toronto jewellery jewels aces
Photography courtesy of Jewels and Aces

Toronto Brand Jewels & Aces Wants to Simplify Your Jewellery Box

Explore the possibilities that come from a pared-down selection of earring styles.

In a world where we can constantly feel overwhelmed and our closets are often oversaturated with stuff, Grace Wong– founder of Toronto jewellery brand Jewels & Aces –finds comfort in the creativity that comes from working within boundaries.

“I’ve always been passionate about jewellery, and I was looking at my overflowing jewellery box and thought, I’m just wearing the same pieces all the time,” she says about how she came up with the idea for her now two-year-old line. “That planted the seed for what’s become the earring capsule.”

Inspired by the jewellery worn by her mother and grandmother, Wong–whose background is in corporate accounting–wanted to explore the idea of creating a selection of earring styles that could be mixed and matched, no fuss, no muss. From teeny freshwater pearl studs to understated cuffs, the aim with her designs is to “reinterpret the jewellery I grew up around”, including the signet rings her mother collected. One ring’s emerald-cut silhouette was reimagined as emerald-cut studs, for example.

“It started with eight essential shapes,” Wong notes of her brand’s initial offerings–which have expanded to a variety of studs, huggies and ear jackets–adding with a laugh that the first limited launch was to “see if anyone else thinks the idea is cool besides me.”

Folks have indeed decided that Wong’s approach is cool; and it’s even cooler when you consider the pieces are crafted with recycled metals. “Being a self-taught designer, I didn’t really have a basis for, ‘This is how you make jewellery,’” she says. “I had to research and work backwards, [and] I had a fresh pair of eyes on it.”

Noting that she wanted to use precious metals in order to give Jewels & Aces pieces longevity, Wong discovered the ability to recycle metals without them losing their quality and she was immediately intrigued. “I thought, how can I not use them,” she says, going on to highlight the typical environmental repercussions in jewellery design including those of mining practices.

There’s also an inherent acknowledgement of fashion’s problem with excess that’s addressed in the brand’s purposefully modest size of wares, and Wong impresses the potential in working within the parameters set out by her brand with its Style Guides; she points to the element of “delight and joy” that comes from creating combinations with her pieces. “[You’re] wearing something that’s unique to you,” she says. Wong recalls that when she launched Jewels & Aces, she wasn’t sure “how to explain the concept.” Taking to Instagram to share how her pieces could be worn in different ways, she noticed her community was asking for more info, and saving and sharing the styling advice the brand was putting forth.

The idea of passing it forward goes even more deeply than the storytelling Wong does in her work; it’s at the core of her inspiration, too. Noting that her mother “commemorates occasions with jewellery”, she adds that the women in her family have also influenced how she looks at wearing jewellery and heirlooms. “They’ve told and passed down stories through their favourite pieces,” she says. “It was never about the value of them–whether they were fine or costume. It was really the stories they hold.”