This was the phone call as a jeweler I never want to get. My phone rang on a gorgeous palm tree waving day. "It's Mary, I've lost my wedding ring!"
She had two wonderful kids, one husband and no wedding ring. It's sad, it's a loss, and it's just not right.
Have You Ever Lost a Really Important Piece of jewelry?
It’s just the pits. And if it’s your wedding ring it’s not like you’re going to wait till your anniversary. You need it now.
Mary's New Wedding Ring Story and Jewelry Design Steps
That’s where we were when Mary and I met. “Bring your box of models Calla.” And so I did. I have boxes of designs I have done cast up in brass. It's not pretty, but it allows clients to try on different widths, curves and heights to see what is complementary to their hands. I also have some wax models that I haven't gotten around to casting in brass.
Mary wanted to get inspired by designs I’d already done. After trying on two ring sets and single rings we narrowed it down to one wedding ring design. (See below, with the Halloween Orange background. What was I thinking when I took that picture?)
Then I went sapphire shopping and Mary selected three sapphires. Now it was time to translate the original design to her chosen sapphires.
Modifying an Existing Design to Different Sized Gemstones
Even though we had a specific design, in its current state it wouldn't accept Mary's chosen sapphires. My original design had three bezel set round diamonds. Mary chose three sapphires. The center sapphire was an elongated oval shape. The other two were a different size than my model was made for.
One thing people don't know when designing from an already created design, is how different gemstones affect the design. Diamonds are cut in a specific way to enhance their sparkle. This focuses on symmetry and refraction of light. (Basically getting the light that goes into the diamond to bounce around the inner facets and pop back out.)
Colored gemstones however are cut to enhance the depth of color. This means that they may be cut more deeply to capture more color. Those deeper cutting choices mean that if you take a design made for symmetrically faceted diamonds and decide to make it again with colored gemstones, chances are good that the design made for diamonds will not work for the colored gemstones you choose.
This means that the original design style can be honored, but you can't just plop new gems in the original model. A new wax will need to be made. You will however save money on design time, because the design is figured out. Now measurements can be taken to modify the design to accommodate the new gemstones. Therefore I had a new wax carved to accommodate her new sapphires.
The new wax changed the design by enlarging the center element because of the oval center gem and added height to accommodate the more deeply cut sapphires. We also made the shank wider. This made it unique and worked beautifully for her hand.
Put Your Favorite Features in Your Custom Wedding Ring
Since Mary wears both silver and gold jewelry, she wanted a two tone look in her new ring which she had not had before. The wax was carved in two pieces so it’d be able to be cast in yellow gold and white gold separately and then combined.
Mary's Happy Ending!
I loved this project. Beginning with an existing design was a great starting point. Mary found a model that fit her taste. When we altered it we only improved a design style she knew she liked.
Mary's wedding ring with yellow gold bezels for her sapphires and white gold for the diamonds looks quite different now from the design that inspired it. It looks amazing on her. This is Mary’s story.
What's the Takeaway Question Here?
Do you have a project to be done or a loss to be replaced? Look at existing designs to see what you like. Do something about it. Soon. Really, you'll be glad you did!
Calla Gold, Happy Jewelry Designer