Chris & Alix blog
R2D2 ring proves jewelry can be sweeter second time around November 07 2015, 0 Comments
If your wedding band just doesn’t feel right, even years after your wedding day, there’s no need to panic – it might just be time to change it.
Star Wars fanatic Stephanie set a bold example to anyone feeling stuck with jewelry that’s lost its charm, ditching her wedding band for something from a galaxy far, far away. The R2D2 ring she now wears proudly is more than just an adorable nod to her favourite droid – it’s also a strong symbol of who she is and what she loves.
“She’s always been a huge fan of Star Wars,” explained her husband Kevin.
“And after we got married we weren’t incredibly happy with the wedding band. It was really nothing special. I figured that because Stephanie is special she deserved something better.”
Kevin, originally from Toronto, said he’d always been a big fan of jewelry and gemstones. And he knew exactly where to look after the Montreal-based couple decided to replace Stephanie’s original band.
“I knew it was fairly common to have things commissioned online, and we were looking for someone local to do it. That’s when we found Chris & Alix.”
Kevin said it took around 50 emails over the course of several months to refine Stephanie’s dream ring, which took some twists and turns in its journey.
“At first we had a totally different design but we decided at the last second to change it,” Kevin recalled. “Stephanie preferred something that stood out less.
“R2D2 is her favourite character and I’d looked online for different examples of R2D2 rings. The design we went with was based on another we found and decided to change a little. It was perfect how everything came together. It was all done by email and we got to see images of the ring throughout the process.”
The ring was created in white gold with enamel and stones – and it was only when it actually arrived that its intricate beauty became apparent.
“Stephanie was thrilled,” Kevin said. “The pictures really didn’t do it justice.
“We’re so impressed because it’s just subtle enough that if you’re not a fan of Star Wars you probably wouldn’t know what it is. It’s exactly what she wanted.”
The couple have been together for three years and married for almost two. We’re so glad we’ve been able to give Stephanie a ring that really shows her personality and we wish them both all the best!
Lucky for some: jewelry and its age-old superstitions October 11 2015, 0 Comments
Lucky charms come in all shapes and sizes, and can really be anything you can think of.
Throughout history we've seen horseshoes, wishbones and four-leaf cleavers celebrated as universal symbols of good luck - and yet, ask your neighbour, and they probably have a superstitious tale or two involving the last object you'd ever think of.
When we read about the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada launching a wishbone jewelry collection as a symbol of hope and motivation for children and their families, it reminded us that superstition has been embedded in metal and stone for thousands of years. As it says in the article, wishes are 'an ageless concept', and it was a wonderful idea to create a wishbone-themed necklace and earrings that would not only raise much-needed funds for the foundation but also offer children a little bit of magic.
The examples of 'lucky' jewelry are almost endless. Many people wear crosses believing it brings them closer to God, and the whole concept of an engagement ring is to symbolize the binding of two people and the prosperity of a relationship.
So it's not surprising that many customers come to us with superstition in mind when they work with us to create beautiful pieces of jewelry. In the two examples pictured, customers wanted the horseshoe symbol incorporated into a pendant and a bracelet. The bracelet was made for a woman who loved horses, but was having a really bad year - she asked for the horseshoe motif to be subtle, but prominent enough to bring her good luck and express her love of horses. The pendant was a good luck charm we created with a man in the US army, who wanted to send home a good luck charm to his girlfriend at Christmas. Her birthstones are incorporated into the sterling silver charm.
Gemstones are said to be more powerful when they're gifted to someone. And to celebrate this theme of good luck - and to inspire you with your own custom jewelry ideas - we've dug out five examples of jewelry ideas and gemstones that have been said in myth and folklore to bring good luck to those who wear them!
1. Stars for the go-getter
Stars are worn by people who seek a confidence boost or have aspirations to improve. Maybe they're facing a tough job interview or an audition. But as long as the star is close by, they feel less nervous and more supported in achieving their dreams.
2. Blue sapphire for the artist
Blue sapphire is associated with imagination, creativity and intuition. Some artists and musicians wear the stone, believing that it promotes deep thinking and channels their creativity in the right ways.
3. Bloodstone for the athlete
This powerful healing stone is said to purify and detoxify the body, grounding negative energy and cleansing your body’s energy. It has become a choice for superstitious athletes or others whose jobs include a lot of physical activity.
4. Citrine for the entrepreneur
Sparkling yellow citrine is sometimes called The Merchant's Stone for its reputation in acquiring and maintaining wealth. Many businesspeople wear lucky amulets and rings, hoping for prosperity and success.
5. Diamonds (not pearls) for the bride
One of the more famous superstitions arising in medieval times, people believe that pearls are unlucky on your wedding day because they represent tears. Diamonds, however, have always been considered great luck, with the power to drive away witches and keep the wearer mentally stable.
Fall jewelry trends 2015: could it be time to think pink? October 03 2015, 0 Comments
Fall has almost arrived in most of the northern hemisphere – for some of us, it's going to mean a nostalgic return to our younger years.
Those of you who never fully left the 90s might be pleased to hear that choker necklaces have already taken hold on this year's fall jewelry trends. Big name designers debuted the revival in their runway shows, demonstrating lighter varieties of chokers with delicate wire and open clasps. It seems that neck jewelry will be extremely popular over the autumn months, both in understated and eye-catching designs.
Another trend to look out for this fall is pink jewelry, which could also take us back to our childhoods. Designers have been keen to stress that pink doesn't have to be pretty – it can tactfully soften stronger colors, creating a bold contrast between tough and feminine.
