A New Era (for real though)

Well, well, well, well, well. Two years ago, Ash and I made a super special video celebrating 20 years of AHJ and announcing that we'd be fulfilling Ash's lifelong fantasy and our family's years long plan of sailing on our own boat around the Greek Islands and promised we'd be back (maybe).

Well, we're back!! Sort of. Most of us. We've always worked our business and family right around each other, taking risks so that we could grow and stretch and shrink and get lost and find new ways. Ash and I really, really listened when we read the Lorax to our kids over and over and over again. We've never been in the business of biggering, we've always been ok risking "security" for what we know is right. 

Those two Summers on the sea gave a lot of gifts and taught a lot of lessons. And what we learned was this; our time us a family business is changing. For now. Ash is stepping away from the jeweller's bench so that he can stretch and grow in super fun and exciting new ways. He's rescued our favourite local pottery gallery, Hot Clay Pot Dealers that was on the verge of closing as our favourite local potters are stretching their wings to fly off on their own new adventures.

It's taken us about 5 years of knowing this change was coming to try and figure out how to make it work. I (Laurel) still really love our wee workshop and the daily rhythym of working with my IRL besties and all you virtual besties out in the world. But how can Ash Hilton Jewellery be Ash Hilton Jewellery without Ash? 

We went through a million possiblities. From closing to completely rebranding to only operating as Good Gold to giving our platform over to emerging jewellers. Ash toyed with transitioning to a lifestyle brand to allow more flexibility in his mediums.

We knew that AHJ needs some fresh air, new life, room to grow. But, we also love it just the way it is. Once the opportunity arose for Ash to take over the pottery gallery, it gave the rest of the core crew at AHJ a chance to figure out what we wanted. We realised that we love this. We love you, we love making rings. We love Ash's designs and aesthetic.

In a moment of divine serendipity, Ash found our new hero, Jason Jones. He's a master jeweller and specialist hand engraver. And he lives right here in Nelson. He's brilliant and shares the very rare skill and talent that Ash taught himself all those years ago, hand engraving. We've spent the last 6 months working with Jason so that he can nail Ash's aesthetic and, well, he's done it. He pops in every Monday morning like our own jewellery super-hero.

Which means, we can keep making Ash's beautiful designs and he finally gets the chance to realise his destiny, a sailing artist and raconteur. A potter, a woodworker, a poet and most importantly a muse. Our muse. 

And now! For the most exciting bit of all! We can finally re-open our custom design service. Working with couples to connect them to their most special places has always been our jam. Again, how could we do this without Ash? WELL! We just happen to have the most incredible designer and illustrator right here in our midst. You know her, you love her, she's Tamsin, our new design hero. Tamsin has walked so many of you through the custom design process and then handed you over to Ash to do the designs.

Now, this whole process will be seamless. Tamsin has been with us for years and knows Ash's aesthetic better than anyone. She's also had her own art practice for years illustrating botanical designs and transforming them into the most beautiful surface patterns for her own line of textiles. So, in a way, she's the most qualified person for the job (I mean, she even has design degree). And we get the added bonus that she's also simply the best person in the whole wide world (apart from her adorable dancing baby Charlie).

So, pop in and see Ash over at Hot Clay if you find yourself in Whakatū Nelson, he has a selection of jewellery there as well as the most ridiculously glorious ceramics. You can also find more of his sailing adventures at Sailing Swimmy. 

And come hang out online with Tamsin to make your magical custom design dreams come true! When we last met to plan our workflows, Tamsin said, "this is so exciting" about 1,000 times. And it is! Ash and I are also SO EXCITED to be able to provide a way for someone to feel this excited about their work. It really feels like magic.