It took me several years after starting my blog and becoming a part of the jewelry industry before realizing that bridal jewelry, i. e. engagement rings and wedding bands, are often kept in their own realm apart from jewelry in general. Bridal jewelry has their own trends, their own price points, their own features and oftentimes their own designers. There are jewelry designers who specialize in bridal only and even jewelry stores that solely focus on bridal and custom bridal.
Every once in awhile a jewelry designer will explore designing engagement rings and make that crossover, creating both their regular collections and a bridal line. It is so exciting to see when a designer makes that move and how it reflects their personal style they’ve been cultivating since the day they began making jewelry. The opportunity of seeing a brand new bridal line come to fruition recently sprung about with Nichole of Acanthus Jewelry. She has been designing one of the most out-of-the-box, incredibly fascinating jewelry for the past 10 years. Her jewelry has an edge to it, often using skulls, flaming hearts, shields, moons/stars, snakes, eyes…basically all the motifs I’m obsessed with. Each piece is handmade by Nichole in her studio located in Central Minnesota.
Here’s your first exclusive look at the new Acanthus Jewelry bridal line and a little interview I did with Nichole. If you love her style and you’re in the market for an engagement ring or wanting to redesign your current ring, I highly suggest reaching out to her!
1 — How long have you been designing jewelry? Background/History?
I have been hand making jewelry for about 10 years now. I have an arts background, and earned my Master’s in Art History with an emphasis in medieval manuscripts. While working for professional artists and in galleries, I stumbled upon the idea of creating jewelry and was inspired by the idea! It seemed like a wonderful way to be creative and work with my hands again, while still utilizing my art historical background for inspiration. Not to mention owning my own business instead of working for other artists’ vision. So I began to play with techniques and designs. I am self-taught, and over the years have picked up techniques and developed my skills as my design ideas demanded.
2 — Describe your aesthetic? How important was it to incorporate this into your new bridal line?
My aesthetic is very rooted in history, and my inspiration comes from a love of objects with a past and a story. Symbolism of all types is important and my clients really feel strong connections to those that I use, such as sacred hearts, serpents, eyes, etc. I tend to interpret these symbols in a darkly romantic way, with a similar feel to antique originals I’m so inspired by. I also combine this with a handmade tactility, since my work is handmade by me. Historical objects have beautiful patinas and show how they have worn and been loved over time. I want my work to have that same sensibility. It is important to me that my clients know exactly who created their piece, and that I retain that connection between artisan and patron.
3 — Did your personal engagement ring/wedding set influence your bridal line?
My personal engagement set has gone through a few transformations over the last few years, and yes! It was the initial inspirational trial for my bridal line! My original wedding set was purchased before I began making jewelry, so although it did have an antique feel, it was pretty traditional. I’m definitely no longer a traditional jeweler! I fell in love with a large natural salt and pepper rose cut diamond from one of my suppliers a few years ago and had to snag it. I combined it with the center stone of my original engagement ring, and that suited me fine for a couple years, until a strong inspiration really hit me, and I redesigned into the set I wear now.
It is a claddagh style ring that stacks with my stardust textured band (my own stardust band has my original ring’s diamonds), and is topped with my new Arced Ray of Light ring. The motif of light radiating from a center point has been pretty prevalent in my work for many years, and I really wanted it as a part of my stack. As I considered and created what I wanted in my own bridal set, more and more ideas came to me for my bridal line!
4 — What were some aspects that were incredibly important to you when designing these pieces?
When designing these pieces I wanted to try and remain true to Acanthus’ moody vibe and historical influence. There are strong references to antique pieces, and in some pieces I worked directly from original antiques. However, the most important thing for me was to take these strong influences, and reinterpret them in my own way that was as unique as I could be in an industry full of talented makers and designers. I mix metals, include a lot of hand worked finishes, and try to update them into pieces that still feel cool, current and recognizably Acanthus. Including accessible price points is also important to me, and I tried to leave room for a lot of options, so people could find something they really love and can afford.
5 — Anything else you’d like to add?
I have so many more ideas and these pieces offer tons of ways to customize, I couldn’t show everything initially. This is just the beginning! Styles can be made in so many different stones, in different sizes, in different metals and finishes. I really would love for people to contact me if they have an idea! Maybe they want a Ray of Light ring or a Stardust band in sapphire, or a Sacred Heart with a pink or yellow diamond. And these aren’t strictly bridal styles either. I think they are rings for anyone who loves them. I’m really looking forward to making personal pieces that my clients really connect with!
Follow Nichole on Instagram — > @AcanthusJewelry