By Lucy M. Pritchett
Imagine spending your days surrounded by dazzling diamonds, sparkling sapphires, and precious metals of gold and silver. Welcome to the world of Ashley Davis, vice president of Davis Jewelers.
Her job entails using her left brain when she is buying new items or replenishing inventory and keeping up with trends in the jewelry business. Then her right brain gets a workout as custom jewelry designer.
“I have my own existing clients and others who come in as referrals. I already know my clients’ style and taste so when I go to market I do buy with some of my own clients in mind. Generally, I don’t buy what I love but what will appeal to the styles of a wider range of clients.”
|Photos by Patti Hartog|
Ashley says she shops new collections or extensions of collec
tions six months in advance. She attends the global jewelry market during Memorial Day week in Las Vegas, where there are tens of thousands of vendors, and she has to buy enough inventory to last through Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
What appeals to her creative side is working with clients and coming up with custom designs. With CounterSketch, a CAD computer program, she can build a 3D design on the screen with the client.
“Custom work has become more mainstream. It’s not as price prohibitive and involved as it used to be and doesn’t take as long. The bulk of custom work is reuse, repurpose, redesign. I can create something fresh using existing stones from the client’s piece that may have been inherited. I can show the client a three-dimensional image of what the new creation will look like. People seem to enjoy the process. And, it’s my creative outlet.”
Many times Ashley is working with a widow or widower and taking the diamonds from a wedding set to create something new. “It’s an emotional process. You keep the sentiment but it’s also your own creation. There is a cathartic element to the process. Some clients want to keep the piece intact and work it into a new design, and some want to use only the stones and put them in an entirely new setting.”
In custom jewelry design, sometimes stones are added to complete a piece, and sometimes a stone that is provided is polished or recut. The most popular stones, Ashley says, are diamonds followed by rubies or sapphires.
Thinking of repurposing pieces in your jewelry box? Her advice: “If I am coming up with a new piece created from a combination of other stones and pieces, I tell my clients, ‘Don’t put everything but the kitchen sink into the design. Know when to edit.’”
What works for Ashley?
Simply Orange orange juice
I have a glass every morning and occasionally throughout the day. It has to be smooth. I don’t want any pulp. I have a little panic attack if I don’t have my orange juice in the morning. I’ve been like this since childhood. The funny thing is, I don’t like oranges. In the morning I have a glass of orange juice at home and then sometimes on my way to work I’ll stop and pick up egg white and roasted pepper bites from Starbucks.
Pampered Chef food chopper
It may be just as easy to dice up things with a knife, but I don’t enjoy that. I can take out some of my frustrations by using the chopper’s plunger. It’s very loud. I use it especially when I make tuna fish to cut up the celery, eggs, carrots, and green peppers. It was a wedding gift from 10 years ago. Of all the kitchen gadgets, this is the one I couldn’t live without.
CounterSketch CAD program
I use this every single day. It is a program specifically for jewelers that paints a pretty picture for the client with a 3D image of what a piece of jewelry is going to look like. I can show the client how the piece would look by changing the stones, rearranging the position of the stones, changing the color of the metal, the width of the band, and so on. I can even show the position of the ring on a male or female hand and what it would look like on different fingers.