"Can You Design Jewelry Long Distance?" Ralph’s Ring Story


I get asked often, “Calla can you design jewelry long distance for me?”  Just ask Ralph and he’d say “yes!”

Ten Years Ago I Didn’t Know How to E-Mail

That was ten years ago. What with a jewelry website, a Facebook Jewelry Page and this blog, that question comes up quite a lot these days. Getting a unique design done or having the idea in your head made up is my idea of fun. Why let a pesky detail like geography get in the way?

Here’s Long-Distance-Ralph’s Ring Story


Working with Ralph was great fun. From our back and forth emails of the initial sketches at the beginning of the project to the completed gold and black enamel ring at the end, we enjoyed the whole process.

It Helps That Ralph Was Decisive

From the outset, Ralph knew that he wanted a ring with his special date done in a  classic and unique style. He also knew he wanted the wording on the ring in the center area to be personal and special.

Figuring Out the Details

I emailed Ralph, that for the ring to look its best on the finger it was to go on, 15mm would be about the right width. He emailed back that he agreed and after making a few minor modifications, we tackled the task of what style of lettering he’d like.

Ralph researched fonts online and chose a style of lettering by Thomas Jefferson. Ralph’s art and Historian background played a part in the unique details on his ring.

Next Came the Wax Model

When the wax was carved, I got to agonize over little details, like the height of the domed edges and the best ratio for the outer edges and inner flat area. He got to see it via e-mail and gave his go ahead for casting.

The Finishing Details

Next, we discussed options for how best to show off the numbers and names. We chose to fill in the recessed numbers and letters with black enamel. The true black with its shiny surface gives a dramatic look in yellow gold.

design jewelry long distance

Ralph’s Ring, Cast and Polished, Before Enameling

Black enamel is also, thicker and more durable than black rhodium and would hold up better for everyday wear. I couldn’t wait to get the ring back from my enameller!

The Final, Really Final Details

I was overjoyed when I finally saw the finished product and couldn’t wait to give it to Ralph.

Lush Details Pop With Enamel. Just What Ralph Wanted

The last step was adding a satin finish on the gold in the center area. It’s not quite a matte finish, yet it’s less shiny than high polish. That satin finish, being more of a subtle look than the high polish on the rounded edges, highlights the enamel. Each little detail we spent time on, added to the greatness of Ralph’s ring.

Mailing can be Anxiety Producing, but…

The most nerve-wracking part, was having to ship our creation through the mail. Of course it arrived just fine, they always do. Thank you shippers!

If you’d like another distance story read about Edbbie’s wildly creative wedding band. Originally drawn when he was ten!

What Did Ralph Think?

Ralph loved it. Here’s his awesome email to me:

“Calla you have a responsive eye. I love how my initial scribblings translated into my amazing ring. One of the things I liked in working with you long distance, was your patience. Especially when we went back and forth on how to make the lettering translate onto the ring. You were cool with the time it took to email back and forth exploring ideas. Then I’d get busy and not email for two weeks and you were cool with that too. I am so happy with my ring.”

Do You Work Long Distance Often?

My long-distance jewelry work has increased greatly since I (finally) updated my website. Read this post about a long-distance hinged wedding band for Kiano.

design jewelry long distance, it's a gas

Working long-distance with Brad from diamond to engagement ring was great as I met his fiancee years ago when she was a teenager. Read about Brad’s long distance engagement ring.

You might enjoy this story about my long-distance gold nugget clients who wanted to use gold flecks and nuggets mined by an uncle in their ring.


What’s the Takeaway Message Here?

Don’t fear long-distance jewelry design. If you choose a jewelry designer whose work you like, who is responsive to your emails and calls, distance won’t matter. Go for it!

Your Personal Jeweler,

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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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13 years ago

“It’s a ‘Calla’?,” you ask? Well yes! It’s a Calla Gold design! She custom-made this ring from sketch, to kvetching (on my part), to prototyping many model…to its ultimate amazingness! The yellow gold and black enamel make for something altogether other worldly.

I appreciate greatly Calla’s ability to tell the story of a jewelry idea onto its fruition as a piece of art.

Move out of the way Bvlgari and Verdura…Calla is your personal jeweler!

Ralph in Saint Louis

Kat Lessin
12 years ago

As someone who designed my very own engagement ring with a long distance jeweler, one of the surprising things for me is what a collaborative effort it was and still is. My ring designer/creator was originally in Seattle and I was in Santa Barbara. The ring is everything I dreamed of, but what I quickly found out is that I needed Calla! Calla has become my more “local” mobile jeweler who lovingly maintains, fixes, repairs, cleans and all around cares for my ring. I love that my ring has been blessed by multiple jewelers.