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Happy Monday! Is there a better way to start the working week than by poring over incredibly beautiful engagement and wedding rings? Today we’re chatting to Paul Stewart, head designer and jeweller at APS Jewellery. We love that Paul’s passion for Art Deco design, scared geometric art and coloured gemstones shines so brightly through his work. APS Jewellery’s creations are one of kind, and the love and care that are put into each piece is incredible and has made for plenty of happy clients. Each piece is made to tell a story, designed and crafted using inspiration from the lives and love of their clients. Paul shares with us how his jewellery goes from the idea stage to reality, and what he loves about his job.

Where are you based?
We are in Auburn Village, Hawthorn, which is a beautiful, inner eastern suburb of Melbourne.

Tell us a bit about your showroom…
Our showroom was designed and built by me with the help of some great friends and family. It was built to inspire both us as creatives and also our clients. The showroom is spacious, atmospheric, and ambient. I never wanted a space that was full of lights and too much product. I always wanted to create an atmosphere where anybody who enters feels inspired and creative, and I believe we’ve achieved that.

Our jewellery is displayed in cabinets fixed to the walls beneath large, lit up archways. These archways reflect our inspirations, including geometric design.

The first thing our clients notice when they walk in however, is our beautiful dog Ruby who will greet them at the door.

Image: Kathleen Winder

Do you also have an online store?
Yes, we’ve launched this very recently!

How long has APS Jewellery been making engagement rings and wedding bands?
I have been in the jewellery trade for approximately 15 years. Eight of those years has been as APS Jewellery.

What sets you apart from your competitors?
Our pieces are unique. We don’t mass produce any of our jewellery – most of our pieces are made once only. We are inspired by Art Deco design, sacred geometry and we love colour in our pieces. We also handmake many pieces – which most places don’t do anymore.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we are technically confident – we often provide clients with intricate designs and pieces that other jewellers haven’t been able to make for them.


What does a typical work day look like for you?
Drop my two boys off at school and child care, make my way to the studio. Greet our staff and make sure that the workshop is ready, priorities are in place for the day. I turn some music on, and start setting up the display cabinets, and unlock the front door.

My day consists of juggling many things – I work between customer service, manufacturing jewellery, and business management! I spend much of my time designing pieces for clients, consulting, sourcing the perfect gem from suppliers, and chatting with my staff and the local community in Auburn.

You specialise in designing and making bespoke and handmade fine jewellery. What do you love most about making unique pieces?
Building relationships with my clients has got to be one of the most rewarding parts of job but in terms of each piece, they all carry a little bit of my heart and soul out into the world.

You offer consultations with a jewellery designer. Can you tell us about this process?
First step can be via email or telephone or in person. We talk about what our clients needs are and their budget for the job. The next stage is usually best in person, where we talk about the client’s aesthetic and what the piece of jewellery means to them. From there, we talk about colour, inspiration, or other pieces they may like. I will usually do some concept sketches at this time and we will look at some gems and try on some pieces that might suit. Measure the clients finger size and establish the scale of the overall piece.

I’ll then spend some time refining the designs and sourcing the right gem options for the job before our next consultation. The design process is an opportunity for me to tie together what the client wants with what I can technically achieve and my vision for the overall piece. I put a lot of effort into these details.

The second consultation will usually be finalising any of the finer details, like colour of materials, surface finishes and choosing the right stones. After these things are resolved it’s into the workshop where we can start making.


What should bridal couples bring along to a consultation?
I find it very useful when a client brings a visual catalogue of designs such as Pinterest. I often explain to clients that even if the pictures don’t seem to relate to one and other, we can talk about them, what they like or dislike, and I can bring the relevant elements together into a new and exciting piece.

What have been some of your favourite bespoke designs over the past year?
Almost a year ago now, I had the pleasure of working with Dr Susan Carland for the Logies. It was a fun opportunity to play with design and be bit more grand than usual. I couldn’t help myself of course, and I had to add some personal touches to make them reflect the wearer in some way. I was very happy with the outcome!

More recently, I had the opportunity to remake a very special ring for a client. Twenty-five years ago, her partner had proposed with an engagement ring made in silver with semi-precious stones… in the shape of a ‘frog’. After 25 years of wear, the ring wasn’t doing so well and I was asked to remake it using precious materials. Made from platinum and having stones especially cut for the job, the client couldn’t be happier with the outcome. That’s what makes my work worthwhile. Jewellery is so rich with emotion and sentiment.

Have you noticed any trends? Are any bridal couples asking for similar styles at the moment?
I’m noticing that more and more couples are wanting to design the engagement ring together sometimes wanting the one ring to act as both the engagement ring and the wedding ring. I’m also noticing that people are becoming really concerned with ethical options when sourcing materials, for example, sourcing re-used diamonds or coloured stones from particular regions. This aligns strongly with our own values here at APS.


You also offer restoration and remodelling of older pieces. Are many brides and grooms opting for this service?
Remodels and restorations have been popular lately. Remodelling inherited pieces keeps the history of a piece alive while also creating something new and exciting. Also many people want to make use of those bits and pieces that have been sitting in a box, forgotten somewhere. Jewellery is made to be worn and loved.

Best testimonial you’ve ever received?
That was for a job where I used gold from my client’s deceased mother’s jewellery in the new wedding rings for her and her partner. They said that the work we did together had blown their minds and that their rings were now carrying so much more history with them than they could have ever expected. This was amazing feedback for me.

