As weddings become more individualized and creative, so does wedding jewelry. Increasingly, couples are choosing nontraditional gemstones in designs that reflect their character and commitment. Jewelry designer and goldsmith Susan Marie Phipps, of Susan Marie Designs Fine Handmade Jewelry Store, is a fan of this shift.
“I have always felt that a person’s jewelry should be as individual as they are,” says Phipps. “Trends come and go but being unique and true to oneself is what makes one happy.”
Phipps is a Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologist who has won both national and international awards. She has been creating fi ne jewelry for more than 36 years, designing and crafting all of the pieces in her gallery by hand. Her jewelry often features natural colored gemstone varieties such as sapphires, tourmalines and aquamarines, as well as diamonds. Sapphires, according to Phipps, are currently in high demand for engagement rings, with customers choosing not only traditional blue sapphires, but pink, purple and golden ones as well.
Phipps enjoys sharing her knowledge of gemstones, often introducing clients to options that they didn’t know existed. “Customers are interested in hearing where the stones come from and how their colors are changed by the different trace elements present in the crystals,” she says. “People think of sapphires, for example as being only blue, when they naturally come in all colors.”
In addition to the selections in her gallery, Phipps offers custom design services, working closely with clients to create a one-of-a-kind piece that is as special as the person who wears it.
Susan Marie Designs is located at 19 Biltmore Avenue, in downtown Asheville. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. To learn more, visit susanmphippsdesigns.com or call 828.277.1272