My Piece of the JQ: Don’t Let the Memories Fade
Jewellery and gemologist, Lora Leedham, remodels sentimental jewellery so that memories can live on from one generation to another. Read more articles from JQ Life Issue 8 on our website.
I’ve always had a strong interest in gemstones. As a child, I used to collect gems, attempting to collect as many different stones as possible. It was this love of gemstones, combined with a passion for design, that led me to become a jeweller in the first place.
After a few years of working in the Jewellery Quarter, I saw that there was a gemology course that I could undertake. This was key in my development. As a gemologist, I am able to advise customers on important matters such as the durability of stones, treatments for a variety of gems, the different cuts available, as well as the ability to offer them gems they have never even heard of. With people being more aware of unusual stones, I am able to aid them and direct them to ethically sourced gems which is really important to me.
In all of my years as a jeweller, I have witnessed many sentimental stories and reasons behind my customers wanting jewellery created or remodeled. The rings pictured below are from a mother and father. The father had recently passed away and the mother herself didn’t have long. They decided to make three rings for each of their daughters from the original two rings, including the repurposing of the gemstones. I managed to create the rings in time, just before the mother sadly passed away, allowing her to see her daughters wear the rings that were once a piece of her own jewellery collection.
Another beautiful story that comes to mind is that of a daughter being able to be with her father on her wedding day, not physically, but sentimentally. The father used to be a pawnbroker and had a multitude of gemstones lying in a box, which the daughter brought in. She picked those that stood out to her, and those that she recalled playing with as a child, along with his favourite gold cufflinks. I was able to remodel her father’s gold cufflinks into earrings, and clean and re-set her chosen gemstones into these for her. She was able to wear the earrings pictured on her big day and have something to remember her father by.
I first got into jewellery remodeling at a time when gold prices started to rise, due to many requests coming in to use old broken jewellery and repurpose them as opposed to allowing them to lie abandoned in a box at the back of a drawer. Remodeling enables me to see an emotion in customers that makes the extra work that goes into the process worth it, from the melting and reshaping of the jewellery to the final touches such as gemstones.
Find out more about Lora Leedham and her jewellery on her website: www.loraleedham.co.uk