Custom Filigree Ring in Platinum with Natural Alexandrite

November 6th, 2009 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG
Custom Platinum Filigree Ring with Alexandrite

Custom Platinum Filigree Ring with Alexandrite

With Filigree styles so popular, it’s really nice to see people choosing to create their own custom versions of these classic expressions of jewelry art.

Our client, call her Christie, had admired a very nice pear shaped natural alexandrite from our Gallery of Gems. This clean bright beauty has a good color change and pleasing shape that caught her eye and her imagination. Just what a gemstone should do!

Initially, she thought to have a ring made by Lucie Campbell, a jewelry designer from London. She had admired the the delicacy and flow of the intricate filigree work of this designer, but after thinking it over, she decided on having us make her a custom one-of-a-kind ring. Her exact quote was “I realized that I recognized some of Lucie Campbell’s designs as coming “from the same mould” and I really would like this ring to be a one-of-a-kind.”

Our approach in doing custom work is to listen very carefully to our clients. Their input is often the key to making the design really sing.

It’s very easy to get “locked in” to particular looks in designing jewelry. Jewelry design is essentially pretty conservative because of the constraints of form and function– a gemstone ring must support and show the stone to it’s best while fitting the hand comfortably. And the filigree style places certain constraints on the overall form of the piece. So it can be really helpful to see the design through other eyes!

One suggestion from Christie was to feature a botanical element in the design, in particular a corn motif. Jenny, our CAD wizard, was able to execute the concept to perfection– the tiny points of light created by the kernels of corn on two of the prongs work very well with the overall look of the piece.

Jenny also developed beautiful scrolls reminiscent of the circle hooks we fishermen all know and love– a detail Christie and significant other John, both avid anglers, really appreciated!

CAD Rendering

CAD Rendering

One really nice thing about working with JewelSmith, our CAD system, is the ease with which we can incorporate unique elements into a design. We’re able to preview the design precisely from all angles, as opposed to laborious hand sketching or hand carving. Jenny was able to “tweak” this design and get it just right.

I hand detailed and carved the wax to the correct thicknesses for casting platinum by the lost wax process. Our platinum-smiths cast, hand finished and set the ring, adding beautiful hand engraving– Voila! the finishing touch! You can see that jewelry making is truly a team effort!

Compared to semi-custom pieces from designers, we’re finding that JewelSmith allows us to compete effectively in several ways.

Often, the biggest obstacle we face in doing custom pieces is that our customers cannot visualize what their piece will look like, even with good hand drawn sketches. The CAD renderings allow them to see what the finished product will look like before we make it.

And, our clients truly enjoy participating in the design process. After all, jewelry is really very personal– it’s all about our most precious emotions and significant life events. Being able to contribute builds pride of ownership.

Our turnaround time has improved, generally about a month or less, compared to 2 to 3 months for items from some designers.

Finally, because of the efficiency and precision of JewelSmith, we can offer true one-of-a-kind original work at very competitive prices– our custom pieces are often less than similar items from manufacturers.

So if you have a gemstone you want to wear, or if you want a very special engagement ring that no one else has, or if you just have a great idea for a design, give us a call. We’ll help you make it real. Read Christie’s testimonial about her experience in making this ring– she says it all!

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