"What’s not to love about fine jewellery pieces?"
Pamela Lauz said, when I asked her what appealed to her in the trade.
"They are miniature sculptures crafted of precious metals and beautiful gems that people wear and enjoy everyday. They are also treasures passed on to the next generation. "
As one of Toronto's notable jewellery designers, creating something covet-worthy is all in a day's work for Lauz, but she may also leave you coveting her job—apparently, she wanted to be a jewellery designer all of her life.
"I truly enjoy all stages of jewellery creation, from collaborating with our clients to create a design that encapsulates their visual dreams, to crafting a miniature sculpture that will be worn comfortably and fit seamlessly into their lifestyle. I also take great pleasure and pride in personally sourcing that special gem that will add extra meaning to the creation."
That's two uses of the phrase 'miniature sculpture' so far. But instead of a solitary sculptor, sitting in her studio struggling alone to craft a masterpiece, much of Lauz's work revolves around other people. She will take a client's old treasure and rework it to their specifications, or create something utterly new for them from scratch.
"Each custom piece is the result of a collaboration that realizes a client’s creative dream."
"The creation of our custom designs involve several revisions where details are thoughtfully considered until we arrive at a design that exceeds our client’s expectations," explains Lauz.
So how exactly does one go about creating a 'miniature sculpture' in metal and precious stones?
"The creation of each jewellery design follows a different process. Some begin to take form as wax carvings while others are created by forging metal. Once a wax carving is cast in metal, it may require additional fabrication and assembly. Gemstones are then carefully secured in place."
You can't make great jewellery without knowing a thing or two about goldsmithing and gemology and she has studied both: at San Francisco's Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts and at the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad. She complemented this glittering education with a few years of apprenticeship work in various jewellery studios before hanging out her own (polished, elegant) shingle in 2008. Before that, she worked as an engineer in the software industry—a career which she says helped prepare her for the business side of her work.
"As a designer, I build on my knowledge and expertise of both goldsmithing and gemology to create the ideal design for our clients. I hold our clients’ aesthetic preferences and functional requirements in high regard while helping them select the most suitable metal and gemstones to incorporate into jewellery that will be enjoyed for years to come," she explains.
Business aside, this is art we're talking about, so it seems only reasonable to take a look at Lauz's inspirations, the most obvious of which is architecture, something she says is "in many ways, the ultimate design manifestation."
"To me, a well designed building is an amazingly complex sculpture whose form enhances its surrounding landscape, while facilitating the lives of those who inhabit it.
"I am inspired by the many aesthetic and functional feats accomplished through these grandest of creations," she says.
"I love to travel and explore great buildings, both ancient and modern. I also enjoy attending lectures on architecture that teach me the history of a given building including the challenges overcome during its development."
While I work in a much, much smaller scale, successful architecture drives me to create jewellery that is visually stunning and very comfortable, whose design and solid structure will stand the test of time."
Looking at her various shining creations, it's fairly safe to assume that Lauz doesn't draw much of her inspiration from Gothic architecture. Her pieces are all very sleek and modern looking, and the two influential buildings she mentioned to me were Bilboa's Guggenheim Museum and the Michael Lee Chin Crystal portion addition of the Royal Ontario Museum. According to Lauz, the curvy silver Spanish museum inspired her 'Solstice' cocktail ring, while the ROM eventually led to her stackable 'Facets & Iris' rings.
Of course, the client who commissions a custom piece cannot help but act as inspiration, but there are also other ways of being immortalized in metal and stone.
"I’m inspired by many people around me and both our signature and custom designs are created to complement and enhance the lives of our clients,"
"Our latest signature collection, Blossom, welcomes the arrival of my two baby nieces, born two weeks apart this past August. After adoring my four wonderful nephews, I finally get a chance to create an entire line especially for baby girls. It is my dream that these tiny and whimsical pieces become the first jewellery a little girl receives and cherishes for many years to come."
So why not visit Pamela's store and find something for yourself or your loved ones to cherish for the rest of their lives? You can find the store on 233 Carlaw Avenue and also make sure you visit Pamela's website and indulge in even more shiny wearable art sculptures and follow her blog to find about new and upcoming collections.