Photo Credit: Saty + Pratha
We believe in supporting Canadian products, not for the sake of it, but because our nation boasts some of the most top-notch brands and designers in the world. This week, we feature a minimalist and ethical jewellery brand housed and made in downtown Toronto.
Melissa Gobeil and Susan Shaw have an eye for detail, for the particular over the fickle moods of the fashion world. This allows them to create pieces that are timeless and downright stunning. Their jewellery brand, ATTIC, specializes in delicate and minimalist pieces that are meant to stay with you a lifetime and travel across generations.
The co-founders launched ATTIC in 2015, eight years after meeting in goldsmithing school at George Brown College, where, between coffee breaks, they dreamed of starting their own business. They were inspired by seeing in their circle of friends a desperate need for simple and classic pieces made of solid gold. ATTIC was Gobeil and Shaw’s response to this need.
The name of the brand emerged from the idea of heirlooms found in attics — pieces of jewellery that travel through lifetimes because they exist outside of time. In paring down everything from necklaces to wedding bands to attain muted designs, ATTIC creates essential accessories that are always fashionable. “Our goal is to make pieces that you can invest in once and wear every day,” Shaw says.
Undergirding this desire to create staples is a tremendous work ethic and attention to detail. Because they are not adhering to any dominant trend, following its recipe-like precepts for popularity, Gobeil and Shaw are free to focus on the minutiae. “It’s all about the little details,” Shaw says. “Whether it’s proportion, comfort, or the quality of gemstone, it can make all the difference.”
Without au courant styles as reference, they turn to the personal for inspiration; to immediate experience; to Toronto; to the medium. “Specific inspiration could come from a daydream, or people-watching on the subway,” Shaw says. “The materials are the driving force. The gemstones that we chose to work with are as beautiful as they are unique.”
Something what makes ATTIC more special is their commitment to environmental sustainability. Many of their pieces are made of recycled gold. “Gold is amazing, it’s […] infinitely recyclable,” Shaw says. “We work with a company that specializes in the process of turning old gold into newly-refined material that we use for much of our collection.” Gold from items such as an old ring, computer parts, and even dental fillings, is melted down. Through this melting process, the impurities are “burnt out,” leaving behind only pure gold that makes for stronger jewellery, she says.
“We are always working to make our business more sustainable and our practices are easier on the earth,” Shaw says. “Incorporating more recycled materials is one way, working with traceable gemstones is another.” Another way to sustainability is through making timeless pieces that won’t be thrown out to create waste.
ATTIC exists at a curious contradiction. There is a feeling of déjà vu that envelops the viewer in a wonderful haze while scrolling through ATTIC’s catalogue — these are pieces you vaguely remember seeing somewhere, but can’t quite place where. They are now finally before you to have and to hold — forever.
Moving forward, Gobeil and Shaw hope to expand ATTIC’s engagement ring line, and to expand their environmental initiative by incorporating more recycled materials and Canadian-mined diamonds into their collection. For now, they’re setting the standard high for classic pieces that one cannot live without. ATTIC is making itself indispensable on the Canadian market.
ATTIC, and other Toronto makers, are featured in Randi Bergman’s book Toronto Makes: The Things We Love and the People Who Make Them. Makejoy is the book’s creative director.