If you’re looking for a meaningful present for a special occasion – or just a treat for yourself – you can’t go far wrong with a piece of handmade jewellery. Here’s what happened when I unwrapped a surprise gift…This week I received the best present ever. A pretty parcel dropped through my letterbox and when I opened the package I discovered a beautifully-wrapped treat. As I carefully opened the delicate wrap of tissue paper, I caught a glimpse of what was inside and my eyes filled up with happy tears.My instagram friend, jewellery designer Helen Thrower, had surprised me with a stunning handmade necklace that she’d designed just for me. If that’s not the best way to make someone feel special, I don’t know what is! Helen’s a local maker here in Suffolk and her handmade jewellery is outstanding. I first spotted her work at a coastal craft market just before Christmas and was immediately drawn to the sparkling silver designs and colourful accents. When Helen offered to make a piece just for me I was over the moon, but I couldn’t really tell her what I wanted in terms of design. I loved all of her pieces, so narrowing it down to just one style would have been hard for me. I’m an indecisive person, what can I say?
So, after chatting about colours I like (pink – of course!) and my overwhelming love of stars, Helen set to work to create a unique piece for me. I loved not knowing what kind of piece she would come up with and it made unwrapping the present all the more exciting!Looking at the finished necklace, with its silver star, layered onto a pink floral star, with textured circle framing the design, it’s clear that Helen had put a lot of time and thought into creating this piece for me. It feels like she’s browsed my instagram page and blog, and used the images there to create something that suits my personality exactly. I couldn’t believe how ‘me’ the necklace is and I’ve already worn it more times than some of the long-owned pieces in my jewellery box. In fact, I’m wearing it right now as I write this blog post! I like the versatility of the design, as the smaller star can be flipped to the back so that just the pink floral star is visible. This means I can wear it this way and get a completely different look – it certainly brightens up my neutral grey tee with a splash of colour. I’m loving this two-in-one effect!If you commission a jewellery designer to make a piece of jewellery for a special person or for a special occasion, you can have as much or as little input into the design as you like, but I think it was better for me to leave the creative decisions up to Helen. Browsing her website HelenLouiseThrower.com it’s clear that she’s got an eye for creating gorgeous, unique designs, and I could trust that she would come up with something I’d love. Even if you know what you like, it’s sometimes better to leave the design process up to the expert. It’s more exciting that way too!So, next time you’re pondering what special gift to get your friend, why not consider a personalised, handmade piece of jewellery? You could get a special piece for your bridesmaid to wear on your wedding day or commission a delicate design for your niece’s christening. It would make a special mother’s day gift, or you could design something amazing for your friend’s milestone birthday. Just imagine how special they’ll feel when they realise that the necklace, bracelet or earrings they’ve received have been specially designed just for them. I know how that feels, and it’s a feeling that really can’t be beaten! Chat with the lovely Helen on Facebook ‘HelenLouiseThrowerJewellery’ and be sure to follow her on Instagram @helentjewellery_home too!