This subtle sentimentality that's at once deeply personal and on public display is exactly the inspiration behind the signature collections of London jeweler Jessie Evans of Jessie V E. Each piece is literally one of a kind — hand-made to order by expert goldsmiths in London — and its purpose is "symbolism that strikes up emotion." As the website puts it, "Jewelry with a hidden twist or secret message is our expertise." Instead of employing obvious techniques, such as engraving, Evans custom-crafts with star sign constellations, lucky numbers, and braille messages spelled out in diamonds.
"I think the personalized element is particularly enticing for brides because your wedding day is such a sentimental day," Evans tells us. "Why not have everything on you be just as sentimental — literally down to your fingers?"
Speaking of, Evans's fine designs can be found wrapped around the fingers (and necks and ears!) of celebrity clientele, including Taylor Swift, Nicole Scherzinger, and Lucy Hale. And in Swift's case, the Pisces ring on her Sagittarius hand is a token of affection for boyfriend Joe Alwyn. "I love when people wear their partner's sign," Evans says. "I think that's so sweet."
Below, we chat with the Brit designer about other favorite offerings for brides, her latest personalization technique, and the ring that started it all—her own engagement ring!
BRIDES: Tell us about your very first piece.
Evans: I'd been working for someone else, designing in a completely different style to my own, when I had the chance to design my own engagement and wedding ring.
(pictured on the left)
I'd always wanted a triangle diamond, and the detailing on top was because we got married in NYC and had an art deco theme. It's like the art deco fan and also the Manhattan skyline. I used an outline of the design as a wedding motif on my invites and on the cake, and all throughout. So when I decided to launch Jessie V E in October 2015, about six months after my wedding, I already had a logo!
Then came the Constellation collection, right?
E: I honestly don't know where the idea to do star signs came from. One day I sat down and told a friend about it, and she was like, "Well, let's make one and see if it works." We developed how we were going to do it, and then once we made one, people were like, "Make more."
The Lucky Numbers were shortly after.
Any inspiration for those?
E: It was something that I'd had in mind for a really long time. I have this 13 tattoo on my thumb, and I used to work for a kinda old-school woman who requested I wear a thumb ring every day to cover it up. I was like, "I wonder if I could make a 13 ring that would just sit perfectly over the top and still be pretty." I never got around to doing it while working there, but when I made it with Jessie V E, we immediately decided we should make all the numbers. I wanted it to be the fine-jewelry version of the Old Victorian marcasite-style jewelry you'd find at an antique flea market. We fell in love with the black diamonds, and then added a milgrain edge detailing, so it looks like heirloom jewelry, but instead, its history starts with you. It's your story to tell.
The story-telling properties of your collections are what make them so special — for brides especially.
E: Exactly. The thirteenth is actually the date my husband and I got together and it's been lucky for us through the years. It's one of those weird things where the number 13 always shows up, and I think that happens for a lot of people. Brides can wear their wedding or dating anniversary dates, or whatever number means something to their story.
Are there any other items you'd recommend for brides or newlyweds?
E: For the "Feel the Love" collection, we place some diamonds upside down to spell out secret messages in braille. I love this idea of "how can I personalize something that's hidden in plain sight?" I also wanted it to look like three stacking rings on top of each other, but actually attached. These became the most subtle, chic things, but with so much meaning in them.
What secret messages have you done for brides so far?
E: We've had a lot of initials — both hers or her partner's . We've had "love" and we've had a "you x me" so "you and me." We've had recent inquiries about "marry me," which is really neat because imagine having that as your engagement ring forever. How cool! I'm still hoping that goes through.
Have you heard of any blind brides or groom purchasing one yet?
E: Not yet, but I've had clients who've recognized the potential and said, "This is an amazing, inclusive piece." Inclusive doesn't have to mean "just practical." Pretty things are for everyone. I'm just waiting for that story because it will be so sweet.
Let's talk about price point. How did you calculate that?
E: Everything is made by hand, completely from scratch in London, so they're priced in a way that reflects that. We've shaved as much as we can off, so they are very reasonable for what you're getting: master goldsmiths, 18-ct (white, yellow, or rose) gold, real diamonds—all the fine things. Because they're handmade, they're set to a template, but they all have their own little personalities. They're all going to be ever so slightly different, which makes it even more special. We have a few stock pieces in certain stores, but if you order directly from the website, it's not in existence until you ask for it. It's literally made for you. The constellation earrings and necklaces and rings are all the same price ($2,597 USD), so that factor is taken out of your decision when you're figuring out which one you want.
And the most popular selection is...?
E: The constellation rings are the best sellers. But when people are buying these as gifts, for example a wedding present [Ed note: Nice.], sometimes they go for necklaces because finger sizes can be difficult to find out.
So what's your latest collection, and where did it come from?
E: The Dot Dash pieces, which are made from White Brilliant cut "dots" and White Baguette cut "dashes," spell out messages in morse code. This was another something on the theme of, "How can I hide things in plain sight?" And I kinda think in diamonds. [Laughs] Sometimes I'll have an idea and I'll be like, "How can I make that into diamonds?"
But for someone who thinks in diamonds, your designs are surprisingly understated.
E: I think that's why they're so wonderful for brides who want a little bit of extra on their wedding day, but not too much. These collections all have that personalized sentimental value and fine elements, and then they're different in a way that's not distracting. They're beautiful, inclusive, and signature; for fine jewelry, you're spending a good amount of money, so it has to be special. People really do put so much meaning into their jewelry, and especially their wedding jewelry, because there is so much sentimentality. If we can help that along, then it's a match made in heaven.