We sat down with William Drury, the creative behind the Australian jewellery label WILLIAM ÉDOUARD, to find out more about what inspires him to create stunning fine jewellery.
In pursuing his dream of creating fine works of art, William studied both in Australia and oversea. ‘Finest craftsmanship, without compromise’ is the cornerstone of William’s brand, with only the highest quality materials and ethically-sourced gemstones used throughout his process. Each WILLIAM ÉDOUARD piece is designed and handcrafted for you in his Melbourne studio with complete devotion to this philosophy.
What inspired you to create your label?
After reaching somewhat of a crossroads in my early twenties and becoming less engaged with my tertiary education, I made a decision to dip my toes a little deeper into what was, at the time, just a hobby – jewellery design. I made the decision to take a leap of faith and enrol for both diplomas at San Francisco’s Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts under renowned goldsmith, Alan Revere. After that, there was no going back, I loved it, and knew I wanted to make a career out of it. I had no previous business experience, so after plenty of self-learning and my fair share of mistakes, I felt confident enough to launch WILLIAM ÉDOUARD.
2. Who is your muse?
My bridal muse is anyone who is willing to actively take part in my creative process and collaborate in designing something intimately personal that they can treasure for the rest of their life. A core element of my vision is to bring sustainability to the forefront of every aspect of the business, so ideally working with a client who shares this philosophy is key – although I’ve most likely missed my opportunity here, a woman who stands out as a personal muse in this way is Amal Clooney.
3. Who would you love to create a piece for?
In all honesty, I’ve already made pieces for the people that are nearest and dearest to me, my partner and family members. Beyond that, designing and creating a piece for anyone who is willing to collaborate creatively with me is always a thrill. It would, of course, be an exciting experience to create a piece for a public figure but this has never been a priority for me, although I would welcome the opportunity with open arms.
4. What overall shifts are you noticing within the bridal industry when it comes to bridal and engagement rings?
During my studies at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, I frequented jewellery boutiques across San Francisco and Sausalito, becoming particularly aware of what I would soon find out to be the ‘alternative bridal’ movement. Although diamonds featured in many engagement rings, it became clear that the traditional notions of “cut,” “colour” and “clarity” were becoming less relevant to the modern bride. In their place came unique cuts, asymmetrical designs, dark and cloudy gemstones, and contemporary stone mountings. Ultimately, what I gathered was that if there was ever a rulebook for engagement rings, it was being thrown out, allowing for a newfound creative freedom and individuality in one’s ring designs.
5. Do you have a favourite piece you’ve ever created?
I recently had the opportunity to repurpose my late grandmother’s engagement ring diamond for my sister’s engagement. I made an effort to pay homage to the original classical stone mounting whilst designing the band with a modern minimal aesthetic. I’d never made a bridal piece for a family member before, so it was a wonderful opportunity and the final result came out so well.
6. Tell us about your process, from first consultation through to the final product.
Our bespoke jewellery service begins with an initial consultation at our Melbourne studio for an appointment with myself. We also offer a consultation process via skype or email for our interstate and international clients. Customers are invited to view our exclusive range of hand-picked precious gemstones, discuss their ideas and determine how much influence they wish to have in the design process. We find that many customers wish to take the lead and provide reference images of stones and jewellery styles that inspire them, whereas others prefer to relinquish their creative control and choose for myself to take the lead.
After some discussion has occurred and the feel of the design is established, I’ll put together a design brief, often including a 3D CAD sketch and rendering, which we can 3D print in-house, allowing our clients can have a real-life, to scale representation of their design.
Once the final design is approved, we take a deposit and begin production on the piece. We allow a lead-time of 3 to 6 weeks for this process, although in many cases, we can turn around a bespoke piece in less than two weeks.
Upon completion of the piece, the client can then pick up their piece from our studio or in the case of our interstate and international clients, have their piece express-posted to them.
We also offer complimentary resizing on any bespoke piece, should it not fit perfectly, however this is rarely the case.
7. Why do you think sustainability is so important in the jewellery industry?
In addition to the more common (but equally important) notions of recyclability and reusability across all aspect of the jewellery industry’s manufacturing processes, careful attention must be paid to the path of a natural gemstone, from mine to bench. Since the dawn of the jewellery industry, the trade of precious gemstones has been shrouded in mystery. Even presently, there are a number of hurdles in place that make it difficult for jewellers to trace the origins of their gemstones, so we have taken rigorous steps to ensure that every gemstone used in our creations is ethically sourced and conflict free. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds and only source our stones from suppliers that are members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).
Beyond the mining of the gemstones, the cutting/faceting centres must be held to an equally high standard of sustainable practices, with facilities meeting strict standards preventing child labour, inadequate ventilation, over-working, lack of health care and unfair wages.
Both jewellers and clients deserve to know, and feel good, about the journey that our beautifully natural wonders take from the earth to our bodies.
All pieces by William Édouard are sustainably designed and handcrafted in Melbourne, Australia.