One of the better parts of my job is when I meet a client with whom I just click. Allie Cloyes is one of them. First of all, she’s incredibly sweet and one of our shop’s biggest cheerleaders. Secondly, she has fabulous taste: chic, understated (right up my alley), and I can always rely on her to show up at our shop looking perfectly casually put together with a Breton striped shirt, jeans, and some kind of refined diamond accessory that pairs just exactly right. So, I was very excited when Allie approached us about a custom design project for her twin sister, her mom, and herself…
Allie made an appointment to talk about an idea she had to get new use out of her grandmother’s diamond tennis bracelet. The bracelet was lovely, but it didn’t suit Allie’s style (nor her twin sister’s) and neither felt they would wear it as a bracelet enough to really enjoy its beauty. She instead wanted to split the diamonds in the bracelet among herself, her twin sister, and their mom and design matching diamond bands that they could all wear. I thought the idea was just so lovely, so after completing the project I sat down with Allie to go over her idea, the design process, and how she shared the rings with her mom and sister once they were completed.
Meaghan: How did you choose Alexandria & Company for your custom project?
Allie: My husband Mac and I worked with you and Tim on our wedding bands (almost three years ago!) and we’ve gone on to design several other pieces for us with you since then. I knew when I had this idea that I could trust Alexandria & Company to bring it together.
Meaghan: Tell us about the history behind the original bracelet. Who wore it and how did you come to possess it?
Allie: The original tennis bracelet belonged to our paternal grandmother, Amina, who passed away in 2013. After she passed away, our father wanted to keep the bracelet in the family so he passed it on to my sister, my mom, and me to decide what to do with it. We wanted to find a way to each have a piece of her memory and it worked out that the number of diamonds in the bracelet could be divided evenly into three diamond bands. We all felt this would be a more wearable option for all three of us to continue the legacy of the bracelet and think of Amina every day. We call them our “Amina Rings!”
Meaghan: What inspired you to create these rings now?
Allie: My twin sister Stacie was getting married in October last year and we knew that wearing the rings on her wedding day would be a special way of honoring our grandmother. On the big day, we could tell how happy it made our father to see his mother reflected in the rings that his wife and daughters were all wearing. Three generations of his favorite women have now been able to share in the jewelry!
Meaghan: What were you looking for in the custom design — something everyone could wear every day or something to be worn on special occasions?
Allie: We definitely wanted an “everyday” ring so that we could wear it and remember her often, yet we also wanted something that still carried over the uniqueness and elegance of the tennis bracelet. Tim found a way to honor the original design of the bracelet in the rings by referencing some of the little details like the prong style and how the settings were laid out. You wouldn’t know it by just looking at the rings against the bracelet, but my sister, mom, and I can all see the details, which makes them even more special.
Meaghan: Tell us about the design process. Did you find it easy/stressful/complicated/fun?
Allie: You and Tim are so easygoing — you really make the design process fun — and also accessible. I felt like a part of the creative thought process, which I always appreciate because my sister has all the creative genes in our family so when I’m able to create something like this, it’s really special for me. Sometimes I have no idea what my vision is when I walk in with a custom jewelry request, but you and Tim walk me through the designs and in the end it’s always a fun surprise to see how it turned out.
Meaghan: How did you give the rings to your mom and sister?
Allie: Stacie begged and begged to have the ring as soon as it was ready, but I waited until the morning of her wedding day to give her the ring because I really wanted to tie in her big day to these special pieces. Our mom, ever so patient, waited until then, as well. She was so pleased to finally see them in person.
Meaghan: Do you have any other dream projects now that you’ve completed this custom design?
Allie: I have something in mind that I’d like to create for my husband Mac… He deserves a little something special considering our jewelry projects are usually for me!
Meaghan: Any advice for someone contemplating a custom design or redesign of their own?
Allie: Allow yourself to think outside the box. There are so many ways to create unique pieces that are still timeless and classic, you just have to know where to look (and have someone to work through the details with, of course!).
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.