Who is Debra Fallowfield, the contempory jeweler behind the brand?
I’ve been creative for as long as I remember – I was always making stuff as a kid and gluing sequins on EVERYTHING! It was like I was born with glitter in my veins (or on my brain!). Either way, it seems as if destiny steered me towards becoming the jeweller I am today.
Describe to us your design aesthetic.
In just a few words, I would say, Bold, beautiful, bespoke.
I find beauty in imperfection, or the Japanese term “Wabi-Sabi” (where nothing is perfect). Often I will deliberately set uneven gems on either side of a central stone ring because life is not even – and differences should be celebrated!
My jewellery has fluidity and flow and a slightly organic look, but it’s not too organic! I’m a Gemini, so I mix rough with smooth and delicate, almost vintage-like settings with bold contemporary ones!
I have a hard time describing my design aesthetic, as I wouldn’t say I like putting myself or others inboxes. I guess it’s quite free-spirited in a sense, but exceptionally well made and crafted (as I am passionate about quality!). I’ve never followed trends, and I never will!
What does being an ethical jeweller mean to you?
Well, I guess the obvious answer is that I source all my materials – be it gold, silver or gems from reputable, fair trade sources.
But I think it has to be a mindset and I feel it is something you are continually working with like, “how can I be even more ethical?”. It’s about being present and conscious about striving to be as “clean” as you possibly can.
Here in New Zealand, I was the first jeweller to use moissanite* in my work. It’s an excellent “diamond alternative”; all the bling, durability, and lifetime sparkle, without the diamond industry’s price or questionable business practices.
Being an ethical jeweller has always been the way I have worked. I was ethical LONG before it was a trendy hipster thing to be!
I also do a lot of remodeling work for customers – reusing their heirloom old jewellery and creating something new.
Reuse, recycle – I am all about that. Hell, I even wash my snapback bags and reuse them!
What’s the difference between man-made and natural gemstones?
Natural gemstones have two origins: mineral (found in rocks, pebbles and gravel) and organic (found in animals and plants), both of which allow natural evolution of the stone itself.
Synthetic gemstones are formed in laboratories and are man-made, while natural gemstones are sourced from all over the planet – mines, seabeds and the like. Their structure is, however, similar to that of their natural counterpart.
The sole difference is man-made gemstones are grown and manufactured in laboratories under controlled environments. In these controlled environments, all of the chemicals and minerals that are present in the natural environment are introduced into an environment at the right temperature and pressure levels, allowing man-made gemstones to “grow.”
Because of their growth within a controlled environment, as opposed to the chaotic and random natural world. Man-made gemstones usually have fewer inclusions and a more vivid colour than their natural counterparts because ‘impurities’ have not been allowed to impact the stone.
I use both natural and man-made stones – each has their arguments for and against -it is somewhat involved! But I am more than happy to explain it to anyone willing to listen!
The bottom line for me is about “choice” and giving my customers the option to choose what is best for them. My job is to educate the consumer that you have options.
What goes into your process of making custom jewellery?
All my work is handcrafted from start to finish by myself (with a little help from my partner). Nothing is designed or made by CAD (computer-aided design), so it will always be “one of a kind.” I pride myself on my bespoke work and client commissions. Having created many pieces for discerning clients worldwide. I strive to provide an exciting, fun, and downright easy process.
Debra’s tips on getting a custom ring made.
- Have an idea of what you like and what you don’t want. Try to reference styles of mine you like, colours you like, widths you love. What type of surfaces- shiny, brushed, organic. Also, the kind of material you like the look of, rose gold, yellow gold, white gold.
- Be flexible with the end result expectation. Remember, I will be creating a one-off for you. Hence it will not be EXACTLY the same as the one you saw.
- Custom work is all about communication, be clear and direct!
- Be realistic about the design: Please understand that I am not going to make anything that is not within my design aesthetic.
- Define your budget: it always helps to know how much you will be spending. Once again, be realistic. While I can often “tweak” things to work within your budget, I won’t be able to perform miracles.
- Tell me about you (or the person it is being created for). Let me get to know you and create jewellery that reflects your personality. Are you sporty, funky, romantic, ethical, boho? Do you like green, blue, violet?
- Size: if it’s a ring, please let me know the finger size.
Once we establish some basic ideas, I will draw a few quick sketches. Making sure we are on the same page. Then the magic begins!