Iconic Jewellery

Spinelli Kilcollin – The story of the Galaxy Rings

Spinelli Kilcollin – The story of the Galaxy Rings

Spinelli Kilcollin’s linked rings are jewellery so distinctive it’s become synonymous with the brand.

The idea for the design came to Yves Spinelli when he wanted “heavy” jewellery to wear. The first ring was made by Yves’s father and the brand was born from this first design, endlessly adapted to new clients and new materials.

What’s in a name?

The Galaxy rings didn’t get their name from inception. Yves recalls “at some point, we said, we should call this something”.

The name Galaxy was perfect, since on laying the rings out, the designers realised “they’re kind of like planets”.

Dwyer, Yves’s partner in life and business, explains: “Our friend had this 1970s National Geographic and inside there was a poster fold out, so we pinned it to the wall of our garage.

“We always had it on the wall, and the way that they map out the atmosphere of the universe, it’s kind of two interconnecting circles, with all of these constellations in it and we realised that’s it.”

Spinelli and Kilcollin’s cosmic inspirations continued when it came to name individual rings.

“We called the first ring the Aquarius, after Yves. When we met, we were all about looking at our signs to see if we were compatible.

“So I think we were thinking about that anyway: all the different iterations for the different personalities and how well the ring lends itself to becoming each person’s own expression.

“That’s how it became the Galaxy Rings.”

From one ring to a brand

SK is an unusual jewellery brand. It started with one ring. That ring, the Galaxy, was and still is at the centre of everything SK does and is. Endlessly adapted and reinvented, the linked rings are the DNA of Spinelli Kilcollin. Yves explains that while they first did one-offs, “then we also had some that were just really good”.

One ring in particular was so good it took on a life of its own. Spinelli Kilcollin’s fans will know of the Sonny, a ring that’s become a bestseller for the brand.

Dwyer says: “My friend Sonny wanted a ring for her wedding and so she designed a very special one that was thinner and had a band of diamonds and it was really beautiful.

“People loved her ring so much we would make variations of it for other people. We started calling it the Sonny… And it’s honestly our bestseller.”

A galaxy, made in LA

Yves says SK rings are made in Los Angeles, where the designers are based, “so it’s really easy to customise and make one-offs”.

Keeping the production local is important for many reasons. Fair labour is obviously one aspect, but the fact that the Spinelli Kilcollin team can be “hands-on” is also extremely attractive. Let’s not forget this is a brand that started with Yves’s dad making the first ring.

“My dad is a hair stylist and he’s from Italy, his family were blacksmiths, so he learned how to work with metal. And he does an amazing job. In fact, some of the early samples we’ve had, they were almost irreplicable by other jewellers. He would spend so much time to perfect it…”

Yves’s dad has obviously moved on from making Galaxy rings for SK. With the brand taking on a life of its own, Yves and Dwyer needed professional workshops to work with.

“In the beginning we would take our orders and go around and get someone to make the metal shape, and then bring it to someone else to set the stones, then bring it back to finish and polish it…

“Every morning and every afternoon we’re running each piece around. And our stone setter said you need a shop that does everything, I’m going to open it for you.” 

That stone setter was Rogelio. Taking over the production process for Spinelli Kilcollin was a big change for the specialist. From a cubicle in a building, “he opened a bigger space and hired all the different types of jewellery specialists.

“He’s probably 90% of the linked rings we make. He makes all the bespoke for sure and many of the rings.”

However, the brand also has two other jewellery workshops in Los Angeles. “One is more technical. They each have their own specialty.”

But while some orders are made by other workshops, all of the SK rings are made with the same process.

“They all make the rings exactly the same so there is this consistency.

“In fact, we have to mark it ourselves to know which is which, because you can’t even tell when you look at it.”

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