A pictorial look at the making of a cherished piece
Catherine and Craig came to the studio with the wish to create a ring for Catherine that would combine personal symbols and colours reflecting their life together. We met many times over the next 7 months (!) but it was a very enjoyable and create process together. I hope you will enjoy it, as well!
After the initial meeting, I brought gem stones in on memo for Catherine to chose from. To be able to look at different shapes, sizes and colours is very helpful. The stones are just on loan from the gem dealer: the stones that are not suitable go back to the dealer, free of charge.
After selecting the ones that both Catherine and Craig liked, we start "playing" with them, move them around to see which goes well with the other and starting to create a rough design for the final product.
All through the process I make notes about sizes, costs, materials etc. This helps to keep an eye on budget and the design, especially in a longer project like this one.
Once the stones have been selected, I need to figure out dimensions of the ring. How wide will it be if we use all the stones selected? What is the clients tolerance for a wider ring. Will it look to big or not big enough.
Depending on the project, I do a lot of sketches. It's helpful to colour in gems to give the client a visual idea of the final piece.
Catherine and Craig wanted a very floral design that also incorporated the Irish triquetra. They brought in a lot of different images and variations on it, something that is very helpful as designer.
Here is a photo of the more or less final design as a drawing. Stones and their placement are coloured in, widths at the front and back noted, and the one ornamentation as well. As detailed as the sketch is, once I move onto the 3D version, things quite often need to move or change a little. Just because it works in a 2D drawing is not a guarantee it will in 3D form.
From the drawing I make a wax of the piece. This serves both as the wax that will be cast in the lost wax method (no moulds, no copies) and as chance for the client to see what it will look like. The wax is brittle an can not be truly tried on the finger.
To make it even clearer for the client I can place the stones into the settings. At this point I cannot make changes to the wax so it is very important that drawings and conversations have made sure we all understand what the piece will look like.
Here is the ring, now cast in 18 k white gold. At this point I will file, sand, polish or texture the ring so the client can come in for a fitting and truly get a look at what the piece will be like when done.
Once I have made sure the ring is a good size, it's off to the stone setter! The goldsmith trade has a multitude of sub-trades: casters, engravers, wax carvers, CNC experts, and stone setters. Having all these talented masters of their craft available to me, makes it possible to pick the right person for a specific job. And then, finally, the ring is on Catherine's hand!
Here is the "beauty shot": A completely custom designed ring with green and burnt orange garnets set in 18 k white gold with both textured and polished details.