Arts & Culture
by Aspect County

Inside Gold Arts

Inside Gold Arts


Q: How did you come to work in jewellery design?
A: The jewellery trade is something I have always been familiar with, as my family founded Gold Arts in 1979.

I started working in the shop half a day every Saturday at the age of 12. Doing odd jobs, gifting wrapping, listening & learning to the sales assistants about jewellery and also how to sell. It was around when I was 15 that I asked if I could get in the workshop and learn how to make jewellery. Alas, at this time the workshop was primarily a place for men, so my offer was refused. However this didn’t stop me. I looked for short courses and ways in which to gain experience in the trade. The short courses I did were so inspiring and really built my confidence at that point. I then got some work experience on the bench one summer at another reputable jeweller’s. That was an amazing and eye opening experience into life on the jewellers bench. I knew then that this was something I had the ability to do and what more, I absolutely loved it! At Uni I studied 3D design, specialising in metal. My love and understanding of the materials grew and I became more knowledgeable on how to craft and create forms. I was about to go into the trade when I was offered an apprenticeship position at Gold Arts, seeing as it is a family business it made sense that I should work with my family and not as competition in another jewellers, of which there are many in The Lanes.

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Q: Where do you find your inspiration?
A: I’ve gained inspiration from all over in the past. Whether it be from the texture and colour of abandoned metallic objects such as rusting water tanks on The Downs, or from natural forms such as feathers and shells. Being so close to the sea, it is impossible not to be inspired by the ocean. Brighton is famous for many things, the beach being one of them, and more lately the Brighton Blue’, which is something we are incorporating into current designs. I feel strongly connected to where I am from, and proud to be a true Brightonian!

For some time now, my core inspiration and goal is that of finding the perfect ratio within a design. The Golden Ratio’ being something that has intrigued me and thus initiated this search for the ideal proportions within a piece of jewellery, in order to create a design that looks proportionately perfect. From the various sized stones that are set within a ring, to the thickness of the shank, to the height of the setting and the way in which the stones are set. I like a fluid and clean design that draws the eye to it from all angles. 

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Q: What is your typical day?
A: My typical day would start with checking the price of gold on that day, as it changes daily. The morning’s are then usually spent going through what we buy in and picking out any pieces that are of interest and also may require attention. Antique pieces for example may need restoration. The ability to repair and restore jewellery to it’s original state I believe is essential when it comes to jewellery design, as you gain a lot of insight into how pieces are constructed and therefore how to go about making things up. After this I would look into what made to orders we have on the go and spend the afternoon speaking to customers, getting the details and specifications of what they’re after in order to go about designing and creating the piece. This whole process is something quite magical as an idea is manifested into reality. Then there are the shops that need to be stocked with all the various jewellery that is required to make a complete jewellers. Gold Arts have four shops in total along the south coast that all need stocking. Two shops in Brighton, one in Chichester and one in Eastbourne. They need various pieces including exclusive Gold Arts designs and being a manufacturing jeweller’s, we are able make up a considerable amount of our jewellery entirely in house.

Q: What tends to be the most popular piece of jewellery to design?
A: Engagement rings tend to be the most popular piece of jewellery, especially at the moment when everyone is trying to get married whilst they can! Thereafter, it’s wedding bands and eternity rings. I enjoy working to customer’s particular design brief and the challenge to achieve the idea they have. These one off bespoke items are most exciting as you start from scratch to create something that is to be worn and cherished forever. The significance behind these pieces is often very personal and so it’s important to listen to exactly what the customer is looking for in order to get it spot on.

Q: What piece of jewellery do you most treasure and why?
A: My most treasured piece of jewellery is my grandmother’s ring. It’s a very simple 18ct yellow gold 3 stone trilogy ring, with an oval ruby centre and two round cut brilliant diamond’s on either side. The sentimental attachment to this ring is not just because it belonged to my late grandma Minnie, but also because my father Doug Newman made it. He gave it to me and since then it’s become my most important piece of jewellery. The beauty of jewellery is it’s power to look as good as it did on the day it was made. Customer’s are usually so stunned and amazed at how their old pieces, or family heirlooms can be made to look shiny and brand new again. This is so satisfying to see the joy on their faces.

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Q: What would your advice be for someone starting out?
A: My advice for anyone starting out would be to follow your dream and never give up. It can be a tough trade to get in to initially as requires skill and understanding of the various metals and gemstones. But I believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to and that anything is possible, within reason of course. Jewellery design is actually something that is for everyone. If you have a design in mind, or want to make something from your jewellery that you no longer wear, then it can be re-fashioned and modelled into a design of your choice. The fact that jewellery can be melted down and made into another piece of jewellery, whether it be a ring, pendant, bracelet, or earrings, the possibilities are endless!