Our client Laura has a passion for gems and fine jewelry, especially for natural Alexandrite. Her dream was to have custom wedding rings set with natural Alexandrites and Diamond. She found us thru the Mardon Blog and lives in the northern part of our state, so we’ve worked with her via email. We’ve made two custom rings for her recently, one of Diamond only, one set with Alexandrite and Diamond.
She’s been very pleased with our work so she asked us to make her new wedding set. She had a custom wedding band with small Diamonds and Alexandrites and an engagement ring with a one carat Diamond. She asked that we use as many of her gems as possible and add a pair of larger Alexandrites. She sent us this sketch as the basic look she wanted.
Using her budget for the project as the parameters, we began by searching our network of gem traders for just the right stones and found these three matched pairs of natural Alexandrites.
Besides images showing the color changes of the Alexandrites, we sent pics showing how they related to her one carat Diamond.
Since she wanted the new stones to be as large as possible, we focused on the two larger pairs. Although pair #2 were larger in diameter and more sparkly, #3 had more intense color, stronger color change and was a better match for her smaller Alexandrites so the choice was fairly obvious. Like everything in life, success is all about the choices we make– you can see from the finished piece that the Alexandrites match quite well.
The design process was rather involved. Laura sent us lots of pictures of leafy rings and several sketches. The problem with her sketches was that they weren’t to scale so they wouldn’t work with her stones. Also, she had more than enough gems to work with– the challenge was to fit them into her concept of leaves and vines. We sent a simple sketch done to scale to show the true proportion and relationships of her gem stones.
Once we had her decision on which stones to use, we could start the CAD design. Here’s the first iteration– we grouped the Alexandrites together to emphasize their color. Because it would be a large ring, we suggested doing a single ring rather than a set.
She liked the basic look but wanted the color to be distributed throughout the ring, so we created this concept.
She decided that the engagement ring should be two tone. After considering the combination of rose and white, she chose yellow and white gold. She also realized she truly wanted a wedding band to match. After a number of tweaks and adjustments, we finalized this design.
To finish the rings, the prototype models were produced on our 3d printer, then cast with a traditional centrifical casting machine. That was the easy part. The two tone construction complicated our jewelers’s task– each yellow gold leaf had to be soldered individually to the white gold base–Tricky! He had to build support inside the delicate structure of the ring in order to be able to set the stones– he used the ancient method of melted shellac to form the support.
Making this custom wedding set was certainly a challenging task, but as you can see, the effort was worth it. The most important thing is that Laura loves her new wedding set. You can read her testimonial on our website.
In making custom jewelry, the process can take many turns and twists. For this set, we had a total of 8 proofs before arriving at the final design. Although we at Mardon have been creating custom jewelry for over 40 years, we still learn as we go. The new technologies of digital imagery and computer aided design (CAD ) allow communication of ideas very effectively, while CNC machining and 3D printing have greatly improved production of the prototype. Combining these with the traditional hand craft methods of goldsmithing allows us to create superior pieces, yet the human element is still the key. Our Mardon team of creative experts stands ready to look and listen to your ideas to create the jewel of your dreams.