Interview: Aran Galligan of Aide-mémoire Jewellery

Words by Amy Richardson
October 26, 2018

Celebrating the beauty of modern, minimalist design with an ethical ethos, Aide-mémoire craft personalised engagement rings and wedding bands that embrace nature’s imperfections.

Offering custom, made to order creations inspired by the Japanese Wabi-sabi aesthetic, master jeweller Aran Galligan honours the beauty of organic flaws while experimenting with both traditional methods and the latest technology. Aran takes care to ensure you can wear a unique sparkler that is eco-friendly and ethically sourced, using 100% recycled precious metals. Handmade in their low-impact studio in Seattle with forever in mind, each gorgeous bespoke piece is meant to be handed down from generation to generation.

We spoke with designer Aran Galligan to hear more about the method behind the magic, inspiraton and the latest gemstone trends.

unique handmade diamond engagement ringsilver and gold textured handmade wedding bands

How would you describe your style and ethos when it comes to jewellery design?

My jewelry is inspired by principals of modern design, and the beauty that lies in the imperfect mark of the hand. I appreciate simple understated designs, and enjoy subtle imperfections as alluring details to meditate upon. I also believe that beautiful, unique, well crafted jewelry shouldn’t come at the price of the environment, which is why our mission is to craft future heirlooms in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

What are some of the more unusual materials or techniques that you like to work with?

I’m always interested in trying to create new textures, and sometimes that means something like finding old rusty metal to use as a tool to create a rustic texture. I’m also interested in the ways that computer aided design, 3D printing and the handmade can intersect to create new works.

What are some current jewellery trends that you are loving?

I’ve been seeing a lot of people opting for colored stones in their engagement rings. The Montana sapphires have been especially popular lately. Sapphires come in almost every color from from vibrant hues to pastels and muted tones. Montana sapphires (which are mined in the USA) tend toward the more nuanced colors that I love, like teals, dusty blues and peaches. In the studio my co-workers and I always get excited when a customer decides to go with a sapphire in their ring. Sapphires are also great for everyday wear, so that is our go-to for colored gemstones.

dainty handmade stacking engagement/wedding ring setethical jewellery design conflict free diamonds recycled precious metalsethical jewellery design conflict free diamonds recycled precious metals

Do you have a particularly memorable engagement or wedding ring design that you loved working on?

It’s hard to pick one, but I do love when we get to work with the customer’s heirloom diamonds. It always feels so special to be given the opportunity to create a new piece of jewelry using a family diamond. I love the mixing of old and new, and how the history and story of the stone then becomes part of that piece of jewelry.

What are some of your key influences and sources of inspiration?

I’m very inspired by Japanese design and crafts, and the aesthetic wabi-sabi. It is about finding beauty in imperfection, and embracing the changing nature of everything. I am most drawn to humble, unassuming pieces, that are often overlooked. I spend a lot of time in antique stores, thrift stores and scrap yards appreciating the patina, that objects take on, after years of wear. Those patinas tell a story of the life of the object, and the humans who used it — much like the way a wedding ring’s patina from decades of wear tells the story of a lifetime of marriage.

What would be your dream project?

I feel like my business is my dream project. I love making jewelry that someone will wear everyday and pass down to their children. I love that I get to create designs that speak to people who don’t feel like they fit in at a traditional jewelry store. And, I love having a jewelry business that is considerate of people and the environment.

ethical jewellery design conflict free diamonds recycled precious metals ethical jewellery design conflict free diamonds recycled precious metalsethical jewellery design conflict free diamonds recycled precious metals

See more unique, ethical, handcrafted pieces on Aide-memoire’s Directory profile or visit their website here.


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