May 23

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

By Calla Gold

Who Uses a Santa Barbara Jeweler?

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

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

That was seven 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 this Santa Barbara Jeweler’s 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,  Detailed,  Enameled and 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. Each little detail we’d spent time on added to the greatness of Ralph’s ring.

It’s Anxiety Producing

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 Santa Barbara Pack and Post!

It Got There Just Fine

What Did Ralph Think?

Ralph loved it. “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 on to 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.”

What’s the Takeaway Message Here?

Don’t fear long-distance jewelry design. Choose your Jeweler carefully and go for it!

4 thoughts on ““Can You Design Jewelry Long Distance?” Ralph’s Ring Story

  1. “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

    • Ralph, I love the rhyming sketch to kvetch! It’s fabulous and makes the design sound even more adventurous.
      To anyone reading his comment, he does not kvetch, he has new and improved ideas, that we discuss most civilly or email about.
      I love working with you long distance. I’m your Personal Jeweler anytime Ralph!
      Calla in Santa Barbara

  2. 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.

    • Kat,
      Thank you for sharing your long distance jeweler story. Your ring is totally unique and I love maintaining it. I’m blessed to be your local mobile jeweler!
      Calla Gold

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