Traditional Beauty


Gregory Crawford Design creates one-of-a-kind pieces using only traditional tools and techniques used by artisans in the past. Using this unique production method means that every piece of jewellery truly is special. Abode2 sat down with Gregory himself to find out more about his passion for the artisan approach.

Where did the passion for jewellery start for you?

I’ve been making things with my hands since I was a little kid. Model wooden cars, sailboats, sculptures in kaolin and soft wood.  My family was poor, and the only jewelry we had around was costume jewelry that belonged to my Mom and Grandmother.  I loved the symmetry and color play in those pieces.  Just by chance, when I was 19 years old, I took a part time job at a jewelry repair shop as a polisher.  The very day that I walked into that workshop, I felt right at home.  I said to myself: “this is for me”!   Within two years, I was making simple jewelry items.  I knew that I had a knack for the work, and I was making a living having fun!  That was fifty years ago, and I’ve been in the workshop ever since.

With so many beautifully crafted designs, where does the initial inspiration come from when you start designing a new piece?

You may notice that the majority of pieces that I make include or feature a notable center gem.  That, you may say, is the theme of the item to be designed.  It’s important to “glorify” the center stone, to make sure that what is designed to go around it emphasizes the peculiar and unique aspects of that particular gem.   There are lines, shapes, colors, and textures to draw from.  Much as a well arranged piece of music.  There should be a recurring theme that must be adhered to.

And I should mention; when commissioned to make a certain piece, the commissioner’s wishes are paramount.  The client may prefer the design to be “edgy”, or to emit a certain “spirit”.  I make their wishes my guiding principle and the design aspects must fit within those parameters.  For instance, notice the very large rectangular aquamarine that is hand carved with a beautiful ancient Egyptian motif on top. The supporting gallery (side wall) is decorated with open pierced lotus blossom patterns set with tiny diamonds.  This part of the pendant could have been just a plain wall, but in this case, the gem being so large, I decided to extend most of the decor around the side walls of the setting.   Decor can be overdone or underdone.  Achieving just the right balance will result in grace and harmony.  I want the finished design to appeal to the heart as well as the mind.


Why are you so enthusiastic about using traditional handcraft techniques when it comes to creating your jewellery? And what are the benefit to using these traditional methods?

Well, I must admit that part of my enthusiasm for handmade jewelry is the simple fact that I’ve devoted a half century to working with my hands at the workbench.  It’s a huge part of my life and I love it.  However, given that, there is a difference in the resulting product itself.  I might illustrate it like this:  The benefits of modern computer aided design (C.A.D.) and production are clearly evident in the practical things we use and enjoy in everyday life.  I’m very happy that the modern jet aircrafts that safely transport us around the world are largely designed and produced by C.A.D.  They are less expensive, and more accessible to the average person.  However, airplanes, washing machines, and microwave ovens are not art.  Other than their practical benefits, these items have little emotional impact on us.  I see the same dynamics when comparing C.A.D. made jewelry to very fine hand made jewelry.  Much of C.A.D. produced jewelry just leaves me cold, aesthetically speaking.  I see no “soul” or “spirit” in the great majority of these items.  And that gets to the crux of the matter to me. Fine jewelry is an art form that is supposed to excite the senses.  Why are people willing to pay huge sums of money for an original oil painting of their loved ones, when a photograph will do the job ?   Why would a person pay tens of thousands of dollars for a beautiful, vintage hand made musket or rifle when they can purchase a very functional firearm for a fraction of that ?  Why do we still love to attend a live concert with 40 or 50 human beings performing a beloved classical work, when we have computer generated music that on the surface sounds pretty good?   Three words answer the question regarding the benefits of  traditional hand crafting methods:  Grace , Beauty, and Humanity.

With each design being unique, is there a set of values or a core ethos that to aim to run thought out all of your designs?

In the over fifty years I have spent making jewelry, I have learned a thing or two about what makes any given piece truly beautiful.  I put my heart and soul into all of my designs.  My goal is to create works of art, not mere trinkets, to be valued and cherished for the rest of my clients’ life and onward to their descendants.

Visit gregorycrawforddesign.com/ to find out more


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