5 Canadian Jewellery Designers Showcase Time-Honored Artisanship
At a time when so much is mass produced, some jewellery artists are staying the course of tradition with a purposeful process of handcrafting unique works. Fusing fresh designs and materials with time-honoured gold-smithing and gem-cutting methods, these five talented Canadian jewellery designers are bringing their imaginative lens to the craft: creating pieces of wearable art, with local roots and an artisanal touch.
Signature: Eclectic charm
Based in: Vancouver, BC
A fusion of medieval, art nouveau, and East Indian styles defines the captivating jewellery of Melissa Caron, a Canadian jewellery designer whose works also blend botanical influences and a passion for dance.
“Everything I create is in constant motion,” comments the artist, who discovered self-expression through dance as a young girl. “Dance is the life essence that infuses each finished piece.”
Growing up with an artist mother, Caron soaked up creative talent from birth. At 19, while on a backpacking trip through Costa Rica, she came upon street jewellers who helped her buy metal, stones, and tools to fashion her first piece of jewellery. This ignited an life-long spark that led her to take a jewellery course, perfecting techniques such as wax carving, soldering, and forging.
Over 25 years later, this passion continues to propel her path. “My craft is my solace, my meditation, and my joy,” she says. “I am forever grateful to have found my passion and to be making this my life’s work.”
Signature: Natural beauty
Based in: Victoria, BC
Working from a riverside studio in beautiful British Columbia, Honica’s thirty-year-long passion for jewellery began with a childhood habit of collecting pretty feathers and stones. Her relationship with the natural world has continued to be a source of inspiration for her unique works.
Every one of her delicate, colourful creations is handcrafted, with each piece of metal or precious stone individually treated. A single component may undergo up to eight hand processes, including tumbling, forging, acid-dipping, patinaed, and many more, before being ready for the final product.
“My love of nature profoundly affects my view of the world and of myself in it,” says the Canadian jewellery designer. “I design jewellery in collections, which I name to reflect their central essence. It is important to me that people enjoy it as a visual and tactile feast.”
Signature: Hand-picked gems with vintage flair
Based in: Toronto, ON
Alexis Smith has been creating jewellery since she was ten years old. Following her lifelong passion, she pursued an education in fine arts and jewellery design, and went on to fulfill dreams of her own studio. “I believe that jewellery should be personal, expressive and comfortable,” she says. A self-described perfectionist, she handcrafts each piece with the ultimate care to detail.
Signature: Modern organics
Based in: Toronto, ON
Organic forms and textures created by nature are an infinite well of fascination and inspiration for Canadian jewellery designer Anne Sportun in Toronto, who believes that shape and form speak a universal language.
“My work is a distillation of the world around me—those things that nurture my soul,” says Sportun, who splits her time between her downtown studio, her flagship boutique on Queen Street West, and her lakeside cottage.
Overseeing every detail, from sketch to prototype, she showcases her artistic vision through traditional gold-smithing techniques and hand-applied textures. Choice gemstones, diamonds, and precious metals are juxtaposed with the irregular nature of organic silhouettes, resulting in pieces that are flawlessly imperfect.
“The tranquillity I find in nature feeds a deep creative well from which I can draw,” she says. “I seek to recreate the subtle dichotomy of nature’s perfect irregularities, and honour that every day is precious.”
Signature: Bold and daring miniature sculptures
Based in: Montreal, Quebec
Miniature sculptures is what Caroline Savoie calls her jewellery: a craft that she has been perfecting for over 20 years. Exploring various forms of art from a young age, the award-winning Canadian jewellery designer has developed an interest in sculpture that led to her unique jewelled creations: dimensional, evocative pieces that embody beauty and elegance.
Entirely handmade in her Montreal workshop, the modern yet timeless designs reveal a creative process balanced with precision and refined technical skill; while her love of precious stones and gems meets a knowledge of both architecture and illustration.