SNEAK: THE CREATIVE PROCESS February 01 2017

I am often asked by my customers ( that’s you, dear reader!!!!) about where the jewellery we sell at Lustre comes from. This question is often followed by whether I create or curate. 

Lustre initially started as a brand that curated pieces and designs from super talented artisans that worked in tiny ateliers and workshops in different parts of the world. We have grown over the years to designing the products we sell. The challenge with this process is two-fold:
1. How to take a design inspiration and have it crafted into a finished piece of jewellery in an atelier half way across the world, without abandoning my family life, and
2. How to translate the design I have in my head into a wearable piece of jewellery that I can retail for under Singapore  $300. In case you don't know that - Lustre prides itself in creating jewellery that uses natural gemstones for a fraction more than you would spend on plastic, or resin, or crystal jewellery that you could buy elsewhere. THAT is our USP.
So this time, I decided to write a blog post outlining the creative process, and in doing so giving you a small peek behind the scenes at the creation of our upcoming line Railroad. 


THE IDEAS
Inspiration comes from anywhere, and you will often find me hastily typing notes into my phone before the idea literally flies away. I especially love it when I am not even thinking of a design or collection, and the idea comes to me organically, whilst doing something else. Usually, this happens on my balcony, with a coffee in my hand. While those moments are sheer bliss, they also explain why I can be a solitary creature. 
Since my inspiration is largely spontaneous, I tend not to take too much notice of what’s currently “IN”, and prefer to focus on designs that are both ageless and timeless. I love the fact that the same piece of jewellery that will be worn by a 20 something-year-old, is also bought, worn and rocked by my older clientele. For me,  that’s success.

For the Railroad collection, I was idly flicking through Pinterest ( a.k.a., the black hole of time) on my phone when I came across this photo. It showed an old railroad spike, that was crafted into a knife. I loved the sheer simplicity of the spike, and a little bit of research showed that it has become something that people try and find and collect to turn into all sorts of things.  The idea was born, and I decided to do away with the head of the spike and create a minimalist pair of bracelets that could be worn alone, or with each other, or with anything else I owned.

THE DRAWINGS
Out came the paper and pencils, and I sent off the first drawing to my trusty guy who works with Brass and metal alloys. These, had to be rugged, really rigid, and not succumb to physical pressure. Hence, Silver, was out. After much to-ing and fro-ing we decided on brass with just a little bit of silver in it, to make the cuffs.  This alloy proves to be  strong, it takes to gold plating well, and most of all its difficult to bend. All of which worked perfectly for these cuffs.

 

THE PROTOTYPES
2 long months of photos of CAD and copper prototypes went by.  All of them were wrong. Too thin, too flimsy, too cheap looking. We raised the height of the cuff, we adjusted the sizing, and made more prototypes. 
DELIVERY & PHOTOGRAPHY
I finally received a single perfect sample and had him make me the pieces. Once all my pieces are delivered, the photography and post production process starts, the collection gets given a final name, and gets launched on social media and gets listed on our lovely lovely website. 

 

THEN, and only THEN am I happy!

Railroad Cuffs will be available on our site from 12 August onwards.

Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery