Uniquely Yours, Custom Jewelry {Ask the Expert}

Spread the love, it’s Valentine’s Day!

Weather you’re cuddling up tonight with your honey bunny aside a fireplace, or boycotting the Hallmark Holiday once again, February 14, 2012 remains a special day for many couples in love and planning a wedding… and even some that pop the question.

These days, it is all to common to just ’settle’ for an expensive decision from a big box store with all the 4 C’s on the ring and walk out with a pretty bow to make your significant other swoon. While expensive, it sounds to easy.

Which is why, I present you a creative alternative in the next installment of Ask the Expert, focused on the notion of choosing a custom gift made by Uniquely Yours Custom Designed Jewelry owner, Gregory Brassil. Gregory lives in my Etsy neighborhood in MN. I see him at the Co-Op gathering groceries. We are both giddy about our trip to Burning Man 2012 (IF we can get tickets). He also hand-crafted my hammered-platinum wedding band which I am very pleased his results.

Meet Gregory Brassil, pictured in his Linden Hills design studio:wpid-gregory_brassil_uniquely_yours_custom_jewelry-2012-02-14-10-55.jpg

1. Gregory, how do you create your style and where do you draw your inspiration?

I create my style directly from each client and each design project as it unfolds. To me, the core of ‘custom work’ demands that I adapt my design sensibility to my client and do everything I can to hone my ideas to meet their desires. So I attempt to draw my inspiration from the questions I ask them.

2. Tell me three of your goals of your business for the next year. What are you doing to accomplish them?

My main 3 goals for this next year are:

  • Create a series of limited edition jewelry pieces of our own and from our own design ideas.
  • Evolve our web site to include e-commerce, so you can buy our unique, custom designs directly from the site.
  • Attract a consistent stream of wealthy clients. That will allow us to work more and more with the finest materials and make some awesome pieces.

3. As a jewelry designer, how effective is branding, website, blog, and social networking? How do modern bride and grooms connect best with your designs?

All I know at this point is that our web site has become probably the most prolific source of new business. Our first priority this year is to re-design our site. Then we will take a look at blogging and other branding activities. We’re still learning.

4. What key moment in your life made you the artist you are today? What motivated your entrepreneurial spirits?

That’s an interesting question. Probably the ‘key’ moment arrived after I had moved back here from California 20 years ago. I had done mainly wholesale trade work in California. I saw a space for rent and I decided to hang out my sign as a ‘custom jeweler’ in the form of a retail studio. I never looked back.

Truly my main motivation comes from the people I make jewelry for. I feel deeply honored, every day, to be invited to participate in my clients celebrations of love and appreciation by making unique and personal jewelry for them. wpid-gregory_brassil-2012-02-14-10-55.jpg

5. Describe how you’d create jewelry within the style of your favorite painting. What period? Colors? Why?

I lean toward modern, expressionistic art, and love to incorporate lots of color along with lots of diamonds. Like a Christmas tree with white and colored lights both.

6. Why is jewelry important (to you)?

It allows me to express creatively! AND it affords me incredible opportunities to connect with some equally incredible people in meaningful ways.

7. What is your favorite design tool, other than your hands?

My mind. Ha!

8. How do you feel about copying another’s jewelry designs?

Well, I certainly don’t like copying anyone else’s designs. What’s the point of that? It’s already done. But that being said, often people bring me images of things they like and I then try to come up with a similar feeling for their custom project.

9. Pair music with your jewelry designs… what genre are we in? Is it different than the music that inspires you to create what you do best?

Secretly, I like listening to deep trance music, loud, when no one is around. It gets me in to deeper places.  Everyone sees from a different perspective, I’ve learned, and it’s interesting to hear what people ‘see’ in my jewelry sometimes.

10. How does travel and other worldly-experiences shape your style?

Traveling can have an incredible influence. You get to see all kinds of different ways and very different design styles. It’s impossible not to have that influence you in some form or another. That’s the beauty of how we collectively evolve, yes?

11. Describe your biggest pressures and challenges from a client perspective. How can a custom designer ameliorate these concerns?

For me, the biggest challenge, and simultaneously, the biggest pressure I feel, is to create what the client truly wants and desires. The challenge is to be able to get into their head and figure that out. Sometimes they know exactly what they want, but often as not they don’t exactly and you have to help them to see it. And then get it expressed, and communicated, to scale, in 2 dimension drawings and 3D models, until you get it just right.

The best way I have discovered to ‘ameliorate these concerns’, as you put it, is to ask lots and lots of questions. Do they like this or that? In as many ways as you can think of. It’s really, ultimately a collaboration between you and your client. Hopefully, you are ‘designing’ what they already want.

12. What do you feel stands as the most challenging thing about designing custom jewelry?

The answer to number 11 above is biggest. After that it’s to balance the pure creative energy that you need to keep cultivating with the extremely necessary practical energy to manage your business and keep it profitable.


Thanks for sharing, Gregory! And if you are looking for a custom wedding or engagement ring for those couples planning a wedding in Minnesota, I HIGHLY recommend Gregory!

No tie, sandals only, and dressed for success, meet our ring bearer, A. J. as he tries on his wedding day outfit :


The real humor in this photo? The bag contains jars of homemade MN pickles.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Stay tuned for future “Ask the Expert” interviews of others who love to create as much as share. I’m looking for suggestions for new content, toss a comment below and share what you’d like see next!

4 Responses to “Uniquely Yours, Custom Jewelry {Ask the Expert}”

  1. couple communication — March 11, 2012 @ 5:57 pm (#)

    Yes! Finally someone writes about marriage communication.

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