Anniversary Wedding Set

Palladium bands and Black Diamond Fragment Ring (1)

Here’s a long overdue look at an awesome set of custom rings.

Jen and her husband Shane were married for 9 years before we met to talk about their wedding rings. They had eloped years ago, and with their 10th anniversary around the corner they began to think about upgrading their wedding set. It’s a very long story… but without Jen I would have never met my husband (It’s thanks to her that he and I ended up in San Francisco at the same time years ago). As you can imagine, I was honored to have this chance to thank her with my time and art. I’m forever in her debt!

It was important to Jen and Shane that the new rings reflected their personality. Jen has an amazing eye for design and had created jewelry of her own years ago. We had fun hanging out in my studio, talking shop and gems and tools and deciding on the perfect style for their wedding set.

The engagement ring we designed was a yellow gold version of my fragment engagement ring using a stellar black rose cut diamond. To stack alongside it, we crafted a palladium Tioga Band and incorporated some of her family diamonds into the mix. Shane’s band is a Flat Diablo Band in palladium with brushed finish and comfort fit interior.

When the rings were complete, Jen and Shane whisked away to wine country to celebrate their 10th anniversary. I wish them all the love and happiness for the years ahead.

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Nick + Megan

Sometimes all you need is a subtle band to compliment your style. Meet Nick and Megan, a very dear couple who married this summer with palladium white gold bands created by yours truly. Thank you so much to the newlyweds for sharing these gorgeous photos, and mad props to their photographer Heather Jowett who capturing these dreamy pics.

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All photography courtesy of Heather Jowett

AJ + Vanessa

I know I’ve been bragging a lot about my clients lately. But can you blame me? Don’t you just love their stories?? My next incredible couple hails from my hometown of Detroit.

Vanessa and AJ are my favorite example of Detroit youth and the city I know and love. Aside from being a stellar photographer who’s painstakingly chronicled her years of life in the city, Vanessa is also a teacher and an inspiring activist. Visit her blog to see how she brings the Make it Happen mantra to life on the daily. She’s founding member of CAMP Detroit: a program that gives Detroit artists, makers, and thinkers the opportunity to create inspired objects for display at DEMF and placement back into Detroit neighborhoods, and Detroit Soup: a monthly dinner that micro-funds creative projects within the city. AJ is one of the founders of OMNICORP Detroit, a hackerspace which provides the space, tools, and community for exploration and invention.

Together they are a true tour de force of the impact an individual (or dare I say power-couple) can have on a city. Our actions and attitude can and do propel good ideas forward. Since leaving Detroit a few years ago I have been following the growth of my beloved city through this couple and their incredible actions. It’s an honor that I could give something back.

AJ came to me with a very special and personal mission in mind for his ring for Vanessa. They already had an existing, extravagant engagement ring that Vanessa could wear on special occasions.  What they needed was a very personal piece she would be comfortable wearing every day. After all, the author of this article on how to properly wrap your DSLR camera within your Chrome bag so you don’t crush it when you fall off your bike is a rough and tumble gorgeous gal who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. The solution: A shiny gold band with hand carved shape, delicate engraving, and a subtle, special sparkle from two tiny diamonds on the side. One for him, one for her.

And now here comes the part where I swoon over the photo taken by Vanessa when they finally shared their engagement with the world. As the jeweler I know these things are coming but once that ring is on, I’m always amazed at what my couples continue to do. Together. 

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Lloyd + Breigh

Working with creative couples is always a treat for me. It inspires me to push the limits of my designs, explore working with new materials (peach gold anyone?) and create truly custom pieces that leave run-of-the-mill adornments in the dust. This summer I began work on some custom wedding bands that fulfilled everything jeweler daydreams are made of.

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When Lloyd and Breigh reached out to me to craft custom wedding bands, I could not have been more excited. Breigh is the fashion forward media maven behind Minx Boutique in Asheville, NC; Lloyd, a long-time family friend whom has always impressed me with his high fashion and live performance photography. Together, they are a design savvy, active, and adventurous couple that in every-possible-way embody the clients I dream of seeing my jewelry on.
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For our cross-country design consult we discussed via email the styles, shapes, and precious metals they envisioned for their final rings. The surface they sought was right up my alley: organic, wabi-sabi facets that repeated over the full circumference of the band. Since the designs relied so heavily on a tactile pattern, I carved a handful of samples in lieu of simple sketches. We had 3 variations on the pattern in both mens and womens silhouettes. These 6 rings were then shipped from my coast to theirs for Lloyd and Breigh to select their favorites.

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The finished rings were cast in 14k peach gold, an alloy with a delightfully subtle and warm hue that looked incredible with their skin tones. And their ceremony? A gorgeous, mountainside wedding aside with fireworks and fireflies adorning the night sky. Fitting, right?

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Special thanks to Lloyd and Breigh for this amazing opportunity, to Paola Nazati Photography for the stunning photos of the couple together, and to Lloyd for photographing the sample rings!

Sam + Christine

You wouldn’t necessarily think of Craigslist as the origin of long-lasting friendship. But sometimes when you put yourself out there into the digital ether, someone great is on the other end. I, for one, couldn’t have been luckier to have met Christine.

When I learned rather abruptly that my first roommate in San Francisco was ending his lease, I braced myself for another round of apartment hunting on a super tight time frame.  I took to craigslist and created a posting that laid it all out on the table. I had few belongings, couldn’t afford much, and I had 2 cats. It was December, and room listings were slim pickings. I knew it was going to be difficult to find  Even more of a longshot: I wanted space to resume creating jewelry. The Glen Park abode was simple and cozy, but didn’t lend itself to the noise and dirt produced when fabricating. And studios in San Francisco… they aren’t cheap. I’d rented entire one-bedroom apartments in Michigan for less.

