When meeting new designers for engagement ring clients, I always make sure I can see their other designs and collections to get a real feel of their aesthetic and taste, and I use it as a guide to give me an understanding of how a potential bespoke engagement ring would look in their world. Most jewellers can design and make most styles - someone who works with bold, chunky silhouettes for example would be perfectly capable of making something delicate and tiny - but it wouldn't really feel authentic to their style. I therefore 'matchmake' designers and clients very carefully based on a true knowledge of the designer's aesthetic, resulting in a ring that clearly possesses the essence of the particular designer's style.
Capturing the world of jewellery designer Arabel Lebrusan this week it was clear from the outset how she translates her trademark aesthetic - light, delicate filagree designs - to her engagement ring collections; making them distinctly 'hers' in look and feel.
Coming originally from Spain via studying in Holland, Arabel's signature style reflects her heritage. A delicate latticework made up of tiny fine scrolls of metal are painstakingly inserted into her sweeping silhouettes by traditional craftsmen in Spain, an interesting reinterpretation of a classic and underused craft.
Ethical values are at the heart and soul of her creations, with fairmined and recycled gold used and traceable diamonds sourced, as well as ensuring fair and ethical practises are used throughout every aspect of the business.
Arabel's main collections, made up of bold cuffs, large earrings and wide flat rings, shows this style off to maximum effect; the filagree allows a larger surface area to be covered whilst keeping the weight light and easy to wear. The Palm earrings (below) are a stand-out piece, super-light to wear yet bold in silhouette.
In her engagement ring designs, Arabel takes some of the graphic elements from her mainline collection and distills them down into miniature form - tiny beading around the edge of a ring, delicate engraving, and cut out detail creating clever patterns in the negative space.
It is for this reason that her wedding bands and engagement rings are so popular - those wanting a 'vintage' style often mean they want something that steps away from a stark 'minimalist' style, with detail, shape and texture added in a subtle way that adds a tactile element to the design and stops it from feeling too plain.
Eternity bands are meticulously micro-set allowing the diamonds to shine, and textured bands stack well against solitaire rings. The engagement rings have engraved patterned bands, or hand-carved detailing, resulting in a pretty and romantic feel.
I'm often asked where to buy 'vintage style' engagement rings that aren't actually vintage - for fear of weak joins and losing the stones - and Arabel's designs would answer this question easily - the level of detail and craftsmanship is beautiful and feels like a throwback to the curls and scrolls of antique jewellery not seen much today in contemporary jewellery design. Arabel manages to bring this traditional styling into the 21st century in a beautiful way, creating modern, feminine and elegant jewellery with a sense of history and craftsmanship - honouring its classic aesthetic roots.
Working from her studio just outside London - strewn with a mass of greenery, collectable vintage glass, vintage Spanish reference books and piles of beautiful filagree samples - she designs by hand and sketches ideas, or meets with clients for bespoke consultations. A new project involves delicate wedding jewellery, with engravable skinny pendants on fine chains and matching earrings.
A strong romantic feel runs throughout all of Arabel's work, and the intricate detail and sculptural feel lends a tactility and warmth to her pieces that more austere designs can sometimes lack. Simple and pretty at first glance, yet intricately and expertly made with an immense level of detail, Arabel is a unique talent in the jewellery world, and backed up with her ethical approach to her work she is ticking a lot of boxes for the modern woman.
To see more of Arabel Lebrusan's work or to make an appointment for a bespoke consultation, visit her site here: arabellebrusan.com.
All images by Emma Hare Photography, emmahare.com.