The Joy of Jewelry – Brian VanScoy

“Dealing with people and seeing their eyes light up as what we’ve been discussing comes to life is what has hooked me on this private jewelry custom.” Brian VanScoy

Like all artists, jewelers differ in their elements, which is reflected as well in their creations. Today, our guest, Brian VanScoy, gets his inspiration to create very specific and customized jewels by connecting with the emotional side of his clients. According to Brian, aligning with the clients’ desires and expectations while bringing his creations to life is what makes the whole effort worthwhile.

As a third-generation jeweler, Brian VanScoy has been involved in all aspects of the diamond and jewelry trade for over 25 years. Growing up in the industry exposed him to master craftsmen and diamond cutters at a young age, some of whom he still has relationships with today. Over the past two and a half decades, Brian has learned from those old-world craftsmen and applied a new twist on an old trade. This has allowed him to serve his clients better and bring a fresh perspective to the jewelry industry.

Brian creates most of his jewelry, focusing mainly on fine bridal, using 3D CAD (computer-aided design) software. This program enables him to tailor that perfect piece of custom jewelry to his clients’ specifications. After creating the initial design, Brian can e-mail his clients a rendered photo, followed but a 3D printed modal for their review before it goes into production.

Brian believes in educating his customers in all aspects of the jewelry manufacturing process, enabling them to make an informed decision on what could be one of their most significant investments. The process of designing a custom piece of jewelry should be enjoyable and stress-free. Whether a client is looking to design an intricate engagement ring or just looking to redesign a family heirloom, Brian works with them to turn their vision into a reality.

In today’s episode, our guest will talk about his art and how he gets fulfillment from working directly with his customers. He will also tell us more about the endless ideas people can explore to transform their heirlooms into unique and beautiful jewelry. 

Listen in!

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  • My youngest memories include bumping down the streets in Belgium traveling with my dad, a diamond buyer, and his job was to sell stones to franchises across the country. [3:35]
  • Growing up and knowing some of those diamond cutters to this day who are oddly now retiring, what’s great about that is I’m doing business now with some of their children. [3:59]
  • Hanging out in the back of my dad’s or family’s jewelry store and playing with the rings growing up and carving wax, I have been able to sort of grow up alongside or within the jewelry industry and seeing how it works in the typical brick and mortar store. [4:25]
  • As I got older, what was important to me was dealing with the customer one-on-one and working with their emotional side. [4:43]
  • Dealing with them and seeing their eyes light up as what we’ve been discussing come to life is what hooked me on this private jewelry custom. [5:30]
  • Over the last 12 to 15 years, it has grown alongside technology, which has been exciting and fun seeing my customers’ responses when I present the final piece to them. [5:45]
  • There is one job that sticks out to me recently. I had a woman approach me, and her mom had recently passed away and left her some of her jewelry that she wanted to wear in remembrance of her mom. [6:29]
  • One thing that made this job special was that I took her mom’s handwriting and engraved that on the underside of the diamond on the metal, and she was teary-eyed and so special and so important to her. [[7:10]
  • She will never be able to replace her mom but having that symbol means a lot to me, and being able to do that rather than just sell a piece of jewelry but to make something more critical is so fulfilling. [7:41]
  • One issue in the jewelry industry is people thinking perhaps something is not within a budget or not within their comfortable budget range. [8:48]
  • I implore people to do some research and see what the budget is, instead of having these pieces, whether they’re heirloom, or just frankly broken pieces from years ago, just sitting in a jewelry box collecting dust. [8:57]
  • This woman brought me these three rings that had a bunch of different size diamonds and shapes, and it would have been tough to put together and melt into a flowing ring. [9:10]
  • We took all the diamonds out and created one ring that flowed super nice, it was more of a cocktail ring, and the feeling of warmth that she got when she put it on was fantastic. [9:25]
  • A side note to this whole jewelry industry is, please insure your jewelry. It is the first thing I tell people when they purchase something of substance. [10:26]
  • Commercial Break. [11:20]
  • Manufactured or man-made diamonds have been around since the 70s used in industrial manufacturing mainly, but the diamond’s quality was not gem quality. [13:49]
  • But over the last five to seven years, technology has come a long way and a lab diamond, according to the FTC, now has to be called a diamond because chemically, it is identical. [14:01]
  • Some of the most Senor gemologists in the world, if you gave them two diamonds side by side and a microscope, couldn’t tell you which one was a lab one and which one was a natural. [14:15]
  • The affordability is amazing as they are about 40% less than the natural diamonds, and because of the price difference, usually, you can bump up the quality a little bit. [15:07]
  • I had one customer they were in Iceland on their honeymoon, and they came across some volcanic stone that was about the size of a golf ball on their 15th anniversary decided that they wanted to do something with it. [16:23]
  • She had approached a couple of local jewelers, but they told her that they couldn’t help make it into something wearable. [16:40]
  • I reached out to some of my cutters, and one guy was willing to take a shot on it. [16:55]
  • It was a blackish green rock that we could cut down into little shapes that were specifically 1.3 millimeters each diamond shape and ended up being this sort of frosty green color. [17:03]
  • We put them into an anniversary band, cut one piece into a gem shape, and put it in her engagement ring to fit perfectly with her anniversary band. [17:24]
  • That was was one that was challenging and certainly paid off though, it was a cool experience. [17:46]
  • I had one customer whose grandparents passed away and left a very heavy gold bracelet, and he wanted his daughters to have something from their grandfather who they had not been able to meet. [19:38]
  • We were able to melt it down with the grandfather’s actual gold, and I designed and created little necklaces for the granddaughters; and they now have these necklaces with their gold from their grandfather, which was excellent. [19:52]
  • The bracelet had some diamonds in it, which we took, and we were able to use those in the necklaces as well [20:12]
  • You need a fair amount of gold to be able to melt down and reuse it, but it was a great experience. [20:18]
  • Insure your jewelry and whether it’s another jeweler or me, find someone you can trust. [22:47]


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