Meet The Makers: A Masterclass in Jewellery Design

Where science, technique and art meet

Behind each piece of jewellery, there is an untold secret of beautiful artistry and creative vision. From the captivating charm of a luxury piece of jewellery, to the way a diamond sparkles as it catches the light. Each moment is meticulously and expertly crafted by jewellery makers.

We invite you behind the scenes into the step by step process of jewellery design, to meet the makers behind beautiful award-winning jewellery. It’s natural to see jewellery in its glistening finished form, but to appreciate jewellery in all its glory, a light must shine on the creators.

headshot of Kyron Keogh

“Making hand-crafted, beautiful, and life-long pieces of jewellery is one of the reasons I love working in the industry. It’s not possible to rush a piece of jewellery. The care and attention that goes into one ring that you know will be enjoyed for generations to come is like no other feeling."

Kyron Keogh, Managing Director at ROX

headshot of Kyron Keogh

“Making hand-crafted, beautiful, and life-long pieces of jewellery is one of the reasons I love working in the industry. It’s not possible to rush a piece of jewellery. The care and attention that goes into one ring that you know will be enjoyed for generations to come is like no other feeling."

Kyron Keogh, Managing Director at ROX

A design sketching jewellery

Step back in time: a brief history of jewellery design

Let us take you on a journey through the ages, uncovering the innovations that shaped today’s jewellery industry and the evolution of craftsmanship that has inspired the beautiful jewellery we all wear today.

click on the dots or arrows to use the timeline

Jewellery design sketches

The inspiration behind a jewellery design brief

The beauty of a luxury piece of jewellery doesn’t simply lie within expert craftsmanship; it's also the emotion that beholds it. And that's why at the beginning of making a piece of jewellery, inspiration leads to a design brief. 

Behind every jewellery collection is a mood board oozing with inspiration, creativity and passion.

Head of Jewellery Design at ROX, Ailsa Mackie, tells us that inspiration can come from anywhere; it can be from a walk amongst nature, or emerging out of trends from the fashion world. Take the ROX Cosmic collection, inspired by the Aurora Borealis, far galaxies and astrological phenomena in our atmosphere.  

A moodboard full of jewellery ideas

Influenced by the distinctive spiral of comic swirls, speed of light rays and glistening galaxies, ROX launched a collection that takes you out of this world. Going further into the galaxy than popular star and celestial designs, ROX designers took mesmeric swirls of far-flung galaxies and turned them into rings, bracelets and earrings, where stone-set tendrils swirl around a central diamond and shooting stars become dramatic spikes set together to create drop earrings and collars.

Cosmic 1

SPEED OF LIGHT RAYS

Cosmic 2

GLISTENING GALAXIES

Cosmic 3

COSMIC SWIRLS

Jewellery made to your design

Jewellery is often the mark of a special occasion, whether it’s purchasing an engagement ring or celebrating a new chapter in life. Many wish to capture a personal moment with a piece of jewellery that’s unique to them, or the person they’re buying for.

ROX is thrilled to play a part in someone’s unforgettable journey by crafting bespoke jewellery. Area Manager Alan Street shares the ROX experience of a bespoke jewellery design brief.

CREATING A BESPOKE JEWELLERY DESIGN BRIEF

AREA MANAGER ALAN STREET SHARES THE ROX EXPERIENCE

  • Upon first meeting, ROX will be looking to capture the personal story behind the piece of jewellery. As part of the bespoke brief, ROX will look to find out details about the occasion, getting to know who it will be worn by, whether it will be an everyday or evening piece and any existing jewellery it may be paired with.
  • ROX specialists will work towards the budget while understanding the inspiration behind the piece, including any visual influences, such as magazine spreads or Pinterest boards.
  • A diamond consultation will take place to agree on shape, size and quality.
  • Once the customer is happy with the brief, it’s shared with the designer to create something truly unique.
  • The designer gets to work preparing ideas and sketches that meet the brief.
  • Sketches will be shared with the customer and once the final sketch is agreed, ROX will create a CAD (computer-aided design) to visualise how the jewellery will look.
  • To bring the jewellery to life, ROX will print a 3D model for the customer to try on.
  • Now the customer has a feel for exactly what the jewellery will look like, the art of craftmanship begins. The makers painstakingly create all jewellery by hand to deliver something breath-taking for the customer.
  • Lastly, the bespoke jewellery is presented to the customer, with a glass of champagne to celebrate.
headshot of Alan Street

“Interest in bespoke design has definitely built over the past few years. People want statement pieces, something unique. Social media has added to this; people’s pieces are no longer just seen by those at the event but can be seen by anyone in the world.” 