Pink quartzes, tourmalines, diamonds and sapphires all have slightly different qualities but are similarly versatile, with the power to create a look that's both sophisticated and playful. We've been able to demonstrate the flexibility of pink in some of our recent projects, which have ranged from charms to eternity rings.
Pearl continues to be reinvented and could also make a big impact on the fall months, in more edgy varieties including 'string of pearl' earrings and necklaces that can be moulded and shaped.
And sticking with the vintage classic theme, brooches are also tipped to be popular, particularly with natural and organic motifs and colours.
Natural and earthy colors are always popular in the fall, and this year will be no exception. It's a great opportunity for us to layer up a little more but continue to look stylish.
What do you have in mind for the fall – will you be thinking pink? Let us know what you're most looking forward to!
Birthday bangle means Deborah's city break can always be with her September 19 2015, 0 Comments
From quaint villages to bustling cities, places have the power to touch our hearts.
It was the beautiful city of Montreal that became a special place for Deborah Fearson when she chose to spend her 60th birthday there with her husband Mike. And what better memento of the trip could she receive than a sterling silver bangle sporting the city's famous rosette?
“We wanted to do something a bit different for my 60th and chose Montreal because we like the colder weather,” Deborah explained.
“While we were there Mike wanted to buy me a piece of jewelry and get it engraved – but we looked all over and couldn't find anything we liked that represented Montreal.”
Shortly after Deborah's visit last September the couple discovered Chris & Alix online, and they were soon exchanging ideas for the birthday bangle.
“We emailed back and forth and they sent me some designs and helped me to pick the one that was best,” Deborah recalled. “It took us a couple weeks to decide what we wanted and then a couple weeks to have it made – I was so excited about receiving it!”
Deborah said her trip to Montreal featured a lot of walking and sight-seeing, plus a rather quirky 'duck tour' which took visitors around the city on an amphibious vehicle. Her shiny bangle, with a classy engraving on the underside, has made the occasion ever more memorable.
“The engraving says 'to my darling wife, Happy 60th Birthday',” said Deborah, who lives in Dundalk, Maryland.
“Recently I've been wearing it every day. I'm so happy with it – it looks great!”
It was a real treat to work on this project with Deborah, not least because Montreal is our proud home! We're glad she had a fun birthday and that we could contribute to her celebrations.
Motor engine cufflinks capped off a magical anniversary for Jo and Henry August 13 2015, 0 Comments
Not many guys can say their first pair of cufflinks were inspired by the rotary engine of a classic Mazda RX-7.
But it was the perfect dating anniversary gift for Jo's husband Henry, who devotes much of his time to his 22-year-old sports car.
“Ten years of being together is a really nice milestone, and I thought it was a great opportunity to get him a gift that would be really meaningful,” Jo explained.
“He loves his car so much – all he does is talk about it and work on it!”
Mazda stopped selling this model in the States in 1996, but the Wankel rotary engine has become iconic in its own right ever since. And once the idea had come to Jo, she was determined to create a pair of cufflinks that would perfectly match the design of the engine.
“I thought I'd find a place online for really nice custom cufflinks, and that's how I found Chris & Alix.” Jo recalled.
“Chris got back to me and said they'd love to work on the project with me. I'd actually Googled 'rotary engine cufflinks' to see if any had been made, and found some photos. I told her I really wanted it to look like the rotary engine.”
The resulting sterling silver cufflinks were exactly what Jo had imagined, and more – and her only problem now was finding somewhere safe to hide them for the few months leading up their anniversary in July.
“I'm so happy with the results,” she said.
“When they sent me the renderings I could see that they were making them with so much more detail than the photographs I'd found. I thought 'he's going to freak out'."
She wasn't wrong – but the cufflinks were just part of a memorable 10-year anniversary celebration that Jo had in store for Henry.
Once he'd opened his classy gift, the Chicago couple took to the skies in a hot air balloon above Wisconsin's Lake Geneva, in specially printed t-shirts commemorating their milestone.
“He absolutely loved the cufflinks,” Jo said. “He had no idea I'd made them, and he could tell right away that they were rotary engines.
“We had such an amazing day. We were a little worried that it might not happen because of the wind, but everything fell into place!”
Jo told us Henry had not worn cuff links before – and for his first ever pair to be something so incredibly intricate and unique made her gift to him that little bit extra special.
“It was very straight-forward,” said Jo of the custom process.
“The fact I was talking to a couple of other people who were obviously very knowledgable about what they were doing made it much easier. I had no idea what kind of metal they should be, I just didn't want them to rust. I wanted to make sure that they'd last a long time.”
We were delighted to be able to work on this project with Jo, and we wish them both – and Henry's stylish new cufflinks – a long and fun future together!
Two rings became the one for Hugo and Mary-Joyce July 25 2015, 0 Comments
When Hugo Gingras and his fiancee Mary-Joyce came across Chris & Alix while shopping for an engagement ring, they were both delighted that they would be able to create something locally.
But the custom jewelry concept also solved a basic and yet agonizing dilemma for them. The Quebec couple had found themselves stuck between two rings, very fond of elements of both – and unable to decide between the two.
“We'd shopped around for rings and nothing quite stood out,” Hugo explained. “There was a little bit here and a little bit there that we liked. We ended up finding two rings that we liked, and thought it would be great if we could blend the two.”
Hugo set about looking for custom jewellers, but before finding Chris & Alix had only come across businesses in the United States. The couple have a great affection for locally-sourced products – which goes to explain the beautiful Canadian diamonds we used for Mary-Joyce's beautiful white and rose gold ring.
