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Jewellery designer Myles Mindham on 25 years of tiny, beautiful things
The headquarters of jewellery designer Myles Mindham are located inside a tony Yorkville house on Hazelton Avenue, but the spot boasts more than just curb appeal. The basement houses a full factory, where 11 master craftsmen make models, set, file and cast the designs that are best described as whimsical. Upstairs, plush velvet couches await Mindham’s customers, who come to commission bespoke pieces or be the first to snap up the jeweller’s one-of-a-kind earrings, pendants and brooches, like the Flying Bunny—a creature straight from a fairy tale, with precious gem eyes and coloured glass wings. We sat down with the designer as he celebrates 25 years in the fine jewellery business.
ON CHILDHOOD INSPIRATION “I ask myself at 25 years, ‘how did it happen?’ It’s because I believed in magic and fantasy. A lot of jewellery designers say that they’re inspired by nature. I’m inspired in nature. When I spent time in Muskoka as a child, my mother would read me storybooks. One character from the books really spoke to me for his ability move through dark forests into light: a flying rabbit. So I designed a bunny with dragonfly-like wings. My jewellery comes from a place where I felt safe as a child. I believe that beauty is important and that goodness can win.”
“Moon Fairies” diamond ring
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SPARKLE “What attracted me to jewellery was the sparkle. When I was 5 years old at grandparents Christmas party I saw a woman come in wearing a dazzling diamond necklace. I said to her, ‘Is that real?’ It wasn’t like, “Are you rich?” I was saying, ‘Is that like the magic in my books?'”
ON INTUITION “In the early days, it was all custom work. Being in the jewellery business is very capital-intensive. I’ve always had a very strong sense of the individual. So if somebody said they wanted a ring, I would talk to them and draw. I know it sounds esoteric, but it wasn’t me designing, I could see an idea. I had a great response from people, I was passionate about jewellery, I knew a lot about it, and I could impart something that would suit people.”
ON BEING ACCESSIBLE “So much of what I do is social. I’ll say ‘Oh, you have to meet so-and-so’ and I’ll do a dinner here. One of the challenges I have is people say, ‘He’s the fancy society jeweller.’ I hate that expression. I’m making jewellery for people. I want to become more approachable, and the collections are going to be more approachable. We’re not this lofty place. We’re a place that makes jewellery with integrity and joy.”
“Mushroom Wishes” nut bracelet