Tucked away in the Garment Factory Lofts at 233 Carlaw Avenue, you’ll find Pamela Lauz Jewellery, a chic and elegant studio showcasing the stylish creations of its namesake designer. With a first career in engineering, Pamela took a leap of faith, followed her passion and launched her jewellery business 10 years ago. Her custom design studio and showroom opened its doors on Carlaw in 2012.
Pamela’s designs are sculptural and contemporary with timeless style. Her collections are inspired by architecture and translated into wearable everyday pieces each with a story. She creates at least two of her own collections a year focused on a unifying theme, and also specializes in custom design working alongside her customers to create meaningful pieces.
Pamela’s newest collection will be unveiled in early 2017, and it promises to be a fun and refreshing take on the sculptural aesthetic loved by so many. Prior to this, she will release many exciting designs at the upcoming One of a Kind Christmas Show running from Nov. 24 through Dec. 4 in the Enercare Centre. Come and visit her in Booth I-13!
We sat down with Pamela to find out more about the inspirations behind her creations, her design process and what drives her passion for jewellery.
HAVING STARTED YOUR CAREER AS AN ENGINEER, WHAT LED YOU TO PURSUE YOUR PASSION FOR JEWELLERY?
I’ve wanted to make jewellery pretty much since I was born. Engineering provided a great foundation for becoming a design entrepreneur and I'm incredibly lucky to have been able to take the leap to the wonderful world of jewellery.
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
My jewellery designs are categorized into two groups: the signature collections reflecting my own design aesthetic; and the custom jewellery created especially for our clients.
Each signature collection follows with a visual theme that unites the array of necklaces, earrings and other categories included in that particular collection. Each piece in the collection begins life as a handcrafted sculpture, which is either hand-forged in metal or carved in wax. These miniature wearable sculptures are continuously refined to ensure they will be comfortable and balanced when worn.
YOU'RE CLEARLY INSPIRED BY ARCHITECTURE. WHAT ARE THE COMMONALITIES BETWEEN JEWELLERY DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE?
Like any building and the people who inhabit it, jewellery shares a very deep connection with its wearer — on a much, much smaller scale. To maintain a positive bond with its wearer, we must take very special care to create jewellery that meets our clients’ aesthetic tastes and lifestyle habits.
For instance, when creating wedding rings, it’s essential to learn how active our clients are with their hands and if they plan to wear their rings while playing sports. Based on this knowledge, I will recommend proportions, metals and gems to create rings that will stand the test of time.
WHAT CITIES AND BUILDINGS HAVE PROVIDED YOU WITH INSPIRATION?
I’m in awe of many buildings, both in Toronto and abroad. Frank Gehry’s masterpieces in Bilbao and Los Angeles continue to be a source of inspiration when creating designs with bold, sweeping curves.
The striking geometry of Daniel Libeskind’s ROM extension is absolutely thrilling. If I’m in the area, I always make a point to drive by the ROM even if it means making a detour.
Earlier this year, I travelled to London to explore and admire the work of the late Zaha Hadid. A true creative visionary who left us a mesmerizing legacy.
PAMELA, DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN STYLE.
Sculptural. Contemporary. Timeless.
WHAT'S YOUR MOST POPULAR COLLECTION?
Many of our signature collections have been favourites for years. We rarely discontinue designs and even our earliest collections remain quite popular. The Infinity Collection is perhaps the one with the largest following. It's also the largest collection and we keep adding new designs to it so there is something for everyone within the Infinity theme.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOUR DESIGNS THAT RESONATES WITH WEARERS?
Good design should enhance life and I strive to accomplish this with every one of my creations. The synergy of sculptural forms, fine polish and captivating textures result in unique jewellery that brightens an outfit with ease and style.
My clients lead active lives and I create jewellery that they can wear throughout their busy day. Many of our designs are convertible to be worn in different ways, making great travel companions.
ARE YOUR PIECES ALL DESIGNED AND MADE IN-HOUSE?
Absolutely. We take tremendous pride in our local fine jewellery studio and I personally create every design. While each piece is handmade at our studio, we engage local master craftsmen to contribute specialized skills such as gem setting and engraving.
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH MOST?
One of the thrills of making jewellery is that I get to work with my favourite materials including silver, gold and a wide range of genuine gems. We work with 15 gold alloys each with a different colour and we are always searching for new precious alloys to add to our selection.
The precious metals we work with are refined in Toronto. We work with gems sourced from all over the world, including Canadian diamonds.
CREATING CUSTOM PIECES CAN BE AN INTIMATE EXPERIENCE. TALK US THROUGH THE PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH OF CREATING A PIECE.
The creation of a custom design is a collaborative process that begins with a meeting to capture our clients’ aesthetic and functional preferences. I often sketch several ideas during these meetings, presenting clients with options and confirming their selections. While my personal aesthetic is modern and contemporary, I thrive in the creative exploration that custom design entails in order to infuse bespoke jewellery with our clients’ own style — be it minimalist, organic or vintage.
The next step involves the selection of any gems to be incorporated into the design. We welcome our clients’ heirloom gems and are also happy to source new gems especially for each custom project. When it comes to sourcing gems, I personally select each gem and never order them online. We love to involve our clients in the selection of their gems and often hold private gem shows so they can select the diamond and gems to be included in their custom design.
Once the gems are selected, I create refined sketches showing the piece from different angles and in great detail. Each custom design is created from scratch with the gems’ specific dimensions. We begin crafting the master model once the client approves the sketch. Depending on the design, master models are created via CAD on a computer, are carved in wax or fabricated from metal.
It is a great honour to create that special piece of jewellery. We communicate frequently with our clients to ensure no detail is overlooked and make every effort to ensure our creation realizes our clients’ vision.
RE-PURPOSED JEWELLERY OFTEN COMES WITH A STORY. HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE THAT INTO A NEW DESIGN?
Jewellery restyling allows us to breathe new life to our clients’ cherished treasures and heirlooms. We treat our clients’ gems with utmost care throughout the custom design process. It is challenging and rewarding to create a design that meets our clients’ visual objectives while incorporating their gems in a way that appears as if they were sourced for that specific project.
We do not melt and reuse gold from existing jewellery because precious metals must be refined in order to ensure a flawless surface. Instead, we offer our clients the chance to sell their gold and put 100 per cent of the proceeds towards their custom project. Since we do not retain any processing fees for selling gold, our clients retain their gold’s full market value, receiving about three times more than what mainstream jewellery retailers offer.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE NEXT BIG TREND IN JEWELLERY?
With so much great local talent, the demand for bespoke handmade goods, including jewellery, continues to grow.
This is why I’m always excited when clients request that we personalize our signature designs with birthstones, engraved initials and even their own fingerprints. For the ultimate custom design experience, I’m always ready with a blank page and my sketching pencils, ready to create something from scratch that best expresses my clients’ individuality.
Mention GOODHOOD to receive free fingerprint engraving on your custom-designed gold or platinum wedding ring. A $195 value!
Pamela Lauz Jewellery is located at 233 Carlaw Ave., and visits to the studio are by appointment only. Please visit pamelalauz.com for more information and to view more of Pamela's designs.