“We wanted to find something close by, where we could be sure where the diamonds had come from, so we were happy to find Chris & Alix,” said Hugo. “They were very fast, professional and nice to work with.”
Hugo, from Quebec City, has been dating Montrealer Mary-Joyce for around three-and-a-half years – and his surprise proposal went perfectly to plan.
“She wasn't expecting the proposal, but she absolutely loves the ring,” Hugo said. “It's really beautiful!”
We're glad the couple love their ring and we wish them all the best!
Comic book promise ring shows Marilou is Marc-André's Wonder Woman July 11 2015, 0 Comments
It might not boast any super powers of its own, but Marilou's Wonder Woman ring is a bold symbol of feminine strength, agility and endurance.
As well as being just the kind of bling a comic book geek would die for, the promise ring we created for Marilou is a powerful symbol of commitment to her boyfriend Marc-André – who is yet to decide on which iconic superhero to base his matching ring.
Surprisingly, it wasn't a love of comic books that brought the couple together. It was only after they'd become an item that their shared passion for the DC back catalog and brilliant Marvel Universe began to flourish.
“It wasn't something we really liked at first,” recalled Marilou.
“Our passion for comic books actually began when we started to go out together. Marc-André bought some comic books and it grew from there. He really likes the film and TV shows, while I'm more into the art and the stories.”
The ring we created is based on Wonder Woman's tiara, which is a symbol of her nobility and is used as a ranged attack weapon in some of the comics. It's an emblem that really resonates with the Montreal-based couple.
“We like her because she's a strong woman – it represents how we feel,” explained Marilou, who is currently planning a Wonder Woman cosplay.
“We actually found the ring design online, and Marc-André contacted Chris & Alix to ask if they could create it within our budget. We wanted a custom ring because we knew it would fit our personality better. It would be more personal, and we'd be sure to like it.”
The original design the couple brought to us used ruby as the star in the tiara, but we recommended using enamel in order to bring down the cost – and the resulting ring was an instant hit.
“It's even better than we had hoped for,” said Marilou. “We love it!”
Marilou said the couple will come to us to create Marc-André's ring, once they've decided on the perfect design.
Their story is a great example of how custom jewelry can be used to replicate an existing idea on just about any budget. We're really looking forward to creating another matching ring, using our fun and artistic passion to help them enjoy theirs!
Floral engagement ring shows Oliver and Kei's blossoming bond July 04 2015, 0 Comments
(Photo: Gwylan Goddard)
Choosing an engagement ring can be almost as daunting for a man as popping the question.
He'll often come to face the decision with a strong yearning for perfection, hopelessly offset by a complete lack of knowledge.
Oliver Loertscher was in a luckier position than most, being Chris' brother – but that didn't make it any easier for him to step into the intimidating world of choosing an engagement ring for his fiancée Kei, a floral designer.
“I didn't know anything about jewelry other than that it was bright and it sparkled,” he explained. “And I didn't even know if the designs I had in mind would be feasible.”
But if there was one thing Oliver knew for certain, it was the thing that brought his fiancée most joy – flowers.
“Her love of flowers is something that anybody can see, because her face just lights up whenever she speaks about them,” he said. “She likes a very natural and organic look, but has an appreciation for anything incredibly beautiful that grows naturally. She appreciates different flowers every day.”
And with his heart set on this theme, Oliver just needed some of Chris & Alix's creativity and expertise to help him come up with an unforgettable personalized engagement ring.
(Photo: Gwylan Goddard)
“I wanted something with a vintage feel to it and with a floral inspiration,” Oliver recalled. “I wanted my fiancee to have something that didn't just look like a run-of-the-mill ring, and I really love the stuff that Chris & Alix do.
“I was worried that I wasn't communicating what I wanted very well, but I was really impressed – it was almost as if Chris wanted it to be better than I did! She explained every detail and answered my questions, and it was a great experience.”
Keeping the beautiful floral ring a secret, and sticking to his plan of presenting it to Kei on the couple's fifth anniversary, became increasingly difficult for Oliver.
“I could tell she was becoming suspicious and it became more and more difficult to hold off on the proposal,” he said. “I told her I needed to focus on getting through my studies, but I knew I couldn't put it off for much longer than I already had!”
The resulting ring was just what he'd hoped for – and it got a better reaction from Kei than he could have imagined.
“She teared up right away,” he recalled. “For the first week she was probably looking at her left hand more than she was looking at me!"
“We absolutely love the ring – every time we look at it we fall in love with it even more.”
(Photo: Gwylan Goddard)
The couple, who live in Toronto, got engaged on May 22, and will be married on October 8, 2016.
We wish them all the best!
There's no place like home – and jewelry lets you take it everywhere June 27 2015, 0 Comments
Wherever you are in North America, it's a very patriotic time of year.
Quebecers lined the streets to celebrate their vibrant heritage last Wednesday, and all Canadians will celebrate their country's birthday this coming Wednesday. Then next Saturday, Americans will unite to celebrate the Declaration of Independence which began to make the U.S.A. what it is today.
It's somewhat coincidental that these huge national occasions each fall within 10 days of each other, and they're really just three examples of a concept that's celebrated the world over – home, and what it means to be from somewhere. In an age where travel has become more accessible, location means more to us than ever. Sometimes we develop strong connections to the places we visit, while other times the weeks and months we spend in other places make us better appreciate our roots.
With clothing and accessories being such huge statements of personal expression, it's natural that symbols of place – such as flags, crests and iconic landmasses – find their way onto the jewelry that we wear. And it's a concept that's always been around.
