Mother’s Ring Par Excellence-Custom Designs are Challenging but Really Fun

May 5th, 2009 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

We really enjoy designing custom rings for our clients but our initial efforts aren’t always successful.  The key is always patience and communication—this Mother’s ring is an example of how a jeweler must really listen carefully to hear what his client really wants in order to make that ring that “sings”.

Our clients, let’s call them Mr. and Mrs. Heart, came to us via referral for a Mother’s ring. Mother’s rings are often difficult to design because the family birthstones don’t always complement each other.  Fortunately, Mrs. Heart had some specific design ideas that gave us an opportunity to create something beautiful and unique.

She wanted a peridot and a diamond, pear shaped, to represent her and her husband’s birth month plus two round emeralds and one round sapphire as tokens of her three children.  She wanted the children’s stones placed on a diagonal between the two pear shapes and all stones set low for the ring to be wearable. She told me she likes antique and filigree styles and wanted yellow gold to match her wedding rings.

Daughter Jenny, who does the actual CAD designing with JewelSmith software, and I discussed the layout and basic design and developed this marquise shaped ring design with pierced out hearts that we thought would accomplish all she had asked for.
The basic shape would be milled with Art2Part software on our CNC system, and then we would set the stones and decorate and embellish the ring with some nice hand engraving. The photo below shows a ring we designed along Edwardian lines that had been very successful and well received.

We emailed the design and didn’t hear back for a week or so until Mrs. Heart came in late one afternoon with a disappointed look.  She didn’t like the design for several reasons—she wanted the points of the pear shapes to be turned 180 degrees from where we had them, and she didn’t like the marquise shape and the bypass shank at all.

My ears perked up when several times during the conversation, she used words like “delicate” and “open work”. She wanted to know if we could “entwine” any of the hearts? Also, it turned out that she really wanted the ring in white gold. And, most importantly, she wanted the design laid out across the finger rather than up and down.

Sometimes when you try to create a design, it just won’t come, so we put the project aside for a couple of days. One afternoon, when I was thinking of a ring we had done for another client that had turned out really well, something clicked.


The basic shape and look of this ring were about right, so I started doodling and came up with this sketch.

We sent it via email and she loved the concept!  The next step was to execute the new design in CAD, so Jenny got busy and rendered it in white- this was the result!

Mrs. Heart loved the new design and gave us the go ahead to make the wax model. The milling was a bit tricky, but after a couple of attempts and some very careful hand carving and detailing, we brought the wax to the final stage. We cast the ring in 14K white gold and finished this very nice wearable Mother’s ring, complete with filigree and entwined hearts!


Our client was very happy when she received her ring– she told us it was much more than she had expected.

Of course we like to get paid for our work, but that special smile from a truly happy client really is the icing on the cake.  Sometimes we just have to try harder to create an excellent design—this was well worth the extra effort. At Mardon, we’ll go the extra mile just to see the smile on your face.

Tags: , , , , ,

Other Posts

2 Responses to “Mother’s Ring Par Excellence-Custom Designs are Challenging but Really Fun”

  1. Kate Wolf Says:

    Great job! And I love seeing the progression. You all rock!

Member - American Gem Society Member - American Gem Trade Association Polygon - The Jewelers Information Highway Harmony Recycled Precious Metals Firemark Diamonds