We've Found You The Perfect Ring
"I think people these days are more and more embracing of their individuality and many customers want their engagement and wedding rings to reflect this".
Behind every piece of jewellery is a talented designer, a designer that believes in the beauty and magic of uniqueness, and this designer certainly knows how to create a truly extraordinary piece, whether it be for an engagement, a wedding, or just because. This week Mr Theodore spoke with renowned Melbourne jewellery designer Cushla Whiting, and she takes us into her world of astonishing designs and glistening stones, as well as gives us an insight into wedding jewellery trends for this coming year.
Tell us a little about Cushla Whiting.
My love of jewellery design evolved organically from my background in architecture along with our family’s history in the diamond industry. Designing jewellery combined a love of beautiful gemstones with my passion for architecture and design, just on a smaller scale. Working with jewellery designer Hannah Martin in London was a great inspiration for me, and upon returning to Australia my siblings, Anna, Hamish and I started Cushla Whiting Jewellery. I just started out by designing engagement rings that I would like to wear, and before long we seemed to attract our own market of people looking for something a bit more unique.
Hamish’s extraordinary knowledge and passion for gemstones was inherited by our Gemmologist dad Peter, who had a wholesale diamond business in New Zealand. Hamish studied diamond grading at the HRD in Antwerp and graduated as a Gemmologist at the GIA while working for the family diamond business in Auckland. He then travelled the world sourcing our collection of unique coloured stones and diamonds.
With Anna’s strong business sense, we have evolved into a specialist in the fine jewellery market, with our greatest success being our bespoke engagement rings as they truly reflect our client’s personality and wishes. We are so happy to be able to offer our customers the ring they always dreamed of but had never seen before. When we hand over the rings to an excited and slightly nervous couple at the end of the bespoke process and see how their faces light up when they realise they will be walking out with a beautiful ring just as unique as them, it’s the best feeling!
What is unique about your range of jewellery?
Probably that our designs stand out for being a little less conventional or predictable maybe? People usually find us because they are looking for something different with a bold, timeless simplicity and character. It’s a play with proportion, colour, unique cut and of course the endless quest of sourcing the perfect stone for our customers. Nobody we know has an eye for gemstones like Hamish; He’s obsessed! In a good way.
A beautiful part of the consultation process is exploring the quality of stones with our customers. Many people aren’t familiar with gemstones when they first see us, and we enjoy this process of realisation. Understanding the magic of the superior brightness and balance of light return in a perfectly cut diamond, the beautiful inclusions in Muzo emeralds, the vibrant glowing red of rubies, the depth and complexity found in sapphires and the colour change in a spinel.
There are layers of complexity to each gemstone type, things that make each unique and special. People will naturally gravitate towards a particular gemstone, one that they feel fits them and their relationship.
For those brides and grooms–to–be who don’t want to head down the path of more traditional engagement rings, what are some alternative designs you suggest they consider?
We really love the less traditional cut of diamonds like hexagon, shields or kites to go along a wide range of unusually shaped side stones. Also choosing deep-sea coloured sapphires or the beautiful silver greys of a spinel with rose gold is a less conventional yet very timeless choice. Some customers prefer large bold stones, which are more of a statement piece, but it’s such a personal process to find the unique piece for each client and couple.
For the grooms, we have a growing range of unique men’s bands such as our internal knife-edge band with a rose gold exterior and white gold interior, our black plated bands and our hammered or faceted bands. All of our designs are made bespoke so that you can have a ring that is perfect for you and your individuality.
We have also created bespoke signet rings for a couple; it’s a beautiful traditional yet unusual choice, which we like to show in a modern, relaxed way. A crest can tell a very personal story of a couple and capture a symbol significant to them. It’s a perfect alternative for a wedding band or can be added. Stay tuned for some stunning designs coming out soon…
We also really like to match rings with a handmade pair of cufflinks for our grooms or brides too if it suits their style.
What are some of your most popular designs?
At the moment people are crazy for our unheated green sapphires, and teal sapphires in geometric designs like our BILLI, TILDA and MATILDA rings as well as our three stones designs like RUTHIE and INDI which use unusual shield and kite shaped diamonds as side stones.
For the guys, all of our men’s bands are popular! Some men prefer the simple, classic designs and others love the rings with texture or subtle details. Rose gold and blackened gold is popular right now. Being able to choose a design and have it customised is important to our customers.
In what direction do you see engagement and wedding jewellery heading?
Well, firstly we’re so thrilled with recent support to same-sex marriage. It’s been a genuinely important matter to us and a great relief to find the majority of Australia agrees. We’ve been dealing with many customers who had to go overseas to get married, and we’re happy to know that now we can celebrate everyone’s union in this country. We think this will likely affect the jewellery market in bringing new ideas and styles for rings. Something we very much look forward to.
I think people these days are more and more embracing of their individuality and many customers want their engagement and wedding rings to reflect this. They look for timeless pieces they want to look at for life, which becomes part of their stories and memories. Rings that perfectly symbolise them and their uniqueness as well as the bond to the person they choose to spend their life with. It’s significant for us to find the perfect pieces for our customers and such an honour to create these for them.