In the US, the stars and stripes of the American flag have always been the most popular patriotic symbols. Following the Second World War, patriotic jewelry was really in fashion as women began to wear their newfound freedom. Lady Liberty and the American Eagle began to make a lot of appearances on pieces of jewelry, as well as the traditional flag. Following the tragic events of September 11, Americans were as anxious as ever to show that their national pride could not be diminished, and they proudly boasted patriotic symbols on glistening pendants around their necks.
Doing what we do, the concept of home comes up time and time again when customers come to us with exciting jewelry projects. Sometimes they've been themed on shapes, such as the boundaries of Texas, Vermont and St Martin island. Other times it's about historical symbols, such as Montreal's rosette.
Wherever you are in the world, custom jewelry allows you to wear with pride that small piece of home – or of another place that means something special to you.
If you think location-themed jewelry is for you, or would make a great gift, please contact us and we'll help you create something beautiful!
Made to tarnish: the beautiful copper ring that wears as it's worn June 13 2015, 0 Comments
The concept of jewelry telling a story or marking a life event is at the very heart of what we do.
But one of the more unique and challenging requests we've had was to create a piece of jewelry that would continue to grow and change long after it had been built – one that would almost live its own life, ageing with the wearer.
Stones, colors and engravings are all great ways to represent someone's personality, and they often form the basis of engagement rings that we make. But what about the metal itself?
When we were asked specifically if we could design an emerald solitaire engagement ring on a copper band, we had as many questions as we did answers. It's rare for a ring to be made with copper. The metal oxidizes when in contact with skin, wearing down the metal and often staining the skin green.
But this customer knew exactly what he wanted – and he was well versed in copper's traits, because it had been significant to his life and his relationship long before he reached out to us. His girlfriend had a real fondness for copper, a fascination with the way that it ages. And her intrigue in this rugged metal was not just about a change of colour, but the way it wears down and visibly erodes in the way nothing else does.
Given that this was the kind of woman who noticed these subtleties that others wouldn't stop to appreciate, he was determined to entwine them in the most important ring she'd ever receive. This would not only offer her something she truly loved, and had openly marvelled at, but would help to represent her as a person and symbolize the way she embraces change.
We know how difficult it is for men to choose an engagement ring, to find something that will really represent their other half. Most normally opt for stones, colours and engravings that beam out their partner's personality. But this was the first time someone had looked to a metal as the basis of capturing this. He felt so strongly in bringing this concept to life, that didn't give up on finding a jeweller to make it for him – and having bore the brunt of several rejections, he'd even resorted to trying to make the ring himself, destroying his coffee table in the process.
When he found us, we saw it as an exciting challenge – and a privilege. It hit the very same notes that inspired us to begin doing what we do. We did ask if he'd like the ring made in red gold instead, which would have given a similar look without the risk of oxidizing. But it was clear he'd been searching far and wide for someone to identify with this concept and, enamoured with it ourselves, we were excited to take it on.
Of course, there was still the issue of her finger turning green. So we settled on a hybrid ring, one with 18k gold on the inside and copper on the outside. This way, the ring would still age, but its skin contact would be minimal.
In the center of the ring we proposed a bold green 8mm Colombian emerald, and soon we were working on images and wax models that we could send for the customer's approval. It took a couple of months to discuss his options further and work through the details but the end result was exactly what he'd hoped for and what he'd proposed originally, after we'd suggested a hybrid ring.
He was delighted with the resulting ring, and it gave him a thirst for future projects. “I could not have imagined a more perfect creation,” he said. “Thank you so much for designing this ring with me. The little lady absolutely loves it!”
This engagement ring, with its copper band, was made to fade. It was to represent life itself. In much the same way as a relationship evolves and matures, it would be a constant reminder of the ever-changing nature of life. It would represent more than just the couple's love, but their experiences, their joys, their struggles and their frailties, and how all of these elements would shape them over time.
Aged copper jewelry isn't a unique concept, and some people look into homemade patina methods which can quickly give copper jewelry an 'aged' look. But with this project, we created something that would naturally display the long path it had taken, changing over time in a way we couldn't completely predict. And it's another example of the potential custom jewelry has in representing not only a unique connection between two people, but also the very nature of life itself.
What we love most about our job is having the privilege not just to create challenging pieces of jewelry, but to do so with real events and real stories lying behind them. We get a lot of satisfaction from delivering something that holds a wonderful story, and is just what our customer had in mind. When a particularly unusual or special challenge, like this, greets us, we get even more satisfaction from completing the project, contributing to the customer's story and leaving them feeling over the moon.
And this is why we remember each and every customer, even years later. Their stories stay with us, and we just have to share them.
Father's Day: why custom jewelry is the gift your devoted dad will cherish forever June 07 2015, 0 Comments
Our dads protect and support us, make us laugh, and help to make us who we are – but when it comes to Fathers Day, they can be difficult to buy for.
Naturally, dads come in all shapes and sizes. Some are almost too easy to please, while others just seem to have everything already. I guess that's why they often end up with a baseball cap, a tie or craft beer.
But with men's accessories continuing to gain appeal with modern gentlemen, jewelry is an elegant and lasting way to express your appreciation for dad that many forget about. It's a gift he'll cherish for years to come, and may even pass down to future generations.
With custom jewelry, the possibilities are endless. His biggest passions – whether that's his car, his favorite hockey team, or you – can be spun into sparkling treasure that he'll want to wear with pride.
We've got all the info you need about trends in haberdashery, or men's accessories.
