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Canadian jewellery designers on why Valentine’s Day isn’t overrated
Image by: Brittany Deck
According to Alynne Lavigne, co-founder of the five-year-old Toronto-based jewellery brand, the reason behind the long-standing tradition of giving a woman jewellery on Valentine’s Day is simple. “There’s an automatic sentimentality to it,” she says. Her business partner, Eve Tobolka, couldn’t agree more. Tobolka adds that “very rarely” does a certain 1970s gold ring leave her finger. Before the label’s inception, Eve was chasing a job in New York and had made herself a promise to buy the ring if she got the position. When she did, she “skipped” to the store but was met with disappointment. “When I asked for it, the saleswoman gave me a look and said, ‘Rings that good don’t stick around. Sorry.’” Little did Tobolka know, her boyfriend had picked it up earlier. He slipped the golden band under her pillow on Valentine’s Day and Eve recalls feeling overwhelmed by the discovery. “I was surprised, angry, ecstatic,” she says, but most of all, “relieved that it was mine.”
Lavigne and Tobolka’s picks:
“The Knuckle ring ($219, alynnelavigne.com) is one of my favourites. Pair it with a silver ring because mixing metals is always the right move.”
“This key chain ($109, alynnelavigne.com) basically screams how important you are.”
Image by: Alex Paillon
Beneath the shiny surface of a bedazzled piece of jewellery lies its ability to evoke confidence in the wearer. “Jewellery can make a woman feel empowered and help her express her individuality,” says designer and Montreal-native Anne-Marie Chagnon. Chagnon launched her eponymous brand in 1995 and recalls the moment she knew that a career in jewellery lay ahead when she wore a pair of earrings she’d welded herself to her Grade 6 photo day.
“The Dusud necklace ($68, annemariechagnon.com) is delicate and simple, but it will definitely get you noticed.”
“The Borasco ring ($64, annemariechagnon.com) is strong and feminine at the same time.”
Sharing is the foundation of Russian-born, Toronto-based designer Anastassia Selezneva’s life philosophy. “What we share on a daily basis with the people closest to our hearts is love,” she says, “and that should be celebrated.” Come Valentine’s Day, the designer, who quit her corporate job in finance to launch her line in 2015, says it’s not necessary to involve jewellery. In fact, her “best Valentine’s Day ever” happened a few years ago when her boyfriend (now fiancé) prepared a home-cooked meal that he served in his intimate (read: cramped) college apartment. But if jewellery is a must, she’s “all for it.” Just don’t lose sight of what’s truly important: sharing — by any means — is caring.
“The Fate studs ($85, anastassiasel.com) are a great everyday piece. The smooth facets and pink sapphires give these earrings an elegant and sophisticated touch.”
“Languish ear crawlers (staring from $80, anastassiasel.com) are great for a person who isn’t afraid to adorn their ears in an unorthodox fashion. They’re sold as singles to encourage mix and matching.”
Torontonian Michelle Ross, a former womenswear designer who shifted her focus to jewellery in 2010, will never forget the Alexis Bittar butterfly pendant that her boyfriend gave to her on Valentine’s Day. It happened almost a decade ago while she was living abroad to study at the London College of Fashion, but what she felt in that moment still strikes a chord with her. “It was so was personal and meaningful because I mentioned that necklace when we had a conversation about life, art and what inspires me,” she says. “It showed me that he really listened and cared about my interests and passions.”
“Right now, the Onie earrings ($117, mnross.com) are my favourite pieces from the collection. They’re fabulous and so edgy.”
“You can’t go wrong with the Boma necklace ($286), at mnross.com). Both dressy and elegant, this asymmetrical piece is sure to start a conversation.”