Christopher Evans, Cheshire's master goldsmith
PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 February 2016
Meet Christopher Evans, a jeweller whose combination of craftsmanship and style know-how makes his boutique shops a destination, writes Heidi Nagaitis
The Cheshire set are known for buying only the best. In preparation for Valentine’s Day, one renowned jeweller has been busy creating magnificent pieces to adorn the fingers, necks and wrists of the great and good of the county.
‘Someone once told me that when you become a jeweller, you never stop thinking about jewellery, and it’s the truth,’ exclaimed Christopher Evans, master goldsmith and owner of Christopher Evans Jewellers and Goldsmiths. ‘Inspiration for ranges comes to me at all hours and in this business, you have to be prepared.’
Chris has been designing jewellery for over 20 years, working from his two showrooms in Poynton and Stockton Heath. ‘Although I moved to Cheshire when I was young, I spent a couple of years in South Africa where my dad worked as an engineer. We used to visit the Kimberly Diamond mines near Johannesburg, which is where my parents believe my love of jewels and gemstones began.’
Chris trained as a jeweller and goldsmith straight from college, working with the famous Cook & Sons jewellers in Manchester. ‘It was a truly traditional apprenticeship. My interview included inspection of my hands to check they would be able to handle such intricate work.’
Opening his first shop in Poynton, Chris operated from an upstairs office where customers would climb a small staircase and squeeze into his workspace cum showroom: ‘Those first few years were tough, but I loved what I was doing and I had a very loyal customer base. I still get to see some of those original pieces and many of my first customers still purchase jewellery from me now.’
Although some of the faces may not have changed, the designs of Chris’s pieces have developed. ‘Trends, especially in the jewellery world are ever-evolving. Preferences for white gold or yellow gold fluctuate year on year, but essentially the craft and the high level of skill needed to create these pieces remains the same.
‘Advancements in technology mean that we can use computer-aided design, allowing our customers to see their finished piece on screen before we actually start work.’
Chris and his team offer a range of ready to buy pieces, but his speciality is bespoke work: ‘I think the beauty of bespoke design is not the monetary value of the piece, but its sentimental value. Many of our bespoke pieces incorporate a family heirloom or piece of jewellery the customer already has, so it’s important that I create something beautiful but meaningful.
‘Bespoke jewellery usually takes around four to five weeks from commission to finished piece. Bespoke pieces are great to work with, as I can add detailed freehand elements to really make the jewellery unique.
‘I’m currently working on a fabulous solitaire diamond ring with rubies. It’s a really striking piece.’
Over the years Chris has had some unusual requests for pieces as well as some surprise announcements in his showrooms.
‘One customer told his girlfriend he had to pop into my Poynton showroom to pick up a watch he was having repaired but he’d actually had a bespoke ring commissioned. One of my team passed him the box supposedly containing his watch, he bent down on one knee and proposed right there in the shop. Needless to say, my staff were prepared with champagne and flowers,’ said Chris.
‘Engagement rings are one of our most popular categories. If you’re struggling to decide on the perfect engagement ring, there are a few simple questions to ask yourself,’ advises Chris.
‘Firstly, you need to choose between white and yellow gold. Next will you opt for a piece with coloured gemstones, or diamonds? We recommend a ring designed to sit next to a wedding ring. For the wearer there’s nothing worse than two rings which don’t fit snugly together. If in doubt, a jeweller will always help you make that all-important decision. After all, we live and breathe jewellery!’ w
To find out more about Chris and his team, visit www.christopherevansgoldsmiths.com