James McCarty for Cybèle

Meet James McCarty - the man behind the beautiful limited edition collection of fine jewellery we currently have in store.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Auckland and on Waiheke Island
Your father was a jeweller - tell us about his work and his career
My Father had a huge Jewellery Manufacturing Company in Auckland in the 1970's 80's and 90's - employing up to 90 people. All pieces were designed & manufactured in house and exported to London, Australia, Pacific Islands, Germany, South Africa and the US. At the time he had the largest Jewellery Manufacturing Company in Australasia and is considered the ''Godfather of New Zealand Jewellery".
Did he teach you your craft?
He taught me basic design disciplines and master pattern construction. He also had the most incredible contacts in the industry, and was instrumental in initiating my training with London goldsmith's McCabe & McCarty.
What are your main influences?
I mainly make jewellery to order so my biggest influences are individuals and their preferences. I have designed & created over 3000 pieces for 1000 people, every one is different and unique in their own way- from personality, taste, colours to bone structure.
Where did you train?
I completed an apprenticeship with my fathers company Benchmark Jewellery, then taught my myself for 2 1/2 years before moving to London to attend London Guildhall University and work for prestigious O'bjet D'art Company McCabe & McCarty, creating incredible pieces for companies such as Aspreys, Graff, Cartier, Boucheron, Theo Fennell, David Morris, Garrards and their clients who included The Sultan of Brunei, King of Oman and Sir Elton John among others.
How you characterize your style?
My styles are limitless and universal. Most jewellers only really replicate the style of those who trained them. My training was so very broad and extensive I now have at least 60 different ranges and styles. My main commissions are usually a combination of styles. The beauty of my design is you can't really tell when my pieces were designed and created - they are completely timeless!
You were inspired by our current summer collection and the story behind it. How does this translate through to the pieces you have created for this limited edition collection?
When Cybèle approached me to design and create a range of Jewellery for Spring/Summer 2012 and presented me with sample fabric and info on 'Idol's Eye' I was in design heaven. The history of the 'Idols Eye' Diamond is fascinating and close to home for me. In particular it's final incarnation having been set by famed Diamond Legend Harry Winston - with whom my father used to have a "beer and steak" every time he visited New York. This collection is timelessly futuristic, dynamic, geometric prismatic perfection, blasting energetic colour & light... It's a big small world through an Idols Eye!
Tell us about the process you use in designing and then in creating a new piece?
The process involves being very true to what the requirements of a design are. It's about being basic and fundamentally loyal to the purpose and requirements of each piece and leaving the design at that. Anything added to a design after this formula just takes away from what the design is about.
Are there any highlights in your career to date that you can share with us?
My time training in London was a huge highlight. Making incredible pieces such as 3000 carats of diamond set in 15kg 18ct gold model replica helicopters and winning awards from such great institutions as London City & Guild Institute, British Jewellers Association and The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.
Tell us about a typical day in the life of James McCarty
I start off nice n slow, not rushing into anything. I generally have a few appointments at lunch, then around 5/6pm and in between I make the treasure!
Do you have a favorite gemstone or a favorite metal to work with - if so why?
My favorite gemstones are the stones clients or friends bring in that belonged to their grandparents etc. These stones represent history, life and love and I feel lucky to have the change to continue the legacy of each stone into a piece of jewellery that will be around for many centuries.
November 28, 2011

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