Alan Street, Area Manager at ROX

headshot of Alan Street

“Interest in bespoke design has definitely built over the past few years. People want statement pieces, something unique. Social media has added to this; people’s pieces are no longer just seen by those at the event but can be seen by anyone in the world.” 

Alan Street, Area Manager at ROX

The makers: taking an idea to creation

Behind luxury jewellery there is a talented, in-house team of makers; the unsung heroes who put together stunning collections. Let’s explore the different roles in the creation process.

The designer

THE DESIGNER

The designer is the initial creative force behind a piece of jewellery. They use their experience, imagination and inspiration to conjure up an idea, then bring it to life with pen and paper, or digital drawings. While their work is fuelled by creative freedom and artistry, it is very important that they have a solid understanding of the technical constraints that jewellery construction imposes. They must also make sure the jewellery they design reflects the brand, or the specifications our customers have provided.

When the initial design is approved, gouache colour is added to a separate, full-scale drawing that offers a clear idea of what the finished piece will look like, including what materials will be used. This drawing is used as the model for the rest of the team involved in creating the piece.

The designer

THE DESIGNER

The designer is the initial creative force behind a piece of jewellery. They use their experience, imagination and inspiration to conjure up an idea, then bring it to life with pen and paper, or digital drawings. While their work is fuelled by creative freedom and artistry, it is very important that they have a solid understanding of the technical constraints that jewellery construction imposes. They must also make sure the jewellery they design reflects the brand, or the specifications our customers have provided.

When the initial design is approved, gouache colour is added to a separate, full-scale drawing that offers a clear idea of what the finished piece will look like, including what materials will be used. This drawing is used as the model for the rest of the team involved in creating the piece.

THE MODEL MAKER

While the designer brings the jewellery to life through drawings and computer-aided design programs, the model maker is responsible for taking that artwork and transforming it into a wax representation of the piece. This 3D model allows our experts, as well as the customer, to get a realistic feel for the jewellery before it’s approved and passed onto our craftsmen to be made.

Model maker preparing a ring
Model maker preparing a ring

THE MODEL MAKER

While the designer brings the jewellery to life through drawings and computer-aided design programs, the model maker is responsible for taking that artwork and transforming it into a wax representation of the piece. This 3D model allows our experts, as well as the customer, to get a realistic feel for the jewellery before it’s approved and passed onto our craftsmen to be made.

Gems on a tray ready for inspection

THE GEMOLOGIST

A crucial expert member of the team, the gemologist holds the key to a stone’s worth. They are trained specialists who can identify and grade coloured gemstones (and sometimes diamonds) to establish a host of important information, such as whether the stone is natural, synthetic or has had treatment. Sometimes they can even tell its country of origin by examining it.

Gems on a tray ready for inspection

THE GEMOLOGIST

A crucial expert member of the team, the gemologist holds the key to a stone’s worth. They are trained specialists who can identify and grade coloured gemstones (and sometimes diamonds) to establish a host of important information, such as whether the stone is natural, synthetic or has had treatment. Sometimes they can even tell its country of origin by examining it.

THE DIAMOND CUTTER

The job of the diamond cutter (or diamantaire) is to enhance the brilliance of the stone – that is, its ability to reflect light. The aim is to achieve maximum brilliance, whilst preserving as much of the diamond’s size and weight as possible. The process consists of several delicate steps – including cleaving into and separating the rough stone, sawing and using a phosphor-bronze blade or a laser – and takes a very special kind of skill as well as meticulous attention to detail.

