Claire Troughton Fine Jewellery Design


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A sneak peak into a creative jewellery workshop, the stories and work behind our commissions. #onthebenchtoday #myctrocks


By Claire Troughton, Jan 13 2017 12:32PM

You may not have heard of 'Gift of the Year' before or even The Giftware Association, but for those producing or marketing goods in the UK for the home and gift sector it's a big name. The GA have been around for 70 years offering help, advice and support to UK businesses. They run the industry's most prestigious award scheme, crowning the achievements of the most innovative products new to market each year. There are 22 categories covering most of the gift industry including fair trade products, best novelty, gifts under £10, kitchen and dining, home accessories, best pet product, cards and wrap and each receiving hundreds of entries. This year I was delighted to be nominated in the Fine jewellery category for my new 'Lovey Dovey' collection. This hasn't been launched on my site yet, but has been well received by a few key retailers and is set to launch on Not On The High Street in the next few weeks - watch this space! The collection features sentimental jewellery designed to be given at key moments in life, like the twin dove and heart pendant, a perfect gift for a bride on her wedding day. There are hearts that can be personalised with letters and birth stones and the gorgeous dove carrying a heart could denote the birth of a new baby. I'm hoping to upload the full collection soon, but for now here's a sneak preview. Please do leave a comment to let me know what you think.

On 3rd January I was delighted to be informed I had been shortlisted for 'Gift of the Year 2017' along with 6 other companies in the Fine Jewellery category. Samples of the collection then had to be posted off to GA headquarters for live judging. The judging panel consists of a broad cross section of the industry from the quirky local boutique to the UK's most respected department stores. During the rigorous, week long process of judging the judges forensically review and evaluate the submitted product constantly measuring against the criteria and standards. The secret judging room is a hive of activity, thought, discussion, hard work and of course fun! This year there are 27 judges, including a representative from John Lewis and The National Gallery, so even if I don't progress any further I'm delighted to get the chance to show them my work. Keep your fingers crossed for me all the same though! xx

By Claire Troughton, Nov 5 2016 04:36PM

Handmade 18ct white and yellow gold wedding ring with 6 floating diamonds.
Handmade 18ct white and yellow gold wedding ring with 6 floating diamonds.

This stunning wedding ring was made for a customer who had a couple of old-fashioned diamond rings that she didn't want to wear anymore. It was a shame to leave them lying in a drawer, so she commissioned a ring to incorporate all the diamonds into one contemporary wedding ring. The customer wanted a mix of yellow and white gold and so we chose to make the centre band in yellow gold incorporating a white gold setting and the outer 2 bands in white gold with yellow gold settings. This mix of metals meant the ring had to be entirely handmade, rather than constructing in silver and casting in one piece or using CAD. In total the ring had 17 solder joints, which lead to some pretty nervous moments. Firstly each band was made and soldered, then the 3 bands were soldered to each other, then I had to work out where each setting would sit and cut a piece out of the band exactly the right size to drop the setting into. Each setting then had to be soldered in place to join it at each side to the wire band. Soldering is achieved by heating the entire ring with a gas flame until the solder and metal to be joined are at the right temperature to let the solder flow into the gap between the two items, bonding them in place when cooled. Soldering so many joins so closely together meant there wasa risk each time the ring was heated that the other joins would also heat up and cause the settings to move or even worse melt! Thankfully all went to plan and the diamonds just look so stunning in their new home. The ring is approximately 9mm wide and can't fail to catch the eye - a real sparkler!

By Claire Troughton, Oct 14 2016 10:05AM

It's been a while since I exhibited at a wedding fayre, but since many of my customers tell me they struggled to find exciting bespoke wedding ring designs (before finding my site), when I was invited to take part in a new venture and show my rings to the public I jumped at it. Claire Elsey from Bouquet and Bells wedding planning created The Cheshire Wedding Fayre to be a one stop shop for all your wedding needs. The event took place on Sunday 9th October and with over 70 suppliers providing everything from dresses, rings and flowers to a giant tepee to hire and an inflatable pub she certainly put on a great day.

The first job was to create a new stand. Wedding and craft fayres usually just provide a tressle table to each exhibitor and it's hard to make an impact with jewellery. So I had a few trips to Hobbycraft and B&Q to source paint to comlement my logo and polystyrene cakes to build a fake cake, plus Art-Graphics created a lovely vinyl sticker for the stand and hey presto!

I met some lovely brides at the show eager to commission unique wedding rings as well as some fabulous suppliers. I've therefore added a page to my website to share their details plus details from other suppliers I've met over the years. These will only be people who I genuinely feel offer a fantastic service, so hope they will be helpful for anyone planning their big day.

I'll be honest with you. I'm not a fan of wedding photography. People pretending to be late and running up the street, brides held aloft by the groomsmen and just generally people performing tasks that are nothing to do with the wedding. However when I exhibited opposite Dantuma Photography I was blown away by her photos. They just looked so natural and I loved the way she brings in botanical elements. The colours were also really vibrant and just seemed to 'pop'. Plus Amanda is just such a lovely person!

Also exhibiting near me was Bridal re-loved. They sell beautiful pre-owned dresses. On display was a gorgeous vintage Jenny Packham dress which would not look out of place on the set of Downton Abbey. I think I would choose something like this if I was getting married now.

Take a look at my preferred wedding suppliers page for more recommendations.

By Claire Troughton, Jan 28 2016 12:19PM

Well we're nearly at the end of January, a month which for me is all about clearing out the workshop and re-organising things as well as planning for the year ahead and working on new designs. I decided that to help get me organised I needed a new office pin board, but I'm not a fan of these cork boards with a pine edge. I looked around and couldn't find anything that I liked, so I decided to make my own. I thought I'd share the project in case you feel like doing the same.

Firstly I needed a nice frame and fancied something quite retro and ornate. I also wanted something really big. I visited a local charity shop and was lucky enough to find an ugly picture in a gilt frame that was crying out for a make-over. Cost £8.00.

Office pinboard step 1
Office pinboard step 1

Next I needed to paint the frame. I decided to use Annie Sloan chalk paint as I had used it before. It's not the cheapest paint available, but it's so easy to use and covers a variety of surfaces without needing surface preparation. I have a very handy local stockist at 'The Palace' in Chester. The staff are very helpful, which is good news as I was about to buy wall paint rather than what I actaully needed. I was advised I would also need wax to seal the paint and give it a great looking finish.

The paint dried with a very matt finish, but the wax gave the frame a gorgeous sheen and the antique look that I had been searching for.

Finally I needed to add the cork. I searched the internet for the right material. There are lots of suppliers around on ebay, but I needed an extra large piece. The pinboard is approximately A2 size (more than twice as big as the usual cheap cork boards). I also wanted a very dense piece, not something that would crumble after a few uses. I found what I needed at Fred Aldous Ltd. It cost £18.72 including delivery, but was bigger than I needed, so I can complete a further project when I find the right frame. I cut it to size quite easily with a Stanley knife and then glued it straight onto the picture itself using 'No More Nails'.

A few map pins added (in the form of bees of course!) and voila we're getting organised!

By Claire Troughton, Jan 25 2016 10:36AM

You may have noticed a few changes on the website recently. Over the Christmas break we were beavering away to implement the gorgeous new logo that Tonik created for us. The old logo just didn't reflect the individuality of Claire's jewellery. We're very pleased with the result. See the story of the rebrand here.

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