And if you need any inspiration for designs, take a look at these treats we've created for dads over the years:
EAGLE CUFFLINKS: Made for a dad who is a veteran. A gift from his son.
BOSTON CUFFLINKS: Made by a daughter for her dad, after they ran the Boston Marathon together the year after the bombings.
20TH ANNIVERSARY CUFFLINKS: Made for a husband and father, a gift from his wife.
MONOGRAM CUFFLINKS: Made for a special 65th birthday, B is first initial on the front and 65 was engraved on the back.
If you think custom jewelry is the right gift for your dad, contact us for a quote!
Even if you're not exactly sure what you want, we'll help you create the perfect gift.
Sarah's colorful pendant has room to grow – just like her family June 05 2015, 0 Comments
They say family is like the branches of a tree – we all grow in different directions, but our roots remain as one.
The excitement of Sarah Vestby's growing family is something she can now proudly wear on a weekly basis, thanks to this beautifully thoughtful gift from a friend. And it's no ordinary pendant – it represents the future as much as the past and present, with space to grow as her family does.
Sarah has a particular fondness for birthdays, and it's easy to see why the occasions are so ceremonious for her. Her first son Abel was perhaps the greatest birthday present she could ever have received, and it was just the beginning of a lifelong shared birthday every year on January 8. May is another joyous month for the family, hosting the birthdays of both her husband Ryan and second son Elias.
That's why the colorful pendant bears the birthstones garnet and emerald – and there's even space for another stone!
Sarah, who lives just outside Edmonton, received the pendant in the mail, along with a note explaining the choice of stones.
She said: “I was so surprised, because I wasn't expecting it. I absolutely love it. I really like birthdays, and this gift is very special to me. My friend joked that she'd left a space for our next!
“What makes the pendant more special is that I don't wear a lot of jewelry. I really feel it when I'm wearing it, and I also get a lot of comments from others who aren't used to seeing me wear jewelry, so it's great that it has such a nice story behind it.”
Sarah said she was looking forward to adding another stone – and said the surprise had inspired her to consider custom jewelry gifts of her own in the future.
Once again, it shows the endless possibilities of personalized designs and how you can bring a family concept together into one tasteful pendant.
We wish Sarah and her growing family all the best!
#MomsKnowBest: we have a winner! May 02 2015, 0 Comments
Our Mother's Day necklace competition has now closed, and as with our previous contests and giveaways we were delighted with your entries!
From wearing clean underwear to staying true to yourself, there was enough motherly advice to keep even the scattiest and most wayward of us on the right path. We're hugely grateful to you all for sharing, and it has been a fantastic way to acknowledge all the hard work moms do for us.
The lucky winner of our Love You Mom necklace is @AllyBWins, whose mom gave her these words of wisdom: "Honey, if you stay ready, you won't have to get ready!"
She wins our beautiful Love You Mom sterling necklace, pictured above.
To get you into the Mother's Day spirit ahead of the big day next Sunday, we've picked out a few of our favourite #MomsKnowBest entries:
Sports car milestone inspired these beautiful silver cuff links April 26 2015, 0 Comments
The creative possibilities of custom jewelry are endless – and Australian couple Lisa and John have set a great example when it comes to truly unique commemoration.
John's Audi TT is his pride and joy. But while it's not uncommon for men to have a strong connection to their cars, John's is particularly special because it was one of the first TTs ever to be introduced to Australia back in 1998. How's that for trend-setting?!
“Yes, he still has the car,” said Lisa, responding to a very silly question. “He'll never get rid of the car.”
So it's easy to see where the inspiration for these Audi-themed cuff links came from – and they would go on to be the perfect gift for John to commemorate the couple's 25th wedding anniversary.
“When Audi launched in Australia, the petrol cap was iconic,” Lisa said, explaining the design of the cuff links. “It was the main design feature, showing a new start for Audi. They'd got rid of the plastic, and everything in the car was now metal."
Unlike many of our customers though, Lisa knew exactly what she wanted which made her even more anxious about finding the right people for the job.
“I knew exactly how I wanted the cuff links to look, and John is very picky," she explained. "So I wanted someone I felt I could trust. I found Chris & Alix online and liked their approach very much.”
Lisa discussed the design with Chris & Alix over email, and the result was a pair of beautiful silver cuff links, ready to be shipped to Australia.
“It was nerve-wracking because not only did I care so much about the design, but they were getting shipped across the world,” recalled Lisa. “But the communication was very good and the process was very straight-forward. I could tell from the images they sent that everything had been done right.
“I surprised John with the cuff links on the night of our anniversary, and he was absolutely knocked about when he saw them. He loves them. We're so thankful to Chris & Alix for doing such a great job.”
Chris & Alix Mother's Day necklace competition: moms know best! April 19 2015, 22 Comments
Our moms protect us, inspire us and make us laugh – their advice is sacred to us, but they rarely get the thanks they deserve!
To celebrate Mother's Day this year, we're giving away away our Love You Mom necklace to one lucky winner.
How to enter
All you have to do is answer this simple question: what's the best piece of advice your mom ever gave you?
Tweet your answer using the hashtag #momsknowbest and you'll be in with a chance to WIN! Luckily for you, there's no right answer – which means it can be as philosophical, sweet or silly as you like.
You've got until Friday, May 1 at 11.59pm EST to share your mom's words of wisdom, and we'll then draw one lucky winner at random.
Do it for mom!
Our beautiful Love You Mom sterling necklace: a 1" x 1" pendant with <3UMOM at the back, all on an 18" chain.
It's the least she deserves!
