Bands for the boys
Sydney jeweller N.C.Austin guides us through gay wedding and engagement rings
Words: Damien Woolnough
Photographs: instagram @nc_austin
2th November 2019
SYDNEY jeweller Nick Austin Clifford has a knack for crafting masculine rings that don’t look as though they’ve been snatched from the top drawer of Liberace or Tom Jones.
With his brand N.C.Austin he creates sturdy bands and striking signet rings that would look at home on the digits of Matt Bomer, Brad Pitt or Michael B Jordan.
We asked the rising star of subdued sparkle how the men of today are putting a ring on it.
What makes a good wedding ring?
Apart from the design and style which best suits the wearer, I believe a good wedding ring has to be solid and thick-walled to ensure a lifetime of wear.
My dad’s wedding band had to be cut off after wearing for 30 years because the metal got so thin and sharp on the edges. That made me want to make rings that wouldn’t wear out. One and done.
Have you made any rings for same sex couples?
I’ve made quite a few for same sex couples. It’s great, because every couple has a different way of doing things.
With a male and female couple, usually the woman finds her ring first that’s she’s been eyeing off, and the man comes to me, so it’s more of a disjointed experience.
But with same sex couples both men come to me and get to pick out their rings together, and usually their choices are quite different to each other.
Another interesting thing is when men choose an engagement ring for their partner (usually a signet ring). Once they propose, the proposer then comes back to me to get a ring for themselves so they both have one. It’s great that new traditions or ways of doings things are being created, and I get to be apart of that which is very nice.
Why are signet rings making a return?
I can’t be completely certain, but I do think the appeal of an everyday classic piece of jewellery that can be worn at all times is quite attractive to the wearer. The timeless nature of a signet ring makes it the perfect choice for every day life.
With same sex couples both men come to me and get to pick out their rings together, and usually their choices are quite different to each other
Part of the Gold Top collection available through the N.C.Austin showroom.
How did you get involved with jewellery making?
Rings have been an interest of mine for a very long time and one day I just decided I wanted to be a jeweller. I took it upon myself to learn and met a few older master jewellers who generously taught me the processes and over time fell in love with absolutely everything involved in the making of jewellery.
What is the hardest part of the role?
The hardest part by far is mastering the methods and techniques of hand made jewellery. You can spend a whole day working on a new piece and it can all fall apart after 8 hours of work. Maintaining discipline is the hardest part.
What does N.C.Austin represent?
For me it represents a commitment to true craftsmanship. Classic, timeless, and sentimental.
Visit the N.C.Austin online showroom.