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A visit to Costen Catbalue Goldsmiths and Design is truly a unique experience! Our workshop is located within our studio showroom, allowing clients to both browse the finished pieces of jewellery in the showcases, as well as observe our team of European trained craftspeople at work. Using some of the same hand tools that goldsmiths have used for hundreds of years, the jewellery at Costen Catbalue Goldsmiths is predominantly hand crafted. These tools, combined with advanced technology allow the goldsmiths to attain the attention to detail that has made Costen Catbalue world-renowned. The distinctive quality of Costen Catbalue works is the merging of the two in-house designers. Mary Ann Buis and Andrew Costen have over 30 years each of design experience and have built impressive international reputations with their unparalleled perspectives on design. Their creations range from ultra modern to the traditional; incorporating both innovative and classic setting techniques that are evident in their award winning concepts. Clients at Costen Catbalue are offered a rare opportunity to draw on this experience and work with two of the industry’s most prestigious goldsmiths.
Each custom made piece at Costen Catbalue is a collaborative partnership between designer and client. The process begins with a client consultation in a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere. The client’s tastes and requirements are taken into consideration, as Mary Ann and Andrew both feel a good design should also reflect their clients’ personality and lifestyle. A piece of jewellery is often a reminder of a special moment or occasion and the design process is an opportunity to add to these memories. Photographs and sketches are utilized to solidify the ideas and then a wax model, precious metal model or CAD rendering is made to confirm the size and style of the piece. This essential stage provides both the client & designer the opportunity to make any final alterations before ultimately forging your new precious treasures into reality. When the designer and client are both happy, the inspiration becomes a reality and the journey is complete.
We always have an extensive array of ready to wear pieces on hand that cover the whole spectrum of styles, colours, stones and prices ensuring you will find that perfect something for your special occasion or spontaneous treat. Pieces in our showcases are individually handcrafted in our on-site studio where you can see our artists and craftsmen hard at work while browsing our award winning collections of jewels & stones. Additionally, we carry ready-made Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands in Platinum, Gold and alternative metals such as Tungsten Carbide, Titanium, Damascus Steel & Meteorite.
Along with creating custom pieces, we also work with clients who wish to bring new life to their previously worn pieces of jewellery. A stone may appear to be too old or scratched to be reused but in most cases the stone can be re-cut and re-polished to bring out its natural beauty. Antique, inherited or pieces that haven’t been worn for years can be reimagined into striking contemporary styles that you will love today, tomorrow and for future generations to come.
A glimpse of the crown jewels at the Tower of London triggered Andrew's desire to become a goldsmith. At the age of 15, he applied to start his seven-year apprenticeship at Medway College of Art and Design in Chatham, England. After graduating with distinction, Andrew worked with top designer goldsmiths and jewellery houses in London including David Thomas and Leo Devrooman where he made jewellery for clients such as Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and Andrew Lloyd Weber. In 1982, a prominent custom jewellery store recruited Andrew to work with them in Banff, Alberta. In 1985, he opened his own studio workshop, Bustopher Goldsmiths, in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he designed and made custom jewellery for clients such as Kirstie Alley and Robin Williams. In 2000 he merged with Mary Ann Buis to create the Costen Catbalue Goldsmith and Design. Andrew has won over 20 national and international awards, including De Beers Diamonds Today, The 2013 International Spectrum Award, Excellence In Design and the Canadian Jeweller's Editor's Choice Award. It’s clear that this dedication has paid off. Known for his unusual combinations of gemstones and metals, Andrew’s design innovations range from lavishly classic to elegantly modern. Andrew's jewellery has been exhibited throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Andrew considers his work an art form, every piece becoming as unique and individual as his clients. "Jewellery has many restrictions, and the true skill lies in combining design with durability, wearability, and beauty." Finding new and creative ways to achieve this, keeps Andrew on the cutting edge of jewellery design.
Mary Ann's affinity to jewellery design was revealed while she was living in Holland. A desire to work in a three-dimensional art medium led her to enroll in the VAK Technical school in Schoonhoven, Netherlands. After completing her four year Master’s Degree in Goldsmithing and Silversmithing in Holland and apprenticing in Amsterdam for one year, she returned to Canada. In 1981, she opened Catbalue Gold and Silversmithing Studio Workshop and began designing her signature pieces. Her work was immediately recognized as both distinctive and of the highest quality. In 2000, after knowing each other for fifteen years, Mary Ann and Andrew merged to form Costen Catbalue Goldsmith and Design. The collaboration has allowed her to spend more time with her husband, Frits De Vries, a prominent architect. Mary Ann has won numerous awards, including the De Beers Diamonds International Award, Women Designing For Women Design Award and De Beers Diamonds Today. Mary Ann's designs reflect her love of sculpture, particularly Henry Moore, she finds inspiration in clean architectural lines and the natural interplay of textures and colours. Mary Ann integrates these elements into her designs by juxtaposing materials like brilliant cut white Diamonds and natural crystal Aquamarine. Another aspect of her designs is her desire to work with gemstones that are not commonly known, such as the diverse colour spectrum Spinel or the bright green of Chrysophrase. However, her greatest satisfaction lies in creating designs that reflect her client’s personalities and lifestyles. "With custom jewellery you can make something into an art piece." She also finds inspiration in creating multi-functional pieces that allow her clients to wear their jewellery as often as they can. "A relationship develops during the design process and trust is built. They see what I can create for them and this keeps them coming back time and time again."
The process is the same for each type of piece and you can choose to be as involved as you like. Some clients like to be shown each and every step, whereas others like to have initial input and simply wait to see the finished piece. For our international clients, we have adapted this process by emailing you photos of each step so you can add your input along the way.
In most cases, the piece of jewellery will centre around a Diamond, Gemstone or combination of the two, so typically this is the best place to start. We have a broad collection of stunning Diamonds, Precious and Semi-Precious Gemstones of all shapes, sizes and colours to choose from and if we don’t have the perfect one, we can easily bring in a selection for you to choose from.
After the design is settled upon, we either create a wax model or forge the piece out of precious metal. Since this is the last stage before stone setting, we like clients to come in or approve the photos to ensure that the model looks exactly as you would like the finished piece.
When the piece is finished we will contact you to either come down and collect your piece or make arrangements to have it sent by insured priority shipping. We will also have an appraisal completed for you by an excellent third-party appraiser, if you so choose.
1832 West 1st AvenueVancouver, BC Canada V6J 1G5 604.734.3259
Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Friday  | 10am - 6pm Saturday | 10am - 5pm Sunday and Monday | Closed