Hi Sam, I love, love, love your jewellery as you know, talk us through…
Why did you create a unisex wedding collection?
If I am really honest, it came from when I got engaged myself in 2017. I firmly believed I was entering an equal partnership with my then soon to be husband. The challenge was to design something that was an ‘engagement and wedding ring’ set that we would both wear. That was the seed.
Your Half Signet Engagement and Wedding rings are most popular with men. Why do you think there are more men seeking engagement rings?
Men’s engagement rings are definitely having a moment. ‘Men’s Jewellery’ in general is more popular. You can see this with brands offering more and more men’s accessories and jewellery. This demand is over flowing into the wedding sector I suppose.
What are the current trends you’re seeing in Wedding jewellery?
Teeny tiny slim bands, with big stones. Not necessarily only diamonds, but I see brides going for peachy coloured sapphires for example, to suit their budget. For men, brown diamonds and textured bands are popular.
Which is your favourite piece from the collection?
It has to be to the Half Signet Engagement Ring and the Half Signet Wedding Ring, Design-wise it’s the smartest. It’s modern while being inspired from a really traditional piece – a men’s signet ring that was originally all about communicating a man’s family heritage. A key value of my work is to democratise gender specific jewellery, altering its functionality for all genders.
What are your top three tips for a couple who want to design a bespoke engagement rings?
Don’t be afraid to give a budget to the designer you are working with. If you are working with a designer maker on a bespoke project, chances are they are in the job because they love it, and not because they are hoping to make their millions, and hence try to bleed you dry. If you have an idea of what you wish to spend, your designer will do their best to give what you want for that price.
– Bring some examples of what you like to discuss. Whether they are vintage or modern, it doesn’t matter but everyone needs a starting point.
– Be patient! Making bespoke items is not quick, from the design process to the finished product, it can take anywhere between 3 to 8 weeks.
Who would be your perfect muse to wear one of your designs?
This is tough… First one that came to me is Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier, also known as Christine and The Queens. I think I’d faint if she wore a piece of mine.
Who, what or where do you get your inspo from?
I love a good contradiction. I like exploring the tension between what is perceived as masculine, versus feminine and how to swap their intended utility. I’m inspired by the history of adornment, and the meaning behind how and why people have been wearing jewellery for thousands of years. And then making my own subtle changes to these traditions for a modern society. Finally humour, if my collections don’t make you smile I’m doing something wrong…
Take me through a day in the life of Sam
Up at 7, no breakfast, chase my toddler around with my husband, getting us ready and out the door. Drop off at the childminder and then into the Goldsmiths’ Centre in Farringdon where I have my studio. The morning is taken up with doing 3D modelling for myself or other freelance clients. Lunch is generally with another designer based at the Centre, which I find so valuable as being self employed can be quite lonely. In the afternoon, you might find me running around Hatton Garden sourcing stones or talking to setters or casters about on going jobs. At some point there is always a dreaded run to the Post Office, to send out something by Special Delivery. Other days it’s a meeting with a client about a new prospective job designing engagement or wedding rings, or remodelling family heirloom pieces. Train home after 5pm, with a fly by to the shop – to pick up some dinner because I cannot seem to do a weekly shop. Get the baby back, give him a bath, then jammies and a bottle to the dulcet tones of Fireman Sam before bedtime. Assemble dinner, turn on Netflix, get ready to repeat.
What’s next for Sam Ham?
A baby actually. I’m due in September so at the moment I am prepping for that. Getting enough stock ready to fulfill orders I (hope) to get through my website during my mat leave. I am finishing up making a new collection that I will launch when I come back in Spring 2023. Watch this space!