In a moment of serendipity in 1985, Walter McTeigue and Tim McClelland stepped into the same elevator in the New York diamond district and struck up a conversation. A friendship developed that evolved into a collaborative venture in jewelry making. Though they were both in the jewelry business, they had entirely different backgrounds, skill sets and points of view about jewelry.
At the age of twenty Walter, a fourth generation jeweler, went to work with his father who was a highly respected dealer in precious stones and estate jewelry. Walter spent the next ten years immersed in the market; dealing with importers, cutters and auction houses in New York, Europe, and Asia. Having earned a reputation for his expertise he was subsequently hired by Harry Winston as Estate Jewelry Buyer and later advanced to Director of Purchasing. Handling rare gemstones and works by the world’s greatest jewelry houses instilled a deep appreciation for classical design, excellent craftsmanship and the finest gemstones. Understanding that jewelry of this quality and caliber was no longer being made stirred a deep desire in Walter to revive the family’s jewelry making tradition. He eventually left Harry Winston and went on to found McTeigue & McClelland with his friend Tim.
Tim grew up in a family of artists and began his own aesthetic pursuits at an early age. His love and fascination for working with metals began in high school art class and developed further while attending The Program in Artisanry at Boston University. At a time when traditional jewelry making techniques were dying out, Tim had an opportunity to apprentice with a European master jeweler who insisted that he learn the old world methods. Through this training Tim developed a foundation of knowledge and skill in traditional jewelry making which, augmented with formal studies in the fine arts and art history, would allow him to eventually forge his own path in the jewelry world. Tim developed a reputation for his skill and did fine restoration work for museums and auction houses on antique jewelry including pieces by the best jewelry makers of the 19th and early 20th century. The work taught, challenged and inspired him to work at the highest level – but Tim is an artist and his passion lay in experimenting and developing his own style and creating his own designs – which led to his eventual partnership with Walter.