down, hammers up at my bench.

IMG_0866IMG_0898

IMG_0899With the settings and the bands perfect (almost haha) time to put some bling in them! We learn stone setting techniques for a few weeks to show us how hard our stone setters work, I love mine, and how to prepare the settings. I worked on a 4 claw and a 6 claw and fell in love with my bench mate (the worlds best tool for stone setting).

IMG_1451And Tada…..

IMG_1447IMG_1449

We are also learning some bezel setting, flush setting and even star setting (fancy pants). To be able to do these we needed some tools and as jewellers do, we made our own.

IMG_1446The mother of all pendants, THE WORLD SKILL PENDANT was thrown our way at the beginning of the year. We looked at the pictures, looked at each other, turned to our teacher and asked “Are you kidding me? How the hell are we meant to make this?”

Lucky Steve is the most patient teacher you will find and in his usual mellow tone replied ” Of course you can make it and to the exact measurements too. You’ll be fine.”

Will we Steve? Will we?…………………………..

All of the silver has been melted down from scraps and rolled out to sheet or drawn down to wire. All the chenier has been made by hand and each component has either been saw-pierced, formed, bent, drilled, filed and soldered. There’s around 60-80 solder joins in this piece. Too many I lost count. Blows my mind!

IMG_1166At this stage I was doing okay. Only one major stuff up, but like magic ( tantrum, thrown silver across the room and a minute or two hyperventilating) I was back on track.

IMG_1242Back holing my day away meant squinty eyes and sore fingers but boy it looks the goods in the end.

IMG_1259Things are pieces but that merely means there’s some awesomeness about to take place. It’s coming……..

IMG_1349This plus……

IMG_1293This equals……. (this little sucker was made 3 times before I got it right)

IMG_1358This!

And this is what a finished World Skill Pendant looks like

IMG_1384 IMG_1386 IMG_1385

IMG_1389I achieved 90/100 for it which I am stoked about, especially since I thought it was a trick being played on us when asked to make it.

Now I’m busy with bezel setting and will keep you posted on how it all goes.

To all my fellow jewellers out there, happy day at the bench, I hope all your fingers are still intact today and for all my non-jewellers, take a look at that ring on your finger and know someone put a whole lot of time, effort and skill into making that thing a reality.

🙂

 

Something special

I recently finished a ring that is so awesome I have to share it. I don’t mean awesome as in “Oh look at me, I’m such a good jeweller.” I mean awesome as in the clients are awesome (also good friends), the concept of the ring is beyond awesome, the finished product is awesome and we are all feeling totally awesome about it now it’s on the finger of the owner.

So here it is, the ring of awesome.

meng ring 1 72 dpi meng ring 3 72 dpi

This beauty is a mens engagement ring made from palladium, with an 18ct white gold setting on the inside of the band with a cool little party sapphire in it.

Now here’s the most awesome part of this ring, the concept……………

The first part of the concept resulted in the stone being set on the inside of the band. You see, one half of this loved-up couple is a keen surfer and at the start of the courtship it was made very clear that the ocean was indeed his lover and his lady was his mistress. As time ticked on and the relationship continued to blossom into love those priorities shifted and the beloved ocean then became number 2. The new lover wanted her wave hungry fellah to always be reminded of her when he was spending time with his mistress. By having the stone on the inside of the band it leaves an imprint on the finger when taken off. This way he can never forget who his heart truly belongs to. Isn’t this just the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard? Well it gets better……..

meng ring 2 72 dpi

When we started talking about ideas for this ring there was a beautiful story of a ring in the family that contained a sapphire with a flaw. Typically flaws in stones bring down the value and are seen as ‘ugly’ but not to one little girl, who’s memory of this ring and it’s stone is total beauty. A love of something even though it was imperfect. A love of something for just being the way it is. This was also how she described her relationship. A complete acceptance of one another, a total understanding that this is who I am and I love you for who you are, flaws and all.

So off we went on a little adventure to find a small sapphire with a noticeable inclusion, could we find one? No, but what we found was way better! A party sapphire!

preview_emrPty01

Party Sapphires have a combination of colours in them, typically blues, greens and yellows. Some would see this as undesirable because it isn’t perfect, but what we saw was a way to explain the love this relationship was formed on. We picked a beauty, mostly yellow as that is his favourite colour, with a dash of blue and green through the middle.

meng ring 4 72 dpi

On the outside of the band there is a little hole for the light to sneak in and a hint that there’s a whole lot more going on inside the band than there is on the outside. A little secret between 2 lovers. A personal tale, told through jewellery they can pass onto their kiddies and grand kiddies.

An awesome ring for 2 friends that have shown me all kinds of awesome as both individuals and now as sweethearts.

I hope this encourages more people to really think about what their loved ones mean to them. Choose a ring that says this. Choose a ring that’s handmade. Choose to support Australian design and craftsmanship.

Inspiration

Today I came across a really interesting little article about geometric tattoos and all of a sudden I had these little light bulbs warming up inside my head.

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Aside from my love of geometry, maths, facets and angles, I can see the intrigue these tattoos have and feel a bit of pencil on paper time is headed my way after viewing them. I wonder what jewellery designs will eventuate from this?
Stay tuned!

 

 

My first sale on Etsy

Woohoo! What a great feeling! My first Etsy sale!

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 8.07.08 PMMy awesome first Etsy customer is a lovely lass from Italy who is a big Kristen Stewart fan and wanted to get her hands on a set of the Rock Rings.

Let’s hope this is the first of many more to come.

Thank you Etsy and thank you stylin’ ladies of Italy 🙂