Jewellery makes the perfect gift for any special occasion, no matter what the naysayers think about it. Giving someone the gift of jewellery often gets mocked as being cliché, expected, and tacky, but when that jewellery is a piece of work indicative of a connection between two people it can never be wrong. What is wrong is deciding to purchase jewellery that is designed, mass produced, and sold by large chain stores that lack that little something extra to make a piece special. The designers at Creole Jewellery Design ensure that such a scenario never happens.
When we say designers in talking about Creole Jewellery Design, we’re talking about one person and her son, who make this company special. Creole Jewellery Design has been in business in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, since 1991 and was founded by Creole Carmichael who operates the company as the primary, goldsmith, platinumsmith, and designer. Working alongside her son Trent, Creole has been designing jewellery unique to each of her customers for over 20 years.
The average jewellery shopping experience consists of browsing a selection of mass produced sets behind cases in a store, where one member of a gaggle of associates will eventually descend to assist in finding the right piece for that special someone. To Creole this doesn’t appear to sit right as the way to approach something as important as jewellery.
Customers at Creole Jewellery Design looking for a piece can bring their ideas into the store with them and sit down with Creole and her son in person. Rather than having to choose from someone else’s designs, their customers are invited to be a part of the design process. Whether customers are looking for an engagement set, or want an heirloom created they will find willing partners in Creole and Trent.
The design process at Creole Jewellery Design starts with this sit down consultation. Customers can share their vision and budget with Creole and Trent. No project moves forward until customers are happy with the concept put forth. Once that is settled, the project is in the talented hands of Creole and Trent who will combine the customer’s vision with their skills to design a truly unique piece of jewellery.
A different approach to working with customers isn’t the only thing that sets Creole Jewellery Design apart fromothers. Vision and talented hands can only achieve so much in jewellery design. Sometimes the assistance of technology is needed to ensure that a piece is designed to withstand the test of time.
Creole employs 3D CAD technology to provide customers with the most accurate representation possible for each design. Hand sketches are nice, but with the 3D CAD technology Creole Jewellery Design can show customers an accurate portrayal of their design concept before moving forward.
High tech design concepts are not the only modern systems in place at Creole Jewellery Design. 21st century society has become increasingly concerned with the footprint it is leaving on the planet, and Creole Jewellery Design stands alongside those concerned citizens by making every effort possible to produce unique and beautiful pieces in a responsible manner.
A great deal of attention was brought to the subject of “conflict diamonds” during the late 20th and early 21st century. The continent of Africa has long been devastated by strife, and its rich natural resources were often exploited by all sides. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s diamonds come from Africa, but during much of the late 20th century the diamonds used in jewellery around the globe were harvested by individuals taken captive by warlords, armies, and other combatants.
These conflict diamonds were harvested at the cost of human lives and sold to finance insurgency, war, and devastation. In response, jewellers around the world started looking deeper into the source of their precious gems. Creole Jewellery Design commits itself to using only those precious gems that are ethically sourced and takes particular pride in using Canadian diamonds whenever possible.
On top of efforts to use ethically sourced gems, Creole Jewellery Design strives to use local goods and services whenever possible. The company derives 95% of project components from goods produced in its own studio and recycles and refines old metals at every opportunity.
Creole Jewellery Design also carries designer lines and Creole offers her own unique designs for sale, but the custom creation process lies at the heart of the business. Creole holds a journeyman certification from the province of British Columbia and has trained extensively during her career with precious gems and setting, CAD design and platinum fabrication. Complemented with her studies in science, she provides her customers with the best possible product.
Creole believes jewellery design can and should represent the intersection of art and science, requiring a jewellery to be both technician and artist. In her own words: “Understanding structure is the base of all jewellery design. It is architecture on a miniature scale. Knowledge of metallurgy and gemstone/mineral properties is essential. Experience and understanding of the combination of all of these is what separates a good jewellery designer from a great jewellery designer. I design architecture on a miniature scale – in Technicolor – with the most precious of materials.”
Jewellery stores are a dime-a-dozen, but jewellers who take great pride in creating their own unique pieces are not. Creole Carmichael strives to provide her customers with not only the best pieces from her own mind, but also to help them take a vision from their own mind and make it reality for a loved one.