I usually design seamless rings, without lots of pokie-uppie elements (technical jeweler’s term) that catch on things—like sweaters, babies, and car doors.
On the other hand, some of the most beautiful, eye-popping, mind-bending designs I’ve ever seen, have stuff (another technical jewelry term—don’t worry about it) sticking up all over the place. Like the ring I designed for Wayne and Robin.
Wayne and Robin's Story - Finding That One Element
I got a call from a local man who’d found me on the Internet several months ago. Wayne wanted to give his girlfriend, Robin, a custom orchid ring for a special gift.
"She loves orchids."
I thought, “Cool, I can do that.” Until he described what he had in mind.
Rules and Common Sense Don't Always Work for Unique Designs
"Whoa, there, Wayne. Slow up! Those huge, arching flower petals are going to catch on everything Robin even looks at. No!" At the same time, the artist in me screamed, “That would be gorgeous!"
A week later, I met with Wayne and Robin for our second design meeting. They had diamonds from jewelry that wasn't being worn that I could use for her ring. We decided to use their smaller accent diamonds and just one larger diamond to keep focus on the beauty of the orchid's lines.
The Process of Getting to the Design of an Orchid Ring
I created a Paint document and shared pictures of different orchids to figure out which ones Robin loved the most. She picked the fluted, fluttery looking petals for the main orchid.
This design was not an ordinary project. In order to get the detail needed in the wax and be able to edit it as we went along, I used Peggy Croft, a renowned wax sculptor whom I've collaborated with in the past. It allowed us to start and discard an idea or two to get the focus perfect for Robin's ring.
Design Rules and Safely Breaking Them
Often with this type of a ring the large center diamond is plunked bam in the middle of a design element. I was getting so attached to the orchids I planned to create in gold, that I didn't want that big diamond breaking up the lines.
I wanted each orchid to be purely an orchid, with only the tiniest of accent diamonds. The diamonds would merely add a kiss of spark on the edge of a petal here and there. I wanted to have the diamond between the orchid elements, simply and florally set. (Florally, that's a word right?)
Breaking Rules For the Good of The Orchid Ring
In their finished ring the two main flower petals reached high off the ring, almost daring the physical universe to get in their way.
I loved Wayne and Robin’s vision, and bending the rules to create this unique orchid ring remains a highlight of my designing career.
Breakin' the Rules Jeweler,