Maker Ruby Tynan Jewellery

I love the secret insights of a maker, what gives them the instinct to follow craft and arts over 9 - 5. Ruby’s work is delicate, modern and versatile. The same piece can go from day to night, with such a tactile product, markets are a crucial part of the customers experience.

Interviewed by Lucy harbron, we find out about ruby’s journey to silversmithing. Follow here Ruby

What’s your first memory of wearing jewellery?

I’m not too sure what my first memory of wearing jewellery is. As a child I wasn’t too concerned with anything that ‘girly’. However, I have a strong memory of being in my Dad’s design and technology classroom as a young child, being left alone to solder circuit board components into rings with my sister. I guess that’s when the seed was planted!

What made you decide to start making jewellery, and what was the process like of learning that skill?

I don’t really have a cool or exciting “how I got started” story. There was no “lightbulb moment” where I realized that making jewellery was something I was going to base my career on. I was studying for a MSc degree in something totally uncreative, and wanted an artistic outlet to serve as a therapeutic release while I wasn’t studying. I had always been a creative person, believing that nothing should be bought if it could be made, but I had never been convinced that I was suited to a creative career. Therefore, I settled on jewellery making because it marries creativity and science. I was fascinated with the process of creating something beautiful by following a series of precise, methodical steps. And not having studied silversmithing in any form, I think I saw soldering as a new challenge!

Because I am completely self-taught, I’m constantly learning, and that’s what makes my job so exciting. I still melt the occasional piece, and do sometimes singe my fringe on my torch ha-ha! But I’m getting better, and learning new skills all of the time. Being self-taught in a craft that I am making a living from is something I am incredibly proud of.

What’s the process like of designing and making a piece? Any particular soundtrack you like to listen to? Certain order you work in? Outfit? Drink of choice?

Many of my designs start with the materials themselves, rather than a sketch. I like to experiment with forming wire and sheet, using a range of different techniques to create something completely unrecognisable. I often test and wear pieces for weeks before settling on a design. As a result, my jewellery collections are versatile and wearable.

I spend hours upon hours at my bench, so keeping myself entertained whilst in the studio is very important. I’m never seen without my pair of headphones! I will listen to anything from true crime podcasts, to the Harry Potter Audiobooks, and big blockbuster movie scores.

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What’s the best feedback you could get as a creator?

I love it when a customer comes back and visits me at a market, or I bump into someone who has bought something from me in the past, and is wearing what they bought. There’s no bigger compliment or piece of feedback than a happy customer wearing jewellery that I have made. I also love it when a customer tells me that they wear their jewellery every day.

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When in the studio my drink of choice is Yorkshire tea, copious amounts of it in fact.

What’s your favourite thing about jewellery? Why are you passionate about it?

I have always been captivated by a love of delicate and dainty jewellery. I admire minimalist design, with lots of clean lines simple shapes, and this is definitely something I try to convey in my collections. I’m also inspired by the customers themselves. Modern women demand versatility from their jewellery, they want pieces of luxury that can be worn every day, whether its running errands, or out for dinner with friends on a Friday night. My passion is to create simple, contemporary and classic collections that are timeless, elegant and most importantly, affordable

What your favourite piece of jewellery you own?

My favourite piece of jewellery is a necklace I made for myself a couple of years ago, a 9 carat rose gold miniature concave heart necklace. It’s my favourite because my Mum has the same design, but slightly bigger. The larger version was the first design I ever made in solid gold, so I think it will always hold a special place in my heart. And I can’t resist a bit of rose gold!

Favourite part of the process?

I have two favourite parts to the process of making my jewellery. The first one, and by far the most satisfying, is polishing each piece. Making my jewellery involves lots of different steps, many of which can be quite messy. For example, soldering silver causes it to go black with firescale. I absolutely love the polishing stage because I transform the dull, soldered piece of jewellery into something beautifully shiny! 

My second favourite part of the process is packaging an order. To me the packaging is part of the product. I want my packaging to be as beautiful and luxury as the jewellery. I love imagining my customers’ joy when opening the package and seeing their jewellery for the first time.

Least favourite part of the process?

I’d say my least favourite part of what I do is having to send off an order (usually a custom order) that I really want to keep for myself. I recently made a pair of large hoop earrings in solid 9 carat yellow gold. They were a custom order based on a smaller silver pair that I make, and they were so beautifully simple, but luxurious at the same time. I found it very difficult to part ways with them!

Charlotte Righton