Terms & conditions
1. Only one entry per person will be considered.
2. No entries submitted after 11.59pm EST on Friday, May 1st 2015 will be considered.
3. Prize is only as described and have an approximate value of $250. No alternative prizes, cash or otherwise, can be claimed by the winner.
4. Prize will only be shipped to addresses within Canada or the USA.
5. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Shopify.
Mother's Day: say thank you with some beautiful custom jewelry that's just for mom April 18 2015, 0 Comments
Could we say that Mother's Day is one of our most important celebrations?
It's difficult to think of a more thankless job than motherhood. Far beyond the practicalities of giving birth and raising us, our moms make us who we are and continue to inspire us for the rest of our lives.
The fact that she doesn't ask for reward shows the true commitment of a self-sacrificing mother. But while there's never a bad time to show mom what she means to you, it's great that we have Mother's Day to remind us of the incredible work that moms put in everywhere.
Jewelry is the most popular choice of gift for Mother's Day – and custom jewelry gives you an opportunity to create a gift that she can not only wear all the time, but that is totally unique to her.
We shared with you last year the joy our customer Amanda Hoffman had designing with us a camera flash pendant for her mom. Created to represent her mom's admirable work as a photographer, the gift instantly reduced her to tears.
And Amanda is just one of many people who come to us all year round looking for the perfect piece of jewelry for mom.
Take a look at some of these other inspiring gifts we created:
A dad had us make this ring for his wife, bearing her two children's names
This pendant was also ordered by a dad for his wife, and features her birthstone in the center
This aquamarine ring was ordered by a daughter for her mom, again with her birthstone as the centerpiece
This 'protection' pendant was made by woman for her friend and a first time mom. The stone resembles her daughter's birth month, and the mom will wear it until the daughter is old enough to wear it herself.
This pendant was made by a daughter for her mom's birthday, and it bears words, numbers and other references that mean something to the two of them.
Got some ideas for a gift that would mean the world to your mom?
Even if you haven't but you think custom jewelry is the right way to go, please contact us and we'll help you create the perfect Mother's Day gift!
Are you on Twitter?We're running a Mother's Day contest right now – find out how you could win a necklace for your mom just by writing a tweet!
'Puzzle piece' rings were the perfect fit for Lauren and Chemda March 22 2015, 0 Comments
They say relationships should complement our identities, not define them.
This is certainly the position Chemda and her partner Lauren found themselves in – totally in love, and embracing the fact that they fit together like puzzle pieces rather than connecting over a likeness.
So when Lauren approached Chris & Alix to create 'puzzle piece' engagement and wedding bands, it was because this concept was something they felt was at the very heart of their relationship and should decorate both their engagement and their wedding.
“Lauren and I are not the same,” explained Chemda. “Like everyone else, we don't have everything in common. But we are lucky that our similarities and differences fit so well with each other.
“We call each other our puzzle pieces. We don't really like terms like 'soulmate', because we don't match – we complement.”
Chris & Alix created two rings – one for Lauren, with two extra 'pieces', and one for Chemda, which was designed to fit snugly into Lauren's. But the fitting rings were just part of the story as the New York City couple prepared for their wedding.
“We wore each other's rings since the engagement a year and a half ago,” said Chemda. “During that time we got to feel the weight, beauty, and sensation of the other person's ring while embedding our own experiences of joy, pain, excitement, anticipation, and all the moments, whether with each other, other people, or alone.”
When the couple got married on the island of Maui last month they swapped rings, revealing personal engravings that they'd done for each other.
Chemda had engraved Lauren's ring with 'Time After Time', which she said was their song. Lauren chose the engraving 'I See You' for Chemda, which was something they would say to each other early in their relationship to acknowledge the fact that they couldn't find specific words to express their emotions towards each other.
“The whole engagement was magical,” recalled Chemda. “It was the best engagement I could never have imagined having.
“The rings are incredible and couldn't have catered more to our personalities. There are no others like it.”
Lauren, who spent around two years planning his proposal, said the design and build process was a great experience.
“I looked at Chris & Alix's jewelry and projects and compared them to the others,” he said.
“I just loved how funky and daring they were with their work. They wouldn't be afraid to make something out-of -the-ordinary. And they seemed genuinely interested in my idea.
“The experience was awesome. They allowed me to make little changes here and there during the design process and sent me beautiful 3D mock-ups along the way. When the rings were done they sent me pics of the final product, which was perfect.”
We wish Lauren and Chemda all the best!
Top photograph: Eric Korenman (candlepinstudio.com)
Oscars 2015: Bold jewelry lines the red carpet as stars make their statements February 23 2015, 0 Comments
This year’s Oscars traditionally had a few surprises in store – and this year’s red carpet is already being heralded as one of the best ever for bling.
Bold earrings, statement necklaces, emeralds and diamonds took center stage at the 87th edition of the glitzy award ceremony in Hollywood.
Scarlet Johansson arguably stole the show with a large bib emerald necklace that stretched from the top of her neck to her chest, coupled with an ear cuff in rose gold, believed to have been made with five pear-shaped emeralds, 278 brilliant-cut diamonds, four pear-shaped aquamarines and two pear-shaped green tourmalines.
And the Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars without a spectacular statement from Nicole Kidman, who hit the red carpet wearing wore more than $7 million worth of diamonds, including 7-carat emerald-cut diamond earstuds, an 82-carat diamond bracelet, a 16.5-carat emerald-cut diamond solitaire ring and a 5.3-carat bezel-set diamond band ring.
