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PUT A RING ON IT! Interview with wedding jewelry designer Chaya Caron

ChayaIt’s spring, y’all. Like for real.  It’s that time of year when your mailbox overflows with really cleverly-designed save-the-dates for the seventeen weddings you will be dedicating all your weekends to this summer.  This, combined with the impending probability of the legalization of same-sex marriage in our fine state, might even have you thinking your own wedding-like thoughts.  If this sounds like you, or if you just happen to be a borderline compulsive internet window shopper like I am, and you haven’t already discovered the website of the amazing and talented jewelry designer Chaya Caron, I have two words for you: you’re welcome.  I connected with Chaya to talk about her process, her products and, of course, how it all ties into queerness, like everything that is truly beautiful in my world. (I know. AWWWWWW….)

TLS: How are you connected to the LGBTQ community, personally and professionally?

Chaya: I have been working with gay and lesbian couples and individuals for more than 10 years, creating wedding and commitment rings, anniversary jewelry, birthday gifts and other custom pieces. Here in Maine, same sex marriage was just legalized, and I was honored to show my work at a recent wedding expo that was created especially for the LGBTQ community. The goal was to ensure that wedding expos and similar events are all-encompassing and welcoming. It was a very special show, and I was proud to be involved.

Personally, I have many close friends in the LGBTQ community, and I have always been a supporter of political movements directed at providing equal rights for all. On a deeper level, I identify with the community as a bisexual. In my 20s and late teens, the local lesbian community here was very supportive as I was exploring my own sexuality. So, as you can see, my connection to the LGBTQ community runs deep.

TLS: What influences your designs?

Chaya: The design process is a wonderful balance between the esoteric–the couples’ personality and style–with the more concrete components such as comfort, durability and budget. That’s what makes it both challenging and very rewarding.

Chaya1TLS: Describe your design process for us.  Do you feel a connection with the couples you are designing for?

Chaya: I like to start with an initial consult. This can be done in person or by phone or Skype. We talk about their style preferences, metal preferences and their general aesthetic. I also like to hear about who they are as a couple…what are their hobbies? How do they relate to each other? Understanding those things about them definitely builds a connection. I think it’s critical to the design process.

Some people have ideas, themes they want to incorporate or pictures of pieces they like. Others have no preconceived notions of what they want or describe themselves as “having no vision.” I’ve learned that I’m very good at translating people’s ideas and preferences into visual representations of their aesthetic…and making sure those designs are workable. It’s joyful to me to take their ideas and personalities and make those the essence of their piece…or, to put it another way, translating the essence of them as a couple into real pieces of jewelry.

From that initial meeting, I create several sketches for their review. Then we hone in, and I refine the design and generate an estimate so they understand the cost parameters.  From there, they can be as involved as they want to be.  It’s interesting…the degree of involvement varies greatly from couple to couple.  Either way, they are definitely part of the journey with me. In between the sketches and the final product come wax models and prototypes…these are times when adjustments can be made and the couple can try on the rings before they are final. I can tell you it’s an exciting process for all of us. I get to be a part of their romance all along the way. That’s very special….a gift to me really.

One of the things I love about creating for the LGBT community is that it opens up a whole new canvass for design. I’m not locked into “traditional” male/female versions. For example, my Cherry Blossom collection was inspired by wedding rings I made for a lesbian couple. The both wanted to incorporate the floral theme in their rings.  I loved the theme and the process so much that I carried it forward into that collection, and it’s one of my most popular.

I feel fortunate that I’m gaining more and more of a following, both in and out of the LGBTQ community. That’s very flattering.

TLS: It must be very exciting to be a part of building these new traditions for same-sex couples.  How did you decide to start designing wedding rings?

Chaya: I didn’t design wedding rings until some friends requested them. Through the process of making my first 2-3 sets, I fell in love with it. It’s very powerful to know that I’m creating a piece of jewelry that someone will wear every day for the rest of their lives. I have the privilege of creating heirlooms…lasting symbols of their commitment. I feel honored that people ask me to do it.

TLS: Metal work does not seem like a female-dominated industry. How has it been for you as a woman in the field?

Chaya: Fortunately there’s nothing about the process that defines it as male or female.  Neither the process nor the tools are so physically demanding that I feel I’m limited. I also found all my instructors and mentors to be supportive and encouraging. The master goldsmiths I apprenticed with were welcoming and non-discriminating. People who want to do this can…whether they are male or female.

For more info on Chaya Studio, please visit:
http://www.chayastudio.com/
https://www.facebook.com/chayastudio

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About Stacy

Born and raised in rural Nebraska, Stacy migrated to Chicago in 2008 to begin her career in education. After four years of teaching high school English in the Englewood and Aburn Gresham neighborhoods of Chicago's Southside, she has since shifted her focus to more creative pursuits, returning to her first loves: interior design and poetry. Though she spends more time at poetry readings now than in classrooms, she can't seem to tear herself away completely, facilitating training and professional development for schools on LGBTQ issues in the classroom and providing interior design services for improving educational environments. She loves traveling, everything nature, crafting, casseroles, reading, and you. She definitely loves you.

Discussion

2 Responses to “PUT A RING ON IT! Interview with wedding jewelry designer Chaya Caron”

  1. Amazing and Talented jewelry design

    Posted by Tamil Matrimonials | October 16, 2014, 1:58 am
  2. Wonderful ring design, Thanks

    Posted by Jewellery in Marthandam | May 9, 2015, 10:27 pm

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