Memories in Metal

There is a custom page on my website that has some of the pieces I have made for people over the years and are there and some I do not have images for, but I do have their stories. Stories are a big deal to me… it is the narrative of our lives and  they influence me as a jeweler since it is often the story that makes a piece truly custom. When I work with clients, I will ask them  to share details of their lives in an effort for me to capture something really important or meaningful to them. For example, when I sit down with wedding band folks, I will often ask them how they met, or about the proposal and try to incorporate something of the story into their wedding bands. I like when people have something that is unique to them and when they look at their ring, it tells them a story or reminds them of something significant in their lives.  I will often tell the stories of pieces I have made for other people that are really interesting and several times I have been asked to record them somewhere because the stories are so fun.  I thought this might be a good place to share the stories that motivate me to strive for something personal and incredibly dear to someone as opposed to just a piece that fits the bill.

The Ocean House Ring:

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I had a woman come into my studio several years ago with a ring that she wanted reset. The ring was very big and sparkly and the fashion was from the 60’s-70’s with a lot of gold set with diamonds and sapphires in a sun-splash kind of way. She said the ring was inherited from her grandmother’s estate and meant a lot to her, but she didn’t like the design because it was too flashy and doesn’t wear yellow gold. We talked about un-setting all the stones (11 sapphires and 7 diamonds, all fairly smallish) and putting them into a white gold ring for her to wear.

I started to ask her about her grandmother, to gleam some idea of her personality to see if we could capture a bit of her in the ring. I could tell by the way my client talked, her grandmother had been a really special and influential person for her in her life. My client went on to tell me that her grandmother had passed about a year and a half prior and that she had been one of her most favorite people in her world. They would spend summers together playing cards on the porch of her big old ocean-front house near Damariscotta, Maine and that they were some of her happiest memories from her childhood. She told me that after the settlement of her estate, the family had decided to sell the house and she was devastated. She wished she could afford to buy the house if even just for the memories. I asked her details about the house and those summers and her grandmother and she told me wonderful stories for a while, expressing her emotions and being happy and lost in memories while she talked.

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She wanted a simple ring using all of the gemstones and set in white gold. I suggested to her that we go to the  actual house and look for a texture we could pick up so she could have it with her forever. She had never heard of an idea like this but trusted me enough to design something wonderful. We took a road trip up the coast to the house that meant so much to her. When we got there, it was amazingly beautiful with the back porch facing the ocean and the lawn stretching out to the water. It was a warm, sunny day in Maine and the green grass and blue ocean were stunning as we walked around the house with me looking for ways to impress this house into her ring. The porch where the games were played had these amazing granite steps leading up to a big old wooden porch and I realized that I could take the texture from the granite steps themselves.  I took the texture from the porch, softened it a bit so it looked like ocean ripples, cast it in white gold and set her gemstones into the band like they are playing on the ocean waves.  The effect was very interesting and beautiful with several memories layered in.

I wish I had a photo of this ring, it came out pretty cool, but my client was very private about the project due to sentiment, she wanted to keep this for herself and I respect that. Some things are too personal to share with the whole world…  She wears it every day though and was so amazed when she saw it completed. I knew she was happy since she immediately hugged me and was overjoyed with the specialness of the ring and the meaning behind it. She told me that this was a way she could keep her memories of her grandmother, that special card-playing/storytelling porch, and all the wonderful memories forever, even if the house was no longer an option to visit.

 


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