Cate Blanchett’s turquoise, aquamarine and diamond bib necklace and a $1.5 million 'zipper' necklace worn by Margot Robbie were some of the more flamboyant pieces. And Birdman nominee Emma Stone captured attention with a rose-cut diamond wrist cuff in in 18-karat yellow and white gold.
But probably the most dominating trend seen at the show was bold earrings, with Marion Cotillard, Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts and Kerry Washington all donning spectacular diamond ear candy.
Rita Ora stepped out in bold, chandelier-style earrings.
We’ll get more reaction in the coming days – but until then, they say a picture says a thousand words, so why not check out these photos from last night’s event?
Cody-Anna's gift is the perfect shark tooth necklace – and this one's built to last February 16 2015, 0 Comments
When a piece of jewelry becomes damaged beyond repair, it can range from frustrating to heartbreaking.
Cody-Anna Orlando and her boyfriend Rowan would probably laugh at that introduction – but Rowan would also admit that when the shark tooth necklace he found during a trip away in Maine fell apart, he was still pretty disappointed. He was delighted to have found what he was looking for, and had probably grown more attached to it than he realized in the matter of days before it broke.
“We were determined to find the perfect shark tooth necklace, and Rowan was super happy when we found it,” Cody-Anna recalled. “But it was short-lived. The shark tooth broke in two about a week later, once we had arrived back home in Montreal.”
With Christmas approaching, Cody-Anna had a novel idea for the perfect gift – she would get him another shark tooth, one that would last the test of time. But she was put off by some of the jewellers she found offering custom made pieces.
“I found some jewellers that had been around for a long time, but they were quite intimidating and I didn't really know what I was getting myself into,” she said. “That's when I started Googling for options, and I liked what I saw of Chris & Alix.
“I liked the fact that I was able to find out the price right away. Especially when you're having something made in gold or silver price is always on your mind, and I really had no idea if it was going to cost me $20 or $1,000.”
Cody-Anna begun discussing her options with Chris & Alix, and they came back to her with five or six different designs for her to choose from.
“The longest part of the process was figuring out the design,” she said. “I wasn't sure if I wanted a classic shark tooth or something more modern, and whether or not I wanted two tones of gold. We ended up going for something more modern in yellow gold.”
And the resulting weighty golden shark tooth necklace was a real hit with Rowan on Christmas Day.
“He was so happy,” Cody-Anna recalled. “It was exactly what he wanted. He liked the weight of the shark tooth. It has some real weight to it, but it's on a small chain so it's not obnoxious.
“It was a great experience because Chris & Alix were very clear about what my options were and what each one was cost. The one we found in Maine was nothing fancy, but it was my gift to him and we're really pleased to have got something longer lasting.”
Valentine's Day: how it's shaping up for this year's lovers February 09 2015, 0 Comments
Valentine's Day is nearly upon us, and for several weeks now we've been seen familiar colors, flowers, cards and gifts lining the stores.
But although we probably associate reds and pinks with expressions of love, the Valentine's Day palette has actually changed quite dramatically over the decades. Shades of red have been fairly consistent since the advent of the tradition in the 17th century, but an interesting study of Hallmark's printed cards has shown colors to have varied in hue and vibrancy, often reflecting social or political changes.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, for example, Valentine's Day colors were quite muted and sallow, including beiges and gray-greens, while in the 70s disco era it was all about vibrant pinks.
This year's color of the year, marsala, is arguably perfect for Valentine's Day. Deep-red roses are reminiscent of marsala's earthy tones, and the color is bound to feature on cards and perhaps gifts of jewelry that will be given and received on Saturday.
An estimated $4.8bn will be spent on jewelry in the USA ahead of this year's Valentine's Day, and just over one in five people are expected to buy jewelry as a gift. Statement necklaces and gold rings, as well as traditional heart necklaces, are expected to be popular choices for loved-up couples – and the pendant pictured is an example of jewelry that we've made previously for the occasion.
Another thing to note is that there are a lot of sweet teeth out there – did you know more than half of people will be buying candy for Valentine's Day this year?
The great thing about this year's Valentine's Day is that it's on a Saturday. The restaurants will still be chock full of lovers, but at least most of you won't have had to work during the day. And we knowValentine's Day isn't for everyone – so however you decide to spend it, even if it's lying in bed with pizza watching Friends, we hope you have a truly great day!
A sterling silver pendant to add more sparkle to your Valentine's Day: just re-pin it to win it! January 18 2015, 67 Comments
Do you follow us on Pinterest?
To celebrate the stories of love that we transform into jewelry every week at Chris & Alix, we've got a special Valentine's Day gift for one lucky pinner!
Simply re-pin the sterling silver pendant on our Pinterest profile for a chance to win it! We'll draw the winner at random on Friday, February 6.
The pendant comes on an 18" sterling chain, with a cubic zirconia as the stone and a free choice of engraving at the back up to a maximum of six characters. It can be yours for free, so get pinning!
Terms and conditions
1. No participants who repin after 11.59pm EST on Thursday, February 5th 2015 will be considered.
2. The prize is only as described and has an approximate value of $250.
3. No alternative prizes, cash or otherwise, can be claimed by the winner.
4. The prize will only be shipped to addresses within Canada or the USA.
5. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Pinterest or any other social networking site.
Celtic knots and sparkling sapphire were 'perfect' for Taylor and Colleen January 16 2015, 1 Comment
It took Taylor Kingston around six months to figure out where to begin choosing an engagement ring for his wife Colleen – and he's certainly not the only guy to have faced the decision feeling almost helplessly inexperienced.
