Gorgeous jewellery is pretty much guaranteed to always catch our attention here at QB, but this talented jeweller’s creations are something else. Having handcrafted pieces for a seriously impressive client list (including Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham), Ben Tracy now brings brides’ dream designs to life at the Gold Coast’s Finelines Jewellers.
Want to know more? We thought you might. Ben got his apprenticeship on the Gold Coast and then spent a year in Ubud, in Bali, learning ancient jewellery-making skills and techniques from local craftsmen. But it was in London where Ben got his first big break, when he moved to the other side of the world to chase one particular dream. “My goal as a young apprentice was to work for the Crown Jewellers, so I moved from Bali to the UK and – after knocking on many doors and writing numerous letters – was fortunate enough to trial for a position at the highly respected House of Garrard jewellers,” says Ben. “I was part of the team that maintained the Crown Jewels and the Queen’s private collection. I also restored the tiara that Princess Sophie wore on her wedding day.” Now that’s an impressive first job.
While it’s hard to top the Queen when it comes to high-end clients, the highlights kept coming for Ben while in London. He made Victoria Beckham’s engagement ring – very posh indeed – and even the ‘Heart of the Ocean’ necklace from Titanic, worn by Celine Dion at the 1998 Oscars. There’s one particular piece, though, that has stuck in Ben’s memory. “I was commissioned to make a pendant with a very unusually cut diamond – kind of like a window,” he explains. “On this diamond, we had to engrave a personal message. Upon completion of the piece, I was quite shocked to find out it was a special gift from Angelina Jolie to Brad Pitt! I’d be interested to know where that pendant is now.” We’re curious to know too… and what the message was!
When the travel bug got to him again, Ben moved to France for five years, where he adopted some French flair before returning to Australia. Taking his talents to the Gold Coast’s Finelines Jewellers, Ben now handcrafts beautiful creations for brides – preferably while listening to a little David Bowie or Pink Floyd! “I love working with people and listening to their ideas and requirements, drawing ideas from brides-to-be, and helping them to create something that’s not only their dream ring, but also an heirloom piece,” he says. “My team and I like to provide the knowledge and expertise to help couples make a piece they’ll love – whether it be creating something new or giving new life to something old.” Could there be anything more perfect for a wedding?
Ben’s expert advice for engagement and wedding rings
What are your top tips for couples?
“Your engagement ring will be one of the few items that will remain long after the wedding has passed, so take the opportunity to put energy and a realistic budget towards what will be something you’ll treasure on a daily basis. And talk with your grandmother, mother or other family members: they may have some sentimental jewels that you could incorporate to add a really special touch.“
How much time should clients allow for a ring to be created at Finelines Jewellers?
“Approximately four to six weeks. Each ring is individually made at Finelines Jewellers, which takes time. But we do also provide an express service for those last-minute proposals!“
What’s the biggest trend in engagement rings right now?
“It would have to be the halo effect (a ring set with a centre stone and surrounded by smaller diamonds). The beauty of this style is that it can be completely personalised by using different colours (fancy coloured diamonds or coloured gemstones) and alternative shapes. Cushion cuts, marquise and pear shapes are also hot at the moment and are good value.“
And what do you predict will be big in the next year or two?
“I feel there is an increasing demand for colour, which will only continue to grow. I also believe that people are becoming more conscious with their purchases – and that with everything so accessible and globalised these days, they‘ll want to have a more personalised experience.“