A Custom WWII Ring for a Navy Dad

July 2nd, 2011 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG


The Mardon team created this very special ring just in time to celebrate the 86th birthday of Harold Swanson, my father-in-law. Like many of his generation, he left high school as soon as he was of age and enlisted in the military to fight WWII. As a Navy sailor, he trained for  submarine service, but a broken nose kept him above the water– he couldn’t tolerate the pressure of underwater duty. He was assigned to the USS Wilkes (DD441), a navy destroyer that came to be known as the Lucky Ship because while it was in numerous fierce battles in both the North Atlantic and the South Pacific, not a single sailor lost their life while on the Wilkes.

Wife Kaye wanted a very special gift for her dad, so we decided to make a silver ring with a relief of the Wilkes that he could feel with his fingers– his eyesight is mostly gone due to macular degeneration. We started with photos of the Wilkes and quickly realized that we had a design challenge- destroyers are ships designed to be lean and mean, so they are proportionally very long. Initially, we liked this “action” shot the most,


but decided that this silhouette image would work better.


We had to figure a way to wrap the image of the ship onto the ring, so I came up with a concept sketch that kept the ship on the top of the finger. Daughter Jenny, our master CAD designer, created this beautiful design using our ArtCam JewelSmith software that adds depth and relief to photographs so they appear and feel 3 dimensional. Jenny added the special touch of using the font of the US Mint for the lettering.

The Bow of the Wilkes

The Bow of the Wilkes

The Stern of the Wilkes

The Stern of the Wilkes

We really like the design, and are happy to celebrate the service of our men in uniform just in time for the Fourth of July. They all deserve our gratitude for service in harm’s way and our respect for the simple dignity with which they served.

This wonderful design can be adapted to other ships, aircraft, or tanks, etc. that relate to service in war– If you have a photo or any type of artwork, we can develop a unique ring that will speak to the heart of your favorite warrior. Give us a call or contact us at customerservice@mardonjewelers.com

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