When you're ready to make your vows, why not make your rings? There are many methods available: jewelry artists who are trained as design jewelers can help when you have a theme in your heart even if you can't draw or picture the rings. This is not rocket science, it's applied art and craftsmanship! The key is finding jewelers who listen well (not coerce you into pre-existing patterns), who design, and who have experience using a variety of metalsmithing techniques. You want help to customize this visual story about your relationship. What you're looking for is to explore metal and stones beyond the typical diamond wedding set mentality. This is where a design jeweler can help you have the same comfort you would insist on if you were going to wear a second skin. It matters! Don't just go to the mall!
The bride and groom's family wanted to honor their determined relationship of 10 years by gathering family heirlooms to recycle the metal and stones, as well as the history behind them. The groom's ring features inlaid mokume gane, a Japanese technique of married metals, set in 18 karat white gold. Mokume gane is an exceptional delight to the eye, offering effects similar to woodgrain, or the play of ripples on water. It is also quite a statement about one metal next to another: contrast can be dramatic or subtle, depending on the metals used. (Not a bad metaphor for people getting married). We found special stock at Reactive Metals which suited the groom's purposes. He was guided through the construction of his ring from carving the wax for a lost wax vacuum casting, to soldering the inlay of mokume gane in place before final polishing of his sleek and very individual ring.
The bride had a deep connection to her great grandmother's 6 karat lavendar star sapphire. A high cut cabachon, it was originally set in a classic princess Di style surrounded with diamond pave. The ring went through a second incarnation when it was redesigned in 18 k yellow gold, highly architectural shape with channel set diamonds. For her own turn, the bride yearned for something organic, fluid, and graceful, with an Art Nouveau feel but strength that would still balance the considerable weight of the high stone to reduce rolling on her finger. She was leery of prongs due to activity and opted for a gypsy setting to afford protection and add to the fluidity of the design. Her sketches suggested floral stems and leaves which were loosely interpreted in white gold.
1. rough cast 18 karat white gold mounting
2. cleaned up casting with side mounted diamonds
3. and the final center stone set and polished!
The rings figured prominantly in the overall handmade nature of this wedding. But best of all, the process of making them was as important as the symbols. If you are in the Pacific Northwest, and have not yet met Tim Green of Timothy W. Green Jewelers and Jo Gentry Haemer of Gentry Goldsmithing, check out their classes for design jewelery instruction extraordinaire. Care about the process, and enjoy the product even more. If we make vows, why not also invoke these promises as we marry intentions in the metal? Art, like relationships, is not just a thing, it IS a way. What could be a more wonderful way to celebrate a marriage?