Step into McTeigue & McClelland‘s Great Barrington, Massachusetts jewelry atelier and it’s almost as if you’ve entered a different time and place. Built in 1851, the landmark historical building is made bright with gleaming hardwood floors, graceful pillars, lush drapery, and most importantly, glistening glass cases bathed in a warm amber light. Standing in the scenic room, it’s hard to believe that was it not for a chance meeting, the celebrated store and workshop might not even exist.
In 1985, fourth-generation jeweler Walter J. McTeigue III and artist Tim McClelland stepped into the same elevator in New York’s Diamond District. The two men struck up a conversation, and with that the foundation for a decades-long friendship and collaborative business was laid. Says McClelland, “We were friends who enjoyed one another’s company and loved discussing ideas about jewelry. We were young and ambitious and felt there were unexplored opportunities in the fine jewelry world. We often did not agree on what these openings looked like, but it made for lively debate.”
Make that lively debate and stunning pieces of art. Since its founding in 1998, McTeigue & McClelland has built a reputation for offering whimsical designs that showcase unparalleled quality and skill. “We aspire to make highly imaginative pieces that are rooted in the best traditions of historical fine jewelry. Our style is eclectic, timeless, and original.”
We couldn’t agree more. After all, how many contemporary jewelers manage to resurrect a 19th-century technique for finishing gold? Referred to as “blooming,” the complex process involves removing the alloy of the metal so that only pure 24 karat remains on the surface of the piece. The ancient method, a brand signature, results in a rich lustrous patina that is reminiscent of antique jewelry. This reverence for the past can also be seen in the gemstones the company uses, all of which are hand-selected and -set by a skilled team of artisans.
According to McTeigue, he and Tim McClelland have always been drawn to vintage stones. However, finding beautifully cut examples can be difficult. To that end, the duo began to work with expert cutters in Manhattan to develop their own styles. Explains Walter, “My family began designing and making jewelry in the late nineteenth century when diamond cuts were very different from the ones found today. In those days, there were no standardized formulas—the cutters followed their own instincts for bringing out the beauty of each stone.”
Determined to follow suit, McTeigue and McClelland studied more than 100 vintage diamonds. After consulting with gemologists and experts, they created patterns inspired by the seven best cuts. The result is something completely unique: beautiful diamonds that combine an old world character with excellent brilliance and proportions.
In addition to gold and diamonds, the skilled jewelry house also works with platinum and a variety of boldly colored gemstones, including rare Padparadscha sapphires, fiery Imperial topaz, and glowing emeralds. Even better, the luxurious materials are always responsibly gathered. In addition to using recycled gold, the company is a Fair-Mined™ Licensee, while other precious metals and stones are sourced from vintage and estate jewelry. All this goes to show that McTeigue & McClelland might just be the jewelry industry’s hidden gem, offering beautifully crafted, distinct pieces made from the most trusted materials.
Perhaps Tim McClelland explains it best when he says, “Metals and gemstones have their own journey through creation. We simply facilitate their transformation into an object of evolution and wonder.”