The fact Colleen doesn't wear a lot of jewelry didn't make Taylor's task any easier. He knew that cost, size and extravagance wouldn't be important to her – but trips to traditional jewellers didn't bring him any closer to finding the perfect ring.
“The problem was that I didn't have any experience, and yet they seemed to expect me to know about what I wanted,” he recalled. “The experience itself just wasn't pleasant. It would have been a case of 'let's just get this over with', and that's not the way I wanted the whole engagement thing to go.”
Taylor's fortunes changed when he found Chris & Alix online.
“I eventually started thinking about custom designs, and it wasn't until I got in touch with Chris & Alix that I felt like I had a plan and could move forward with everything,” he said. “It was someone else to share ideas with and get working on something without needing to have any experience to draw from.”
Chris & Alix sent Taylor examples of other rings, and he was able to develop his own creation by picking elements that he liked. They sent him 3D software images of the ring – and being a 3D artist himself, he was able to play a more hands-on role than most customers, manipulating the models to his own tastes.
“I wanted something that had a celtic knot sort of shape – almost flush, with a protruding element off the ring,” Taylor explained. “Something small and delicate. They did a great job of translating that into something that could be physically realized. They printed the design off and I was really impressed.”
It also mattered to Taylor that the ring was locally and ethically sourced. Chris & Alix looked at various coloured stones – but in the end found a colourless sapphire from Northern Canada, which looked fantastic in the resulting white gold engagement ring Taylor ordered.
The couple, who live in Montreal, were so pleased with the ring that they came back to Chris & Alix to have matching wedding bands created.
“They wanted something for Colleen that matched the engagement ring, and they sent me one design which was perfect,” said Taylor. “I don't wear jewelry so I wanted something that I knew I would like, and it was difficult to put my ideas into words. But they were able to build it and it came out exactly how I wanted it to.”
Taylor and Colleen met in London, Ontario, around eight years ago. Colleen was the roommate of a friend of Taylor's who was at university.
They got married on October 11, 2014.
Taylor and Colleen's story was also featured in La Presse on Saturday, January 24, in an article about engagement rings.
Chris & Alix review of the year: our highlights of 2014 December 30 2014, 0 Comments
With nostalgic Christmas songs, office parties and lots of family time to enjoy, there's no doubt that this is a very celebratory time of year.
And as we move into our fifth year, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate some of the records we've broken and intimate stories that we've helped bring to life through jewelry in 2014.
Love was in the air this year, as we worked on a huge number of engagement and wedding rings, anniversary rings, and other pieces that were all about family and loved ones. From Jose and Michele's honey bee ring, symbolizing a 'dream come true' between the two of them, to the white gold ring that Chris revealed for Stephanie at Buckingham Fountain, in Chicago, these projects were not only expressions of love but showed an intimate connection and wonderful knowledge of each other's personalities.
A beautifully unique piglet ring and other engagement pieces that reflected international cultures were also within our portfolio this year. Mikaela and Matthew came back to us to create a wedding band that helped us set a new personal record of 37 wedding bands created this year – each and every one with its own story to tell.
We also met a lot of passion for buying locally this year, with many people asking for Canadian stones – diamonds as well as others – and some who chose us because they were keen to have their jewelry made in Montreal.
And it wasn't just rings that defined our 2014. We also got creative with pendants, including one themed on the Taurus starsign and another themed on Koh-Lanta.
The concept of telling stories through jewelry is what makes our work so interesting and fun – and we were delighted to see others showing the same joy and enthusiasm in the fall-themed photo contest we ran towards the end of the year. We're hugely thankful to those who have put their trust in us to create meaningful jewelry for them, and we can't wait to see what next year brings.
So love stories reigned in 2014 – but the possibilities are endless with custom jewelry, and with the stories we might be told in future.
Thanks again, and Happy New Year from all of us!
The secret renaissance: why lockets are coming back into fashion December 20 2014, 0 Comments
Jewelry doesn't have to be about making a statement.
The most enthralling and weathering of stories can lay beneath a diamond's gleaming surface, known only to the wearer – closely guarded secrets in an increasingly transparent, share-crazy world.
And as statement necklaces and oversized hoops show no signs of giving up their place at the forefront of today's fashion, the coy charm of the locket seems to be going through a bit of a renaissance – or is that a revolution? Whatever it is, it doesn't think everyone needs to know about it.
Lockets, amulets and box rings are all said to be coming back into fashion, and it's probably because we never really lost our affection for secret compartments. Originally popular as a means of commemorating death in the 1800s, elaborate lockets contained arrangements of hair, fabric remnants, tiny photographs and illustrations. They were often made in jet and gold, and were engraved and set with precious stones.
It wasn't just mementos that were locked up in people's jewelry – box rings during the European Renaissance were used to carry everything from solid perfume to poison.
And today, we find people coming to us wishing to wrap up their secrets in all kinds of ways. As well as lockets, such as the one pictured, we often do engravings inside wedding bands and engagement rings, or set tiny stones inside bands which only the wearer knows are there.
This 'secret' engraving of wedding bands sometimes results in two designs which may not match on the outside, but have their special connection on the inside. In many cases, only the couple knows that the engravings are there and feels this connection between their rings. Our co-founder Alix and her husband Pablo have this kind of engraving inside their wedding bands (pictured).
So you just don't know what might lie behind someone's shiny wedding band – and therein lies the real beauty and complexity of custom jewelry. It can be an outward statement we want to tell the world, a secret we keep close to our heart, or both.
We all know not to judge a book by its cover, but remember too that the book itself can mean more than you know.
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