Excelle magazine sits down with Neil Geddes to discuss his passion and find out how N.J. Geddes became artisans of bespoke jewellery working with the best of British craftsmen to create the jewellery of dreams.
Tell us a little about how you got interested in fine jewellery and why bespoke?
I first got interested in jewellery back in 2008 when I was planning to propose.
I was the typical guy looking for an engagement ring, so I went round all the high street jewellers and found the whole experience quite underwhelming, especially being ‘sold’ to.
Thankfully I discovered an independent jeweller who was extremely knowledgeable and helped me source the perfect ring. It was this experience that sparked an interest in gems and jewellery, this became a hobby and with training and qualifications then gradually evolved into the vision to create my own jewellery brand.
Jewellery is very emotional and personal - and bespoke jewellery can really capture that emotion. We look at the three elements of design, craftsmanship, and sourcing the right jewel to create unique pieces that deeply connect with the individual.Our jewellery is handmade in England using traditional techniques. In a sea of mass-produced low-quality jewellery, our pieces stand out. Design is key to creating bespoke jewellery and we are one of the few jewellers that produce beautiful hand-painted gouache designs for the client to view.
You have a reputation for sourcing exceptional sapphires and rubies, how did that come about and why do you focus on them?
I’m passionate about gemstones, in particular rubies and sapphires. These sought-after stones have fascinated us humans for centuries. They are nature’s colour palette and embody passion, excitement and wonder - finding the right stone can mean a future heirloom. They have a lifetime value. For many years now, we have created relationships in the epicentre of the Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald market, Thailand, and now have direct access to them. The finest rubies hail from Burma and recently Mozambique, whereas the finest sapphires hail from Kashmir, Burma, Sri Lanka and, in fairly recent years, Madagascar, providing rich saturation.
These stones are then traded through Thailand. But it’s certainly not easy.Rubies and sapphires are natural, they aren’t manufactured to order, they are discovered in the ground and have many different layers of quality and colour. So, it takes time and patience to source the right gemstone, for the right person at the right price.
Tell us about one of your flamboyant commissions?
Right now, we are working on a petite Venetian mask, which will be worn as a pendant. This is to celebrate a milestone birthday for a lady who loves travel and theatre but who hasn’t been able to enjoy them due to the pandemic. Instead, this unique pendant necklace will encapsulate these passions - complete with diamonds and a ruby at the centre, and lots of intricate personal detail in the handmade design.
We love to add subtle design detail to jewellery that has great personal meaning to the individual. Often the detail is hidden, in fact, our signature touch is that we ensure the back of the piece - which only the owner will see - is just as beautiful as the front.
With the festive season fast approaching, what is your advice to someone who wants to surprise their loved one with a jewellery gift?
If it is a bespoke piece, think about it early, think about it now. Start with the person you are buying the gift for - what type of jewellery do they wear, are you looking for an everyday piece or something for a special occasion, do they prefer earrings or rings or pendants, do they like classic design or something modern, what are their passions.
If you want to give jewellery as a gift but you aren’t sure how it should look, then you can always present a centre stone loose in a gift box. Then your loved one also gets to enjoy the experience of designing their own jewellery.
Where can people find you if they want to discuss a commission or a gift?
Our fine jewellery showroom is in Boston Spa, in between Leeds and Harrogate. We have a lifestyle partnership with Grantley Hall 5* Hotel in Ripon, where we can meet for a consultation and enjoy a glass of champagne or a cocktail. We also visit clients at their homes and workplaces, wherever they feel most comfortable.
N. J. Geddes Fine Jewellery
236 High Street, Boston Spa,
Wetherby LS23 6AD.
Tel. 01937 844990