We love stories and we believe behind every jewelry addict really just someone who is obsessed with the symbolism that jewelry carries. So we were delighted to interview Michelle Day Heritage for the Gem Hunt Blog because she gave us lots of fodder for what we love best - stories and stories about jewelry. Her jewelry designs are gorgeous, vintage inspired and will stand the test of time but what we really love is learning about what led her to her current designation: jewelry designer. Her journey has all the pieces of a great story - a rich family history, a personal obsession, and some legacy diamonds that started it all.
Tell us about your background?
I remember always being obsessed with jewelry, growing up in Canberra the Capitol of Australia. Jewelry for me was a little bit of glamour for a girl living a simple life. I studied photography in Canberra before moving to Sydney where I worked shooting celebrities for all of the major magazines. Moving to Los Angeles was a natural progression for my career. Within a year, I was traveling all over the world photographing fascinating people, Rachel Hunter, Jim Carrey, Prince Albert of Monaco and my idol photographer, Helmut Newton. Along the way, I photographed the Managing Director of Argyle Diamonds, a delightful man who introduced me to several of his colleagues and I began my journey designing fine jewels.
What led you to starting your jewelry company?
In the beginning, I designed pieces for myself; compliments led to designing for friends and referrals widened my client base. More than half of the custom designs I do are engagement rings, I love the whole process of working with together with a couple to create a ring that marks the start of such a significant journey. Everything about getting and being engaged is so exciting, it is a great space to work in.
No one was surprised when I started talking about doing a line; it was another natural progression. My work as a photographer often involves solving problems, so my vision was to create a line that solved the most common problem in my custom design experience, which was clients wanting a unique statement ring but not knowing what that looks like, so the Michelle Day Heritage line is a platform to start the creative process. All of the rings can be customized or not as they are all perfect the way they are but I do love tweaking the designs, using colored and heirloom stones and changing elements to make it your very own.
The inspiration for my first piece in my line (the Churchill ring) was from an old broken brooch my much loved mother in law gave me. I carried the stones around in my purse for months looking at them every day trying to figure out how to make them sing together in a new design. The result a gorgeous cocktail ring, so unique with a great back story that I fell in love with. All of the rings in my line have something unexpected that makes them unique and effortlessly glamorous. Classic designs, contemporary construction, it’s a win all round.
How would you describe your design point of view?
Nostalgic, with a modern twist.
What do you like better — white gold, yellow gold or platinum?
I am loving rose gold right now, the color is so soft, and I think it mixes so well with other gold colors. I used to only wear white gold and platinum, until I inherited some family heirlooms in yellow and rose gold. Now I feel confident mixing gold colors, it is just a matter of changing your mind set. Mixing metals is so hot and modern right now.
What is your favorite design in your line?
The sentimental person in me, would have to pick the Countess and the Churchill rings. The Countess is a redesign of my mother in law’s engagement ring. Yellow Sapphire center, surrounded by Marquise diamonds, like rays of sunshine. The Churchill ring is named after the great man himself. Winston Churchill was my father in law’s mentor of sorts. A great inspiration to him during his political career. The Churchill ring is gorgeous pear shaped diamonds swirled around the center and halo. It was the first ring I designed for the Heritage line, and the feeling of having something you have thought about for a long time become reality is exciting, it feels close to my heart. I can’t wait to make them in different colored golds and center stones. The possibilities are endless.
Can you tell us where your unique logo comes from?
The Stag is inspired by a detail in my husband Rupert’s family crest. We have been married 15 years and his extraordinary family has had great influence in my life. His father was an amazing man that loved me like the daughter he never had. His mother Marion’s first marriage was into the British Royal Family, via the Queens first cousin, Lord Harewood. Marion and I shared a love of fine jewels and she had a dazzling collection. My in laws encouraged and inspired me to take my designing further, so it is a sweet nod to them and my husband, who is my biggest supporter.
Any advice for couples or boyfriends on how to find the right ring?
Your partner will drop hints, so listen carefully if you are planning a surprise proposal. Choose a design that reflects your personality and your love story. The story of your love and how it came to be, is often the most repeated story you will tell in your lifetime.
Look for designs that are classic, that have stood the test of time and remain relevant. My engagement ring is a family heirloom, I love that it is unique and has a story. The classic design is as gorgeous as when it was made in the 1930’s. Keep in mind that the ring you choose may be in your family for generations.
Also, choose stones with great color and clarity. Good diamonds will keep their shine, through the rigors of everyday wear, which is tough on a ring. Hand lotion, cooking, washing your hands and hair will all dull the shine of your stones. A good diamond will still shine even if it’s a little dirty. Clean your ring once a month at least, have the setting checked every year for loose stones.