Emily Gill

Emily Gill is an independent fine jewelry designer who is known for her exceptional use of colors, unique and exquisite design details, and very special enamel work, which we at Ruby Mardi love!

Emily's studies took her from Montreal to Halifax at the ripe creative age of 20, where she graduated with honors from the Jewellery & Metalsmithing program at NSCAD University.

Then, after one summer in residence at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre as a metals student, she saw that being in the big city might be her best shot at becoming a designer. She moved from the comforts of a Maritime small town experience to Toronto's urban jungle, hustle and big city attitude literally overnight. She was eager, full of ideas, and ready to leap into the unknown. 

The day after her graduation in 2009, she packed up 4 suitcases, lined up a studio to rent in the Fashion District on Spadina Avenue, and began to prepare for her debut juried art show at City Hall. Emily started her journey in Toronto with accolades for her creativity and hard work, winning the National Student Jewellery Competition at LA Pai Gallery in Ottawa, and for two consecutive years winning Best Jewellery at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Emily wouldn't say these small triumphs made her career, but it was clear the universe had something in store for her and so she kept going!

Emily launched her bespoke fine jewellery line and became a full time jewellery maker & designer in 2015. 
She designs future heirlooms with diamonds, sapphires, precious materials and her beloved enamel from her studio in Parkdale, downtown Toronto. 

We're happy to present to you a short interview in which you'll learn about what inspires Emily, what she loves and get a glimpse of who she is. 

Who are the artists you love the most, who inspire you or accompany you?  Do they influence your work, and if so, in what way?

One might assume that being a maker of objects, I would be most inspired by a visual artist! However, I think my outside the box brain would prefer to answer your blog with a bizarre interpretation!

It is one of the most important creative fields and most inspiring to me. I find music to be the best way to shift any mood. If I am calm and need to work on something laborious (like grinding or polishing) I tune into staccato music. For laying enamel grains down, inspecting stones, or detail work, a slower pace of any music will work. I’ve had the pleasure of making rings for musicians who want to wear their ring all the time, to ensure their ring was always comfortable enough to play piano, for example. Musicians like my clients, are also super thoughtful and attuned to the transformative power of their artwork on the psyche of others. I guess the intimate nature of how jewellery makes one feel, can be compared to the intimate feelings and intangible moments captured by song.

If you could be reincarnated as a flower, which one would you choose and why?


It is a healing flower, it soothes and relieves, has so many medicinal qualities, it has a bright yellow orange petal akin to a daisy, which is such a happy little flower. During the pandemic I spent a lot of time in my garden building out raised beds of edible flowers from seeds from my family in the Rigaud Mountain area outside Montreal. They are building something special with native plant species propagation, with intentions of making a mark on the environment, and I am happy to grow my little calendula to feel connected to my family roots.

How do you think art can have an impact on society or on people's lives?

How does your own work fit into this larger context?

Whether presenting a strong message of political subject, or a calming ambience, art will always move people and if you truly take time to stand in front of a work of art, or listen intently to lyrics, or even take an art class, you will always learn something about your soul. You may have negative or positive reactions. My work has always been about sharing my positive associations with colour, form, and my personal connection to my partners cultural heritage in jewellery as he comes from one of the oldest jewellery cultures in the world.

What is delicate about jewellery as a medium is that it also has such an important and often stigma of being associated with conflict, greed, money, power.
I try my best to reduce my environmental impact, allow space for varied price points while also offering top quality products that will last.

I love that Ruby Mardi exists to promote slow jewellery and hope in the larger context and development of the industry, more clients will choose small independent and responsible artists to procure their jewellery, and consider the kick back that supporting “slow” jewellery as opposed to “fast fashion” that is the root of many issues worldwide. (thank you, Emily! 🖤)

How do you deal with times when you feel stuck or frustrated in your work?

Do you have any strategies for overcoming these obstacles?

When I feel stuck or stagnant for long periods of time, I feel it’s always healthy to take a step back from the work and learn something new to gain a fresh perspective. I also surround myself with others who may also want to experience the same thing. I’m not shy about asking around if anyone wants to have a creative experience, big or small, to get the positive vibes back up.

If you could meet one person from history, who would it be and why?

This is a very tough question to answer, but Suzanne Belperron was a jewellery designer I truly admire.
She came from a time when everything was custom cut, stones were made for her pieces, she had an entire team to build her designs.
I wonder what it would have been like to be her and would ask her so many questions… How long did pieces take? What were her relationships like with her goldsmiths and lapidarists? 

Jewellery is so intimate and its processes requiring such collaboration working in a team, she must have had some incredible energy, talent and fortitude as a female designer at the turn of the 20th century to command the respect of her team to leave such a legacy.

Plus I would want to meet her little grey cat, on a fanciful note.

💎 Do you have any guilty pleasures? 💎

This is a funny question, do you mean besides buying gemstones, Victor and Karène?
Guilty pleasures outside of buying gemstones would be cooking, I love to cook to relax, watch a movie.
I do a lot of my writing in my kitchen, perhaps my most cerebral work comes from sitting at this very table, more so than in the studio where I execute the production. It’s funny how that worked out.

I guess cooking is my number one pleasure then!

Is there a song you could listen to over and over again and never get tired of?

Song would be George Benson Just give me the night

It always makes me happy.

Finally, what is your favorite museum (worldwide)?

I had the pleasure of visiting the Denver Art Museum on a trip to visit a client two years ago. I was absolutely blown away with the scale of their Indigenous Art Collection, the largest I have ever seen and experienced. They commit to collecting contemporary Indigenous artists. While visiting the museum I followed and messaged several artists who are practicing today, to share appreciation to their craft and had lovely personal exchanges with the artists directly.

Vancouver Haida artist
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas accepted an offer to be mailed and view some of my copper enamel artwork from school, and we had a beautiful exchange via mail. I also really loved the work of Sicangu / Lakota artist Dyani White Hawk. Her painting Untitled (Quiet Strength II) was incredibly moving and meditative. She also was very kind to chat with my on Instagram.

Thank you for sharing a little of yourself with us, Emily!