What are your personal favourite materials and gem stones?
My love for colour keeps me excited about all gemstones. I love playing with colours and tones and seeing what I can get from them. One of my favourite gems at the moment has to be Spinel. It is so underrated. It comes in a huge variety of colours and shades and it can be as lively as a diamond. When working with metal I’d have to say there’s something so beautiful about yellow gold. It truly is a noble metal. It moves and forms and bends in such a perfect way. 

What are the three best things about your job?
I feel so privileged to be part of such an intimate and special time in a couples’ lives. It is so rewarding helping to express their story through the rings I create. I love playing with beautiful gifts from our earth and transform them into something that I hope will do them justice. And I feel so fortunate to be able to be creative every day.

What’s something that’s challenging about it or people would be surprised to know?
One of the challenges as a business owner is remaining flexible and seeing where opportunities lie. In recent years I’ve started a side project with an old friend. It’s still jewellery of sorts, for a completely different demographic. Something I’d never have expected to make but you’re welcome to check it out: The Cheshire’s Grin.

Three things you love doing on a day off?
My days off are best spent first and foremost with my family, my beautiful wife and two amazing boys. Next is at the Muay Thai gym. Or, when I have the time, being out in the wilderness rock climbing.

A huge thank you to Paul for sharing the story of APS Jewellery with us today. The intricacy and quality of your work is no doubt appreciated and loved by those lucky enough to have pieces made by you! Also, I absolutely love that a jeweller has dog named Ruby! To see more of Paul’s amazing work, head on over to the APS Jewellery website.

Images and headshot courtesy of APS Jewellery

Two peas in a pod: these two were meant to be. United by their faith, Fiona and Will tied the knot on a beautiful autumn day in the historic Gledswood Homestead & Winery in Sydney’s countryside. A special day filled with sunshine and kindness, the couple celebrated their love surrounded by their friends and family. Listening to the sound of laughter in the air, and the chords to their love song playing on the guitar.

Lovereel’s videography team was there to capture the laughs, the words of wisdom and the promise these two gave each other. To love, forever and always.

Ms Tweed loves: The stunning musky pink of the bridesmaids’s dresses with their silvery white and green bouquets. And I am a sucker for the wedding sports cars especially the red Porsche.

About Lovereel: With various wedding film options to choose from and all the raw footage at your fingertips, Lovereel offer an affordable yet highly professional wedding videography experience.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

  • Flowers
  • Jeanette Nolan
  • Hairstylist
  • Natalie Koutsos

Impressing your relatives is important at your wedding. You want it to be the best day ever and the last thing you want is for the cake to let it all down. Not only do you want something that is going to impress aesthetically, but you also need it to taste amazing!

Here is a little guide of what to think about when organising a vegan wedding cake.

1. The Baker

Choose someone who is an expert in the area. Everyone’s Nana can make a cake, but can they make a cake that is going to have visual impact, be delicious AND structurally sound enough to last an afternoon on display in the heat? Probably not. But if so, send them my number, I want to give them a job!

Choose a vegan baker who knows exactly how to push the boundaries of style and flavour, and is willing to consult with you personally to guide your choice so it is perfect for your day. It’s 2019 people, there is no reason you have to compromise on style or flavour because you’ve chosen a vegan cake!

It can also be a good idea to let the baker/decorator have some freedom in the design. They know what will and won’t work from in a practical sense and how to interpret your styling ideas successfully. So trust them if they make some suggestions and don’t try to force them into something they have told you is a bad idea!

2. The Flavour

Choose something WOW! It may be tempting to go for a crowd pleaser but we want your guests to think “OMG, this can’t be vegan!” Some of the flavours at Tidbit that are most poplar for weddings are “Cookie Dough” – layers of rich chocolate cake filled with raw choc chip cookie dough and covered in raw cacao frosting and “Orange and Raspberry” – a super moist orange-zest cake, filled with tart raspberry curd and covered in orange frosting.

Be creative with your flavour choice and have some fun!

3. Think about allergies

So the cake is vegan, but can it also be gluten free and nut free? Ask your baker if they can design a cake to be suitable for all guests. That way you don’t have to run around the city trying to source multiple dessert options for your guests.

4. Transport

Vegan cakes, like all cakes, can be temperamental. Especially in the warmer parts of the year! They should be handled with care by someone who knows what they are doing. It’s a good idea to pay for delivery and leave yourself stress free on your big day.

5. Style

There are millions of options when it comes to choosing a style or inspiration for your cake. Rustic, minimal, classic, classy, the list goes on. Choose a baker that specialises in a style that you like. Scour their insta and website and see if their aesthetic is going to fit with your day. You also need to listen to your baker when it comes to the finish of your cake, buttercream is not going to work in a glass topped tent in 30 degree heat on display for 6 hours. So, with help from your baker/decorator choose another delicious alternative like chocolate ganache or fondant.

At the end of the day, being vegan doesn’t have mean you sacrifice when it comes to your dream wedding cake cake. You should do your research and find an awesome, passionate and creative cake decorator who can help you create your dream wedding cake without compromising on your moral or ethical stance. Wow the relatives with a cruelty free cake!

Ms Zebra Says: If you’re keen to follow the ethical and vegan cake path, why not try your hand at the Sticky Date Cake recipe from Tidbit Cakes! Promise you’ll love it – and you won’t know it’s vegan!
About Rhiannon, owner and head decorator of Tidbit Cakes: She has been creating stunning bespoke, vegan wedding and celebration cakes from their Richmond store for about 2 years. Rhiannon has been in the vegan pastry industry for close to 10 years so her knowledge of vegan baking is extensive. The idea behind the store was to create delicious and stunning vegan cakes that did not compromise on style or flavour.

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.