Jeweller William Drury did not always know that he was going to design and make his own jewellery, but perhaps it was a path that he could have seen coming.
“I always liked working with my hands, my dad [and I] did a lot of wood working as I grew up. So that's what got the ball rolling.”
After finishing high school, Drury went on to do an Arts degree in Melbourne, majoring in anthropology, however it was his experience doing a short silversmithing course that continued to inspire him.
“As time went on and I was in my early twenties, I revisited jewellery making. I'd always told myself, ‘What am I going to do with this?’ it wasn't going to turn into anything serious but I'd challenged those thoughts and thought well, ‘What's actually stopping me from doing something with this?’”
Ultimately, there was little holding Drury back, after a few months of contemplation and working out what his priorities were after graduating from his arts degree, Drury thought, “screw it, I'll go and study jewellery making.”
Turning his eye towards the United States, Drury enrolled in the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. Founded by Alan Revere, the school is renowned in the United States and internationally for its combination of modern, conceptual design and time honoured craftsmanship. Describing the instruction he received there, Drury highlighted that Revere’s pedagogy “married his German techniques with American contemporary design. As a student of his I was lucky to have a hybrid of traditional European jewellery making, goldsmithing techniques and American contemporary design.”
The hybridity of design and manufacture is something that Drury has continued after completing his studies. Now based in Melbourne, Drury fabricates his jewellery himself under the brand William Édouard using ethically sourced materials.
Drury released his first collection, Ardour in 2018, and in April 2019 announced his second collection Lumina. While both combined the processes of design and making in their construction, Lumina went further in including a greater array of gemstones and allowing for customisation with customers able to select which gemstones they would like to include in their design.
“Obviously there are more genuine form of empowerment than buying jewellery but I wanted people to be able to … make the jewellery their own in some way and make it work with whatever colour scheme they instinctively dress in.”
Working from his light filled studio in Melbourne, Drury begins by mentally visualising the designs that he would like to create, and either achieving the final product through interacting with the materials themselves or using software tools, rather than sketching.
“I just find the visualisation of the mind to be so much more dynamic than anything I could do with a pen,” highlighted Drury. “So for me it's very much visual, almost to the extent where I abandon most of my free hand sketching and just focus on what I have in my mind.”
This process has resulted in a range of pieces, particularly understated bands and rings, that in their simplicity owe much to the fine hand of the designer. With a Women and a unisex range these pieces are accessible without being generic.
Currently available online, you can find Drury’s pieces here: https://williamedouard.com.