Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Forged for Me

After about a year-long fling with baubles of the obscenely large and fabulously faux variety, I felt the need to inject a little bit of fineness into my jewelry wardrobe. I wanted something precious, well-crafted, and above all, I wanted something nobody else had. So I decided to have my very first piece of fine jewelry custom-made.

Lanero Fine Jewelry's artful artisans

I knew exactly whom to call: Yen Guevara and Jane Sy of Lanero Fine Jewelry, my mother’s jewelers, and friends of my family for decades. I grew up waiting for my mother at their shop having her chandelier earrings expressly stone-set for a party that same night. So though this was the first time I had a piece made for myself, the process felt absolutely natural. After a few days of going back and forth and collaborating on my concept for the piece (which I shall share with you shortly), my little project was underway. Right now, it’s about halfway done, so I had my brother pop into Lanero’s boutique and workshop to check up on the progress of my piece and while he was at it, snap some factory porn shots and pictures of the gorgeous gems on display.

All of the custom work is done in-house by some of the best goldsmiths in the region, and it’s quite marvelous to see them at work.

forging gold, playing with fire

master craftsman Mang Martin

working on the skeleton of a very important necklace

meticulously beading a long necklace of graduated-color Hasonite, with Oriental-inspired accents set in yellow gold

It was amusing to see such heavy machinery used to make the very delicate pieces:

This rolling machine forms gold into sheets or wire as needed.

Lanero’s Jane Sy explaining the details of a sketch to one of the goldsmiths

checking the ring size on a mandrel


elastic bands and ring sizers

Color is a style signature of the sisters Jane and Yen; they make vibrant pieces that are timeless and wearable, but most certainly not your unfortunately unfashionable aunt’s stodgy old trinkets.

a vivid orange necklace of carnelian beads set in yellow gold with diamonds

a white tassel cuff of semi-precious beads set in rose gold with diamonds

a typical afternoon scene at the shop: the sisters (far left), chit-chatting with clients and playing dress-up with dripping jewels

my mother’s newest finger candy: her “lollipop” ring of pavé rubies and diamonds set in blackened gold

a handful of Lanero’s new cocktail rings: (left to right) a teardrop-shaped blue topaz, a pavé brown and white diamond lollipop ring set in rose gold, and a power ring in white moonstone, with a pair of starburst studs

And after the lengthy ado, here’s what I’m having made. I was inspired by this photo by Jak and Jil,

a lone silver signet ring worn on the pinky alongside a wristful of crazy eclectic baubles (photo by Tommy Ton for

and I thought that a signet pinky ring would be the perfect piece for me right now. A signet ring is a classic menswear piece, favored by kings of ancient times who used the embossed emblems on the rings to seal official documents, and Ivy League prepsters who had their family's coat of arms prominently etched on the flat top. On the pinky, it would be a wearable, subtle background to the heftier wrist pieces I wear alongside my watch, and could even complement larger rings worn on the other fingers.

I’m having it done in rose gold; I love that warm, intriguingly different gleam of the copper-tinged alloy. But I just couldn’t rest with having a plain-top ring; I'm having it custom-made just for me, after all. I originally thought of having the top done in a hammered finish, but was cautioned that it would look haphazard and barely visible on a surface of that size. So I made the sensible choice and went for a top of full pavé brown diamonds (same as that on the lollipop ring two photos up): it’s relatively more wearable and not nearly as blindingly sparkly as white diamonds, and it would be quite an emblematic collaboration piece between The Dandy Project and Lanero: a classic men’s piece crazy-fied by sparkle, encrusted with the tinted diamonds that the colored-stone mavens are known for.

my ring in its current state, waiting to be polished, slightly reshaped, and stone-set

I can’t wait to see my pavé brown diamond rose gold signet pinky ring. I think it will be just dandy.

photos by my un-dandy but nonetheless awesome brother Mikee

Lanero Jewelry
Unit 220, 2nd Flr. The Jewellery at Greenhills Shopping Center
San Juan City, Philippines
telephone: 632- 7235028
facsimile: 632-7236280


Michael said...

I can't wait to see it either! Wonderful post. This is one of the most compelling jewelry posts I've seen on any man's blog.

Excellent work.

Mat said...

big step! look forward to seeing the proper deal

David Toms said...

What a fabulous and informative post. The jewellery is wonderful as I am sure your signet ring will be.

Giancinephile said...

This s very exciting! Can't wait to see how it ends up!

Six Six Sick said...

As a jeweler, I love these behind-the-scene photos. I really can't wait to see the final result!

Anonymous said...

Iwant a silver signet pinky ring for myself. The pictures are great. DeeDee

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