As a blogger, you always remember your devoted readers–those who have been reading since the very beginning and continue to be loyal “likers, commenters, cheerleaders”. One of those special people for me would have to be Aleda–she has been reading my blog for years! Her loyalty has evolved into buying many pieces from my virtual inventory page, which has really grown her collection. She most recently began her journey into design. Aleda traveled from Virginia to Tennessee for an intense jewelry school training from the New Approach School for Jewelers where she completed the Comprehensive Bench Jeweler program. Fun fact: this school is minutes from my house, so I also got to meet up with her before her last day. Her line of jewelry called Always, Aleda just recently launched, along with her website with new pieces being added as they evolve and become a part of her realm. Let’s get to know Aleda’s story more:
Quite a few! I have a number of waxes and castings in progress at the moment. I am working on a Mythical Beast Medallion line that I’m really excited about, and a couple of “old-timey” pieces that I am really loving. All of these current in progress pieces will have enameling on them, as well. I’m toying with a few different kinds of enamel, and enjoying the process as I figure out which system I like best. I’m also working on a cuff bracelet and earrings to go with the rest of my dragonfly pieces.
Gosh! I’ve always loved jewelry. Even when I didn’t own any! And I’ve been pestering jewelers with questions for probably 20 years. I think I really started wanting to make it myself when I decided to knot a stand of pearls for each of our female family members when my husband and I got married. I loved it, but wanted to do more. So I busted out my kiln and got some PMC silver. And made waaaay too much with it! Most of those pieces have been given away, but I still have a few leftovers.
Then I started working for Quinn’s Goldsmith, in Woodbridge, Virginia, and had new jewelers to question! About five years in to working for Terry, I finally told him I wanted to be a jeweler/designer. So he told me to go to school, and here we are!
This is easy to answer! There are two of them! The first one, is when I first started drawing things up, and a jewelry friend said, “I want that!” Because you know it’s hard to impress the pros!
The second, is when I finally had that piece finished perfectly. I brought it in to show Terry before shipping, and he asked to carry the design in his store. That was a huge moment for me. Truly. I felt like the whole world had shifted a bit, and I had finally figured out what I was supposed to be doing. And that feeling hasn’t left me!
I am working on adding more products. Some that are “ready to ship” as well as more of the made to order pieces. And I really want to continue working with enamel. I really think there’s something really beautiful about that art form. You get to paint on gold! And it truly means that each piece is unique, which is something that’s important to me. I’d also love to do more custom work for clients. Building the pieces they see in their minds is an honor! I wouldn’t be upset if another store or two wanted to start carrying a few pieces, though!
There are four, really. My wedding ring. It looks absolutely nothing like the original, which got a bit mangled in a door. So a few years later, my husband and I re-designed it, and the jewelers at work did an excellent job putting it together with the original stones. (This was before I went to school.) It has white, yellow and rose gold, so I’m always matching! My coffee bean charm!! I really just made this one originally for myself, and it has surprised me by being really popular! It is by far one of my favorite pieces, though, and I wear it every day. My great grandmother’s wedding ring. My Poppy gave it to me before my husband and I got married. I don’t wear it often, because it really is quite delicate, but I love the way it has been passed down, and remembering the conversation we had when he passed it to me always warms my heart. Finally, my snake ring! I’ve always had a fondness for snakes in jewelry, especially historically, and this little guy also brings back a lot of childhood memories. I also put about 8 hours into carving the wax for this one, so it really was a labor of love.
This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Always, Aleda.
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Q & A with Aleda of Always Aleda