Craftsman cutting diamond in workshop
Craftsman cutting diamond in workshop

THE DIAMOND CUTTER

The job of the diamond cutter (or diamantaire) is to enhance the brilliance of the stone – that is, its ability to reflect light. The aim is to achieve maximum brilliance, whilst preserving as much of the diamond’s size and weight as possible. The process consists of several delicate steps – including cleaving into and separating the rough stone, sawing and using a phosphor-bronze blade or a laser – and takes a very special kind of skill as well as meticulous attention to detail.

A setter placing a diamond into a ring

THE POLISHER

Ensuring the metal shines, the polisher is an expert in refining surfaces to provide the perfect finish. Theirs is a meticulous and highly skilled task, working with powerful machinery while carrying out a delicate process, fashioning the materials to take the existing jewellery piece and see it dazzle on a whole new level.

A setter placing a diamond into a ring

THE POLISHER

Ensuring the metal shines, the polisher is an expert in refining surfaces to provide the perfect finish. Theirs is a meticulous and highly skilled task, working with powerful machinery while carrying out a delicate process, fashioning the materials to take the existing jewellery piece and see it dazzle on a whole new level.

THE SETTER

The setter performs a key part of the process, interpreting the design with creativity and expert skill. Using their microscope and tiny setting tools to work with utmost precision, the setter ensures that the gems are securely placed within the mount, providing integrity to the piece as it begins to take shape. The setter uses meticulous skill – cutting, drilling, chiselling and filing to maximise durability and enhance the beauty of the final jewellery piece.

a diamond being set in a mount
a diamond being set in a mount

THE SETTER

The setter performs a key part of the process, interpreting the design with creativity and expert skill. Using their microscope and tiny setting tools to work with utmost precision, the setter ensures that the gems are securely placed within the mount, providing integrity to the piece as it begins to take shape. The setter uses meticulous skill – cutting, drilling, chiselling and filing to maximise durability and enhance the beauty of the final jewellery piece.

a piece of jewellery being hallmarked

THE HALLMARKER

The hallmarker is the gatekeeper of quality, obsessed with ensuring that only the highest quality metals are used in the jewellery design process. A dazzling jewel deserves a metal of similarly high standards, so whether dealing with gold, silver, platinum or palladium, the hallmarker will assess the metal's quality and only provide a mark of approval if absolutely deserved.

a piece of jewellery being hallmarked

THE HALLMARKER

The hallmarker is the gatekeeper of quality, obsessed with ensuring that only the highest quality metals are used in the jewellery design process. A dazzling jewel deserves a metal of similarly high standards, so whether dealing with gold, silver, platinum or palladium, the hallmarker will assess the metal's quality and only provide a mark of approval if absolutely deserved.

The Finished Piece: The Story Unfolds

When it comes to beautifully made jewellery, we’re often so mesmerised by its elegance and inspired by the emotions it evokes, it can be easy to forget about the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into it. From dazzling diamond earrings and bracelets to breathtaking diamond rings and classic necklaces, the creativity and painstaking craftsmanship of the creators lives in every piece of luxury jewellery.

headshot of Grant Mitchell

“Many people are interested in the craft, especially where there is meaning behind a piece, but ultimately, they trust the process and are excited to see their vision come to life as a finished piece arrives.” 

Grant Mitchell, CEO at ROX

headshot of Grant Mitchell

“Many people are interested in the craft, especially where there is meaning behind a piece, but ultimately, they trust the process and are excited to see their vision come to life as a finished piece arrives.” 

Grant Mitchell, CEO at ROX

To make jewellery that lasts a lifetime it must be made from quality materials — and that’s where hallmarking comes into it. Hallmarking jewellery is the legally required stamp of approval that verifies precious metals used for creating jewellery. It was introduced in 1300, making it the oldest form of consumer protection.

At the home of Diamond and Thrills, we know exactly what it takes to design and construct handmade jewellery that leaves a memorable impact. Each piece is a labour of love, fusing passion and skill into a unique item of jewellery that’s built to bring a lifetime of joy.

The Rox Collections