What Inspires David Michael’s Jewelry Designs?

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The Sources of Inspiration Behind David Michael’s Stunning Jewelry Creations

David Michael’s jewelry designs have captivated me over time, especially the ones posted on their Instagram. As a novelist, I see each piece as a story waiting to be told, and I find their creative process incredibly fascinating. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Michael Robinson, one half of the twin brothers behind David Michael, and our conversation delved deep into the realms of creativity.

Here is a condensed version of our discussion:

I have to mention how special it is to see your creative process on Instagram. Your sketches are just as stunning as your finished pieces. I would actually wear your drawings.

Thank you so much! I view sketches as an integral part of the creative journey. They hold the same value as the final work and express what I do in a different form.

When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate it when people praised my drawings and paintings. To me, they were just preliminary doodles before the actual piece. But I soon realized that every aspect of my art is crafted with care and attention. Having people appreciate any part of my work is a great honor.

As a novelist, I often find inspiration from objects. For example, a 100-year-old photograph of a lost tiara sparked the idea for my book The Last Tiara. Similarly, seeing two art deco Belperron cuffs in a shop window inspired my recent novel The Jeweler of Stolen Dreams. These moments are like magic, where all my senses heighten and the world seems to come to a standstill.

I experience that same feeling when I’m working. I often say that my whole world shrinks to the size of a matchbox.

When I’m deeply engrossed in creating something, my focus becomes microscopic. It feels like there’s nothing else; just my breath and precise, delicate movements as I concentrate on the tiniest details.

I’ve spent entire days looking through a microscope lens while carving a gemstone, striving to achieve the perfect details. At the end of the day, I’ll stand up and realize that those painstaking details are barely visible to the naked eye. Yet, I find satisfaction in knowing that every detail is exactly how I wanted it. I record my day’s work in my workshop journal, a personal diary that chronicles every aspect of creation as I handcraft each jewel.

With painting and drawing, I encounter a similar experience. My focus becomes so intense that I had to teach myself to be looser and more relaxed in my sketches.

Where does your process begin? Where do you find your initial ideas?

I believe my creative process started when I was a kid. I was always drawing and constructing things with Lego. That passion seamlessly transitioned into working with wood scraps from home renovations, and eventually, making jewelry in my bedroom from the age of fifteen. I never stopped creating.

Nowadays, most of my ideas come directly from my mind. I’m an overthinker, always generating a multitude of ideas. My sketchbooks are filled with concepts that my hands may never have the time to bring to life. And I have even more ideas that won’t make it onto a sketchbook page because I’m too busy crafting in the workshop.

However, I can pinpoint a specific moment of inspiration for one of my creations—the jeweled Koi Pond. The concept had been in my mind for about ten years. It was born from memories of creating fishponds and rock gardens with my dad and brother back in New Zealand. One day, I came across a beautiful portrait cut Aquamarine, and it instantly clicked. The idea that had been brewing within me for years manifested on paper within minutes. And thus began my Koi Pond series.

My tendency to overthink also comes into play when it comes to crafting the physical object.

Being self-taught and creating one-of-a-kind pieces means I often face technical challenges I’ve never encountered before. However, I have already made the piece vividly in my mind numerous times by the time I start working with metal. So, as soon as I pick up a tool, my hands instinctively know what to do.

It almost feels like these creations are meant to be; I just have to step back and let my hands bring them to life.

That’s what I love about what I do—it’s deeply personal. I don’t take any shortcuts, and I prioritize making every piece as special as possible. I find joy in crafting works that make me happy, in the hopes that they evoke the same emotion in anyone who encounters them.

M.J. Rose is a New York Times bestselling author. Town & Country magazine selected her most recent novel, The Jeweler of Stolen Dreams, as one of the Best Reads of the Month.


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