Last week we posted Part 4 of our Engagement Ring series, telling you about the process of getting your engagement ring custom-made. If you are looking to get your ring designed (or designed for your wife-to-be), go back and read through that post. We had internationally renowned jeweller, Tarquin Di Domenico, share with us his tips for getting a ring hand-crafted to be uniquely yours. Today we share an interview we did with him about his business, Tarquin Precious Metalsmiths - enjoy!
Tarquin and his brothers, Rocque and Marcus, collectively have nearly one hundred years of experience in jewellery design and the art of hand crafting precious metal jewellery. Throughout the world, their jewellery design work has been appreciated by royalty, presidents, first ladies, mayors and many of the most famous Hollywood actors such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Oliver Reed. Their third studio opened in Hillcrest in February 2006, where Tarquin now creates a new range of exclusive jewellery for export and the South African local market using a mix of American, European and African design concepts.Tarquin has since developed a new white precious metal to the world called Ptag 8. The metal has been developed to meet the demand for white metal jewellery at more affordable prices. They like to ensure their customers the very best works of art from a team with a passion!
How did you get into jewellery design?
Has it been a dream
since you were young?
My family moved to Rhodesia when
I was eight years old. I remember having a pendant from Johannesburg that everyone there
commented on. One day I made a mould of the pendant and made a few hundred out of
lead in my back yard with just a fire, an old coffee tin and a lot of help from
my friends. I enjoyed experimenting and come from an artistic family. Jewellery
seemed like a very cool hobby to have. I did want to study chemical engineering
but didn’t learn Afrikaans at school. So when we moved back to Johannesburg (I
was about 16) I decided to take on a jewellery apprenticeship and learn
Afrikaans at night school. After a while I realised that jewellery as my
secondary interest or “hobby” had grown into a great passion. I started manufacturing jewellery at the age of 16 and have been a jeweller now for 37 years.
We have heard you are running a course for up-and-coming jewellery designers. Tell us about it.
I offer a Wax Course that runs over
one month. Our objective is to promote the industry and create an interest. The
course is a very basic introduction into jewellery, where we not only teach
jewellery design but also teach how to transform a 2D drawing into a 3D model.
This model would be carved out of wax which is a blue/purple/green material
that is soft enough to be cut out but hard enough to keep detail and precise
measurements. This wax model will then be placed into an investment (a sort of
plaster) and cast into a precious metal. That cast is then cleaned, polished
and can be sold. Wax carving is a relatively inexpensive way to learn some
fundamental jewellery-making techniques. Below is an example of a design in 2D
with a 3D wax model and the finished 18ct yellow gold product.
Ilona Stichling, a jewellery
design and manufacture graduate from the University of Johannesburg, recently
finished our course. She said that she really enjoyed it and found it extremely
beneficial to have wax carving techniques. She highly recommends it and will
definitely be able to use the new techniques in the future. Having said this,
we want to just add here that the course can be done by anyone – no previous
jewellery skills are required. If anyone is interested to learn how to carve
jewellery out of wax and cast it into a precious metal, then please feel free
to contact us and we can provide more details.
What inspires your design?
I design jewellery
according to what my customer wants. Once I have a basic idea or direction from
my client I look for outside inspirations like nature or natural shapes. If the
piece of jewellery has a stone, on the other hand, then I tend to design around
the stone because the metal needs to compliment the stone as much as possible.
Tell us about your jewellery design aesthetic.
I really enjoy combining
classical design with contemporary design and vice versa. I also like making
fine jewellery with intricate details. I also want to push boundaries in
jewellery design by creating pieces that are unique and totally different.
And what are your engagement ring rates?
They can range between R10 000 to R150 000 but we work according to our clients budget. We do require a R400 design deposit which is deducted off the total price once our client goes ahead with the job.
Tell us about yourself in 3 words.
Great appreciator of beauty.
How can people get hold of you if they’d like to get
They are very welcome to visit
our shop at: Shop 16, Heritage Centre, Hillcrest. We are open Mondays to
Fridays from 9am to 5pm. We have stock available to look at but if they are
looking to have a design made by us, we do require them to please make an
Tel: (031) 765 8946 -- Cell: 084 208 5567
All ring images belong to Tarquin Precious Metalsmiths, and cannot be used or reproduced without permission.
Labels: Durban, Engagement Rings, Hillcrest Heritage Centre, jewellery, jewellery designer, Tarquin Di Domenico, Tarquin Precious Metalsmiths, weddingtips