A Q&A with luxury fine jewellery designer Moira Patience
Luxury fine jewellery designer Moira Patience has been creating beautiful custom-designed commissions from her Edinburgh base since 2013. Known for her exquisite craftsmanship and for using rare and unusual gemstones, she will be launching a new ‘ready to wear’ collection this month available at patiencejewellery.com.
Moira talks to Luxury Lifestyle Magazine about her work and inspiration.
What drew you to jewellery design as a profession?
I was a curious and creative child and I think my interest in jewellery was formed in these early years. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of an innate love of detail. I grew up in Scotland’s beautiful Black Isle and I spent much of my time collecting little shells, flowers and beads. I was also always fascinated by the contents of my glamourous mother’s jewellery box.
How did you become a jewellery designer?
In my late teens, I began studying jewellery and metalwork at college and won a prestigious Craftsmanship and Design Award from the National Association of Jewellers in my final year. After graduating in 2007, I made a decision to hone my skills with some of the world’s finest jewellery artisans and was incredibly lucky to work with British jewellery legend Stephen Webster in both London and Spain before fine tuning my skills in Scotland at Hamilton & Inches. I wanted to push my creative boundaries so took the leap into starting my own business in 2013, specialising in crafting beautiful bespoke jewellery for clients.
What are the best things about your job?
I am passionate about rare gemstones and my work gives me the opportunity to source some unique cuts and colours from mines around the world. It really is like discovering hidden treasure on a regular basis! It’s also very rewarding to see customers fall in love with a piece of jewellery that I have designed especially for them. I always take a collaborative approach with my clients, from choosing a stone or design that has a special memory or meaning for them, to crafting a new piece of jewellery using a gem from a family heirloom. I love creating jewellery which tells a story.
What makes your jewellery distinctive?
My jewellery is bespoke and my designs often vary, however I take great pride in creating elegant, timeless piece that can be passed down through generations. All my pieces are handmade from start to finish, plus I only use high quality stones that are ethically sourced whoever possible.
Do you have any favourite pieces from your designs?
Gosh that is a difficult question to answer! I have a personal attachment and remember each piece of jewellery I make, but those with sentimental value stand out. I once made four diamond pendants for four sisters, all crafted using the diamonds from a brooch belonging to their mother who had sadly passed away. It is such a privilege to work on commissions like this. My husband proposed to me with a beautiful, simple diamond set band and so I made myself a very special ring that fits around it with marquise diamonds and a unique padparadscha sapphire – a really good example of my work.
What are your favourite gem stones?
I love coloured gemstones. There are so many different types in the world, some much more valuable than diamonds and, in my view, so much more interesting. A ‘AAAA’ quality Brazilian aquamarine or a rare Morganite with peachy bronze tones that will look divine on all skin tones can really make my heart flutter! I also love sapphires as they come in so many different hues but still have incredible sparkle due to the hardness of the gem.
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
For my one of kind pieces I usually start with the gemstone and then look for ways to show that gem off to its very best with real style. I am always inspired by shapes in nature and feel there is such a connection between jewellery and the earth, since this is where metals and gemstones come from. I love to use little details such a discreet petal claw or hand engraved finish on the band to give each piece the ‘ je n’ais se quoi’ that sets bespoke jewellery apart.
What should people consider when getting bespoke jewellery designed?
Firstly make sure you find a designer or jeweller who has a good reputation. It is likely that a bespoke piece of jewellery is an investment and therefore you need to make sure you are in safe hands. Secondly I would consider your time line. I usually need about six weeks for a relatively simple commission, sometimes more if we are sourcing unusual gemstones or creating quite a complicated design. Thirdly, I would keep an open mind. It is very special to be part of the process, seeing the piece come together, perhaps taking a route you didn’t expect. But that’s is all part of the experience and fun.
If you could design a piece of jewellery for anyone, who would that be and what would you design?
I would absolutely love to design and make a tiara for the Duchess of Cambridge. She is the epitome of style and elegance. I would make it in yellow gold with diamonds and aquamarines in a simple yet whimsical and organic style. I think tiaras are going to make a big comeback so I’m hopeful that I may get a commission from a bride to be in the not too distant future.
What is your personal jewellery philosophy? How do you wear your favourite pieces?
I am a firm advocate of jewellery that last a lifetime, not just for a season or a trend. I want all my pieces to be handed down through generations so I think it is imperative that fine jewellery is well made, classic and timeless in style. Also that it is worn and enjoyed as much as possible.
Do you have a favourite/most treasured piece of jewellery in your own personal collection?
I have several, all very close to my heart. My mother’s ruby and diamond engagement ring bought by my father in the Middle East; my great-grandmother’s gold wedding ring; and a pair of art nouveau inspired chandelier earrings with moonstone and diamonds that I made for myself for my own wedding day.
What was your Plan B profession?
I am a really enthusiastic gardener who can often be located on an allotment in my spare time. If I hadn’t been bitten by the jewellery bug, I would like to think I would of worked with nature in some way – maybe I could of channelled my creativity into become a florist or landscape gardener.
What’s next for your jewellery brand?
My new ‘ready to wear’ collection is just about to launch so I’m very excited to showcase my work and I also have some exciting collaborations in the pipeline.