Misfit of the Month May 2016
This month we have selected Firewhite for our Misfit Of The Month feature. Keep reading to find out more about their unusual jewellery which includes some awesome handmade wedding and engagement rings.
So, who is the brains behind Firewhite?
I’m Candice and I currently live and work in Glasgow making wedding rings using traditional metalsmith techniques. I got the name Firewhite by putting Candice into Google translate! Apparently it means a glowing hot white light so I thought it was pretty apt for jewellery making.
How long have you been making jewellery?
It all started when I signed up for a silversmithing evening class about 8 years ago. I have always enjoyed art and crafty things and I thought it would be fun to play around with hammers and blowtorches! From there I started making things for friends and family and when my sister got engaged she asked me to make a wedding ring to complement her engagement ring which was handed down from our gran. After that I looked at the range of wedding rings from jewellery shops and realised there wasn’t much choice and many seemed quite plain and mass produced. I thought I would try making alternative wedding rings and things took off pretty quickly, so much so that I have been doing this full time for 2 and a half years.
What sort of items can people order from Firewhite?
Most of my designs feature natural textures and forms. I never really intended it to be my ‘thing’ but I just make what I like! I find that silver and gold are so intrinsically beautiful, especially when they are worked with traditional tools. I often get lovely feedback from customers who have been looking for something a little bit different but not too fussy. Often people who don’t really wear jewellery like the more natural, rugged look. Along with rings I make other wedding jewellery like necklaces for bridesmaids and cufflinks for groomsmen. I have even sold a few engagement rings for guys.
Which of your designs are the most popular?
My interlocking mountain rings are really popular, especially with outdoorsy types. Other popular styles are my tree bark and organic textured rings. There is generally a balance across the different metal types; silver, yellow gold, rose gold and white gold are all popular.
Pair of interlocking rings, can be worn together or as his and hers rings.
Which are your favourite designs?
I love making hammered rings because it is great for relieving stress! Each one turns out a little differently so there is a great moment when I do the first polish and the lovely marks and textures emerge from the metal.
From where do you draw inspiration for your work?
I tend to just try out different things and see what I like. I often get ideas in the middle of the night and get excited to try them out the next morning. I’m lucky because I have had lots of really nice customers who have their own ideas that we have incorporated into new designs.
You describe your jewellery as eco friendly, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Demand is growing for ethical and eco wedding rings. I use 100% recycled metal whenever I can, it has exactly the same purity as mined metal but it has been professionally refined from old jewellery. I am starting to use more stones in my work and I only source them from traced suppliers who can ensure they are conflict free. There are also some workshop chemicals that I have found natural alternatives to and my packaging is made from recycled cardboard.
Eco friendly jewellery and packaging.
Your tree bark rings look perfect for a woodland wedding, do you make a lot of wedding rings?
Yes definitely, I would say wedding rings are 90% of what I make. I think the handmade aspect is important, it seems to add extra meaning to something that is after all a symbol of never ending love.
Do you ever get to see your jewellery being worn by your customers?
Yes I see my sister wearing her wedding ring all the time! Some customers send me photos of themselves wearing their rings or tag me on Instagram or Facebook. It is exciting to see that there are people in different corners of the world wearing something I have made.
Are his and hers matching rings popular?
Yes although it’s a bit of a mix, a lot of people go for matching rings in different widths. Some customers choose the same style in different metals and others opt for totally different styles but they usually compliment each other because of my rustic tendencies.
Do you take custom orders? How far in advance should people place their orders?
Yes I am always very happy to discuss different ideas. I usually recommend at least 3 weeks for standard orders and a couple more if you would like to talk through custom requests. I am a registered Goldsmith with the Edinburgh Assay office so it takes a little extra time to send them to be tested and hallmarked after I have made them.
Would you be able to talk us through some of your work processes?
I use some weathered old hammers to get most of my textured finishes. I also oxidise silver to add a layer of greyish black, this goes really well with the textures I use and I often think that some rings look like they have been forged by nature in the depths of a volcano!
Can you talk us through what you feel makes Firewhite stand out from the crowd?
It was never my intention to develop a specific alternative style but I think the fact that it evolved naturally means that it is very authentic. I also love what I do so I hope that it comes through in the end product. I absolutely pride myself on having great customer service as I appreciate that buying wedding rings online is a big commitment. I meet a lot of customers in person to talk through all of the options and I can also offer virtual advice for those who are further afield.
What can customers expect from you and your work?
I often hear back from customers after the wedding who say 'every time it catches my eye I smile’. That is the ultimate compliment. The idea that to get a plain ring you have to smooth out all of the interesting tool marks and textures seems weird to me. With my work you can see the processes that have gone into making it.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone planning an alternative wedding?
I love hearing from people who just throw the wedding rule book out the window and do what they want. There seems to be a lot more choice out there if you are doing something different so if you can imagine it you could probably find someone to do it. Don’t be reluctant to talk to suppliers about making changes, it’s interesting to get requests and it is helpful to hear what customers want.
Thanks for talking to us Candice, your passion and skill really shines through in your jewellery!
To see more of Candice's work or to discuss a custom order, head over here :)