Time After Time – New Gild Jeweler Jen Bellefleur Makes New Love Old Again

Photo courtesy of New Gild Jewelers
Photo courtesy of New Gild Jewelers

’Thou shalt not’ is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever.” — Philip Pullman 

The most told and re-told love stories—rescuer and rescued, curse and kiss, godless monster and fairy godmother—begin with a Once Upon a Time and end with Happily Ever After.  The latter implies a relationship that will last…which might be best symbolized by something that’s already lasted.  

“Fine jewelry contains the oldest substances you’ll ever touch,” notes Jen Bellefleur.  “Diamonds were formed billions of years ago, as were precious metals.”  Bellefleur knows a thing or three about the topic–not because she’s billions of years old and therefore witnessed the formation of diamonds firsthand but because she co-owns the artisan jewelry studio, New Gild Jewelers in Minneapolis.  There she plies her multi-faceted trade as an award-winning jeweler, designer, and artisan.  Her skills are often focused on the forging of works meant to declare the most dedicated kind of love between exclusive couples.  She continues:  “For me, I think about the fact that diamonds were here before the dinosaurs, and then saw the rise of those great beasts and their extinction, and carried on until we found and loved them today.”

Photo courtesy of New Gild Jewelers

This antediluvian character does not prevent the Here and the Now from holding some sway.  “I strive to make commitment pieces as timeless in design as possible, but there are trends,” Bellefleur reports.  “Right now, rose gold and gemstone rings without diamonds are hot.  Couples are wanting their experience around their rings to be as beautiful as the ring itself.  Their love wasn’t a cookie-cutter, rom-com kind of love….why should their rings be?  Spoiler:  they shouldn’t.”

According to Bellefleur, New Gild Jewelry offers not just empathic expertise, but an entirely different way of thinking about such accouterments.  “Truly one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces like ours are tiny wearable works of art, whether they be inspired by a mosque or a flower or the Art Deco period,” Bellefleur says.  “Giving such a piece, or keeping it for yourself for that matter, is a gesture that honors what has been made sacred by time and love.”

Photo courtesy of New Gild Jewelers

New Gild Jewelry is a one-stop shop, offering “one-of-a-kind jewelry for our gallery collections” for the less imaginative, “full-custom diamond and gemstone jewelry” for the more imaginative, along with antique renovation and jewelry repair.  But love’s lasting testimony remains Bellefleur’s most abiding passion.  “A well-designed commitment ring celebrates the individual, the union, and the preciousness of love itself,” she insists.  “I strive for that each and every time I sit down with clients.”

Those tête-á-têtes are where the fancies of the client interact with the expertise of the jeweler.  “Not every gemstone is suitable for commitment jewelry due to vast differences in durability,” Bellefleur prescribes.  “Nothing is harder and more durable than a diamond, and second to that, sapphire.  While we would love to make emerald and opal jewelry from an aesthetic standpoint, we need to make these pieces durable for twenty-four/seven wear.”

Photo courtesy of New Gild Jewelers

This discernment makes plain that her profession isn’t just a job to Bellefleur—it’s a calling.  “I’ve been an artist in the background of my life since I was a child,” Bellefleur reveals.  “What I love most about jewelry is that all of my previous art has found roots in places of pain and trauma, whereas jewelry comes from a place that embraces a higher beauty and happiness.”

Bellefleur’s greatest ambition is to create work that provides each client with a happily ever after that actually lasts ever after.  “I always say that when I run into my clients at Whole Foods in three years, I want them to run up and hug me,” the jeweler moons.  “I’ve played a small part in many beautiful love stories, and that means everything to me.”

New Gild Jewelers
4300 Upton Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55410
[email protected]

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