Jeremy is a classically trained gold and platinum-smith, gemstone dealer and qualified gemmologist – three skills that together give you great knowledge and a real competitive advantage in the industry. He is highly regarded for the quality of his craftsmanship and regularly makes jewels for designers and jewellery stores, but it is his own jewels, set with extraordinary gems individually sourced by Jeremy, that are his life’s work.
The jewellery-making process for Jeremy begins with the acquisition of a gem. If it is uncut and in the rough, he will oversee its polishing by his team of cutters. Then the design process begins. His aesthetic is classical and timeless, with the stones the focal point of each jewel. Was this a conscious decision?
“I haven't always worked liked this,” he explains. “When I first started out, I felt that the technical skills required to make classical jewellery were not evident in most art jewellery. I have since seen some nice work, but it was through this classical approach that I applied myself to the craft.” His signature style earned him a scholarship to attend the Gemological Institute of America, where he joined their graduate gemmologist programme, which sparked his lifelong love of gems.
“The history, geography, art, chemistry, physics and sheer beauty of gems speak for themselves.”
Jeremy creates a very limited number of unique jewels each year, and the designs are always inspired by the stones. “My passion for creating handmade, one-of-a-kind jewellery is an extension of the natural beauty created by the earth,” he explains. “I feel that jewellery was meant to accentuate the gem and not the other way around.” Is he under the spell of precious gemstones, I ask? “You are definitely correct – I had no idea of the knowledge and passion I would gain by studying precious gems. I feel that as you learn more about gemstones, the more you respect and appreciate them.”
He is proud of all of his stones and shows me two beautiful gems he acquired recently: a 10.20 carat neon tourmaline from Namibia and an 8.45 carat Malaya garnet from Tanzania. Both are exquisite, displaying perfect proportions, excellent clarity and a rich, highly saturated colour. The 2.30 carat unheated Mozambique ruby that Jeremy is currently setting in a double halo ring is another gem he is keen to highlight. “I have seen many examples of the double halo, but I wanted to try my own hand in fabricating this timeless style,” he reveals. “This ruby is very rare and of the finest quality.”
I cannot leave unnoticed the fact that in 2019, Jeremy placed third in the Classical Division of the American Gem Trade Associations Spectrum Awards. The jewel that earned him the coveted award, an Indicolite tourmaline ring set with ideal cut diamonds in platinum, exemplifies the purity and cleanness of his designs and his commitment to sourcing gems of distinction. The tourmaline is outstanding – a magnificent teal blue displaying a mesmerising depth of colour.
His website, Dunn & Co, features both fine gems and select pieces of handmade jewellery, and it is not unusual for clients to be won over by a particular stone and for Jeremy to then set to work designing a jewel that will best complement its beauty. In Jeremy’s world, it is hard to distinguish between the two disciplines. “When I talk about my career, I find it difficult to express my passion for gems, and for creating the one-of-a-kind jewels they are showcased in,” he elaborates. “I work with people from all over the world, visit mines and share my love of what I do with other people in my trade on a daily basis.” It is the coming-together of these two worlds that truly sets Jeremy apart. “Not many jewellers are handmaking their jewels these days,” he continues. “After the 1930s, fabrication began to disappear. I spend a great deal of time meticulously handcrafting each piece. Additionally, the cutting and quality of my gems is much higher than most. As a jewellery maker and gemmologist, I am able to understand things from two very different perspectives.”
Jeremy photographs each of the stages in a creation of a jewel and, when he’s finished, compiles a coffee table book of the process. It’s a beautiful way to document the amount of work that goes into each jewel and a very special keepsake for its owner. He smiles when he recalls the reactions his jewels elicit: “The moment a customer tries on one of my personal creations, I love to see their eyes light up. I know they understand the quality of their jewellery, and the time that went into crafting it. This moment of sharing our appreciation is one of the best parts of my work.”
I return to the subject of technology. Will Jeremy ever succumb to the allure of CAD to speed up his design process? “I respect all methods of making jewellery, and at some stage in my career I have utilised all of them,” he acknowledges. “However, I feel that handmaking a piece of jewellery is a skill and an artform. It identifies a jewel as one of a kind – no two pieces will ever be the same. The human hand brings character, prestige and provenance to my jewellery.”
With his winning combination of classicism, flawless artisanship and superlative stones, just like his jewels, Jeremy is one of a kind. Visit his Instagram page, @dunnandco.jewelry, for a glimpse into his wonderful world of colour and craftsmanship.