We do a lot of custom jewelry work here at Designer Gold. Many of the projects either augment or completely redesign an existing piece of jewelry. For this particular job, Ceileigh was interested in a custom engagement ring. She had a combination of small loose diamonds from her mother and two large diamonds set in rings from her grandmother and her fiancé's grandmother. She hoped to incorporate her families’ diamonds in a new ring that
represented her personality and was unique.
In her first meeting with our goldsmith Orin, Ceileigh brought in a few source photos that outlined some of the design elements she hoped to include in the ring. Orin wrote a list of descriptions, such as: timeless, unique, asymmetrical, classic, geometric and flowing lines. . . . From these seemingly contradictory descriptors, he sketched out a few ring designs that captured the design elements Ceileigh listed, while also making sure to incorporate the stones she had brought in.
In his own words, Orin does not claim to be a “sketch artist." The initial drawings were intended to narrow down some of the larger design components before carving a model in wax. Ceileigh was drawn to a few of the sketches, but was not 100% convinced she had seen the ring of her dreams.
Orin carved a wax model which allowed him to realize his vision more fully and to set Ceileigh's stones in the wax.
The wax used to create ring models is a hard (usually blue) wax that can be filed, carved with an X-ACTO knife, cut with a saw blade, melted, or scraped with a sharpened metal tool. A section of wax is cut from a cylindrical ring tube and then slowly cut and carved away until the intended shape begins to emerge.
From that stage, intricate details are added and stones can be set temporarily into the wax to ensure a good fit once the piece is cast in metal. It's very helpful to see the concept in three dimensions, and also the model can be tried on for fit and for seeing how the design looks on the hand -- all of this before giving the go ahead to cast.
At this point, Ceileigh came in to see the wax model. While the blue wax can be off-putting, she loved the design and was eager to see the final product in metal.
In addition to the family diamonds, Ceileigh had some scrap yellow gold. Although the ring was to be cast in palladium, we were able to give her scrap credit for the gold to help offset the cost of the ring. As a rule, Designer Gold does not buy gold outright, but we are happy to either melt down existing gold to use in new project or give scrap credit toward a repair or commission.
Once the Ceileigh's ring was cast in palladium, Orin proceeded to polish it and . . .
. . . bezel set the center diamonds, as well as bead set and channel set the smaller diamonds along the band. The final steps were to milgrain the edges and polish one last time.
Ceileigh's beautiful, unique, finished ring!
Ceileigh was stunned with the finished product! In her words: “OH MY GOD!!!! You’re the most incredible genius of all time and I really cannot thank you enough!!!!! It’s EXACTLY what I wanted!!!!!! You are the best and I really thank you more than words!!!!!!!!”
This e-mail was received just two hours after her fiancé had left Designer Gold with the ring to surprise her.