An Inside Look at Hilary Finck's "Captured" Collection

There's an allure to jewelry that tells a story. The dance of metal and stone, the intertwining of design and emotion, and the fusion of craft and inspiration, all come to life in Hilary Finck's "Captured" collection. As mesmerizing as the pieces themselves, the journey behind their creation is equally intriguing. 

In this Q&A session, we dive deep into Hilary's design process, her inspirations, and the meticulous care she puts into every unique piece. Continue reading to uncover the narrative behind these collectible pieces.

When and how did you first come up with the idea for the Captured Collection?

HF: My journey with the Captured Collection began in the early 2000s. I was drawn to setting seashells and unique stones I discovered during my beachcombing adventures. The unconventional shape of these seashells posed a distinct challenge. That's when I devised the box with a crossbar setting to securely hold them. It wasn’t until more recently that I adapted this technique for actual gemstones.

The act of "capturing" or encasing stones within metal appears symbolic. Is there a particular message or story you wish to convey with this design?

HF: Absolutely. Gemstones often hold profound significance for many. With the Captured setting, I aim to amplify and preserve that sentiment. Moreover, when these pieces are gifted, it's a beautiful way to tell a loved one that they've truly "captured" your heart.

How has your metalsmithing technique evolved while working on the "Captured" collection?

HF: Working on the "Captured" collection has indeed led to some evolution in my technique. I began incorporating faceted stones alongside cabochons. The varying shapes and sizes of these stones introduced a fresh set of challenges, pushing me to adapt and refine my approach.

What emotions or thoughts do you hope to evoke in people when they wear or admire a piece from the Captured collection?

HF: I aspire for people to recognize the uniqueness of each piece, feeling that they possess a design distinct from any other artist's creation. I also emphasize quality, envisioning each item as a potential future heirloom, crafted meticulously by hand. Additionally, many pieces carry a romantic and classic aura, adding a touch of timeless charm.

The allure of the Captured collection seems heavily influenced by the gems. How do you go about sourcing these gems, and what influences your choices?

HF: I source most gems directly from lapidary artists and trusted dealers, many found on Instagram or referred by peers. The Tucson AGTA gem show is another go-to for quality gems. My selection leans towards stones with an inner glow like moonstones, tourmalines, and quartz. I also have a penchant for unique opals and dendritic agate. Typically, I choose gems that resonate with me, using them either immediately or reserving them for special occasions. The essence is always about what feels right for the design at hand.

What is one of your personal favorite gems that you've used in Captured?

HF: One piece that stands out is an opal ring I crafted earlier this year. The opal is unlike any I've encountered: organically shaped, with a pearly white base illuminated by vibrant blue and green hues. I chanced upon it in Tucson and, even though it was a splurge, I felt compelled to acquire it. I held onto it until I was certain of the perfect setting to showcase its beauty.

Why do you sometimes choose to mix metals in your Captured pieces?

HF: Mixing metals can stem from either aesthetic preferences or practical considerations. Sometimes, I aim for a robust piece, but using all gold might make it prohibitively expensive. In 99% of my pieces, the crossbar is crafted from 14K or 18K gold. I believe this gold element introduces warmth and a unique touch to the silver pieces, elevating their overall feel.

How do you ensure that the stones remain secure yet visible within their metal settings?

HF: Ensuring the security of the stones without compromising visibility is a delicate balance. If a setting has a metal backing, I typically use just one crossbar in front, though larger stones might require two. For settings with an open back, the stone's size and shape dictate if one or two crossbars are used at the back. Regardless, my aim is to use only one crossbar in the front, keeping the stone's view as clear and unobstructed as possible.

How would you suggest a client style the pieces from Captured?

HF: Styling the Captured collection is all about complementary pairings. Necklaces and charms from Captured layer beautifully with pieces from my Hand Hammered collection, such as the Hammered Bar Necklace, Links Necklace, and Mixed Links Necklace. While I don't create many Captured bracelets, they'd pair seamlessly with the Rivet & Ring Bangle. For those looking to accentuate their ears, Captured Studs and earrings are a perfect match with hand-hammered studs, especially for second or third piercings.

Can you share a memorable anecdote or experience from the creation of this collection?

HF: The most heartwarming aspect of creating the Captured collection has been the reception it's received. I frequently get custom requests where clients want to "Capture" gemstones from their personal collections. Crafting such pieces, infused with individual sentiment and history, is always a profound honor for me.

Can you describe the most challenging piece you crafted for the Captured collection and the obstacles you faced?

HF: The first orb I made was especially challenging. Despite my efforts, the stone cracked from heat exposure. That piece remains with me, flaws and all. Fortunately, I've since refined my technique to better protect the stones.

How do you foresee the Captured series evolving or influencing your future collections?

HF: I'm excited to incorporate more faceted stones into the Captured series. Additionally, I'm exploring the idea of integrating wood, especially in bracelet designs.

What care instructions would you recommend for maintaining the gems and settings in the Captured pieces?

HF: To ensure the longevity of your Captured pieces:

  • Avoid getting them wet. If they do become wet, immediately blot away moisture with a paper towel.
  • Store them away from direct light, preferably in a box or pouch.
  • Refrain from wearing them in hot showers, hot tubs, or chlorinated pools.
  • Should you need cleaning, I offer complementary services for Captured pieces. Just reach out, and I'll provide shipping details.
Each piece is a testament to Hilary Finck's dedication, craftsmanship, and unique vision. If you've been captivated by the stories and inspiration behind these designs, we invite you to explore the collection further. Shop the "Captured" collection now and own a piece of this remarkable narrative.