I was so fortunate that on the other end of my search was Christine. She happened across my posting, and carefully crafted the first of many eloquent letters exchanged during our friendship. She too was an artist, with an MFA from California College of the Arts. She creates complex works involving drawing, painting, collage and sculpture. [Read more about her work and upcoming shows on her website] She had an apartment just off the panhandle of Golden Gate park, with a modest studio which I could share. She loved animals, and welcomed my cats with open arms. After a few meet and greets I moved in with Christine and her charming retriever Hank on New Years day 2010.

It seems fitting to be sharing Christine and Sam’s love story with you all this New Years day, 2 years later.

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Sam had met Christine while attending a wedding in Fairfax, CA in 2008. Both were in graduate school; Sam in Virginia and Christine in California. While a transcontinental relationship would have been challenging in its own right, Sam was leaving the following day for Marseille, France, where he’d spend the entire summer studying the housing designs of Le Corbusier and sending an occasional postcard to Christine in San Francisco.  She’d see a long unrecognizable phone number pop up on her cell, every once in a while during that summer, and pick it up to talk to Sam for hours as she carried on her daily business in the city.

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Their relationship continued once Sam returned to the states. Over the course of the following year they arranged vacation visits and graduated from their respective schools, both mystified at what to do next. Despite a failing stock market, expensive degrees in fields not immune to economic failure, and enough emotional risk to make most folks throw in the towel, Sam and Christine decided to take the plunge: They wanted to live and date in the same city. Sam relocated to San Francisco in August of 2009.

Two years later, Sam approached me about creating the perfect engagement ring for Christine. The two had now been living together in San Francisco’s Mission District for nearly a year, and it was clear that the initial risk of moving cross country had more than paid off. I was honored that he would choose me to help design a ring that symbolized their love and their journey.

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As an architect, Sam has strong design sensibilities and an appreciation of craftsmanship.  He was also very interested in the history and traditions behind specific metals and gems.The design we agreed on found its equilibrium between modern and traditional. It would be crafted from Palladium, with 4 diamond accents around a center ceylon blue sapphire. The gem’s rich color would be complimented by the warm tone of the precious metal. The soft brushed finish and softly sparkling diamonds were reminiscent of the night sky.

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The couple traveled in October 2011 to Joshua Tree National Forest. One day they hiked to the top of a mountain, and sat down on a rock overlooking the desert from above. Sam pulled the ring from his pocket and slipped it onto her finger, and asked her to grow old with him. Christine said yes.
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Photos of the happy couple by Klea McKenna
And if you missed my previous posting regarding Christine’s feature on ‘In The Make’ be sure to check it out here.

Classic Solitaire

I’m so pleased to finally share the first of many top secret projects that have kept me busy these past few months. John was beginning his ring search for Carolina when a mutual friend brought us together. He was friendly and enthusiastic from the moment we met. John came to visit me during CAPSULE, where we talked about his thoughts and he got a feel for my work. We quickly began corresponding through email to hash out all the details. We learned that his design style is clean and sophisticated, and wanted a ring that reflected that. Together our goal was to find him the best quality we could that stayed true to his aesthetics.

John’s dream ring consisted of a beautiful diamond that was also conflict free. We were fortunate to find him a stunning round hearts and arrows diamond with all the certificates. We then selected a sleek 4 prong mounting that fit the style and proportions John desired. The completed ring is timeless. A classic piece of jewelry with their own personal touch.

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Now all that was left was for John to ask Carolina that very important question! The two set off on a vacation together this past October. Sailing through the Bahamas with friends left John no shortage of scenic places to choose from. With turquoise waters and remote beaches all around, every spot seemed quite beautiful, but John wanted to find a place that was perfect. He shared with me afterward the only tricky part in planning this dream proposal:

“There were of course, some logistical concerns with carrying a ring around on a sailboat for 10 days.  I became a little nervous because well, rings sink, and I found myself surrounded by ocean every day, so I bought a foam floating keychain and kept it chained around the ring at all times.  Finding a good spot to propose wasn’t difficult because each day had beautiful scenery, but finding that “right” spot took a few days of scouting while carrying the ring in my the pocket of my swim trunks.”

Finally the spot was selected, the moment came, and friends were waiting in the wings with cameras. Carolina and John were so kind to share the photos below with me, as the special moment unfolded.

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Many thanks to the happy couple for including me in their love story.

Congratulations Clay & Stephanie

Understanding the recipient is key to creating a lasting piece of jewelry. Every custom piece takes on it’s own life as it is created for the specific needs of wearer. Because of this, my favorite step of the jewelry design process has become getting to know the individual. Its a conversation that extends beyond gemstones and metal into the emotional significance behind the jewelry we’re creating. Whether it’s a gift for birthday or anniversary, commitment or bridal, I’m honored to take part in creating something so deeply personal.

During my most recent commission I already knew the couple quite well. My cousin Stephanie and her fiancee Clay were married in Downtown Asheville, NC, on May 29, 2011.

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Stephanie and Clay are both kind-hearted, fun-loving, intelligent, family oriented, and generous. Clay has a welcoming demeanor that encourages anyone to be as comfortable as if they’re family (and always have been). They laugh and love freely. Stephanie is always calm and collected. She never ceases to amaze me with her confidence and fashion sense. Contributing to the union of these incredible people is an opportunity I will continue to cherish.

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The rings were a matching pair of 14k white gold bands. Each had a hammered finish creating a soft sparkle as light hits the facets in different directions. They selected a style that suits both of their tastes and incorporated elements to suit their individual needs. He personalized by making the band larger a total of 8mm in width. Her band’s width was selected to compliment the engagement ring. She also wanted her band to sit flush against her engagement ring, whose sides were not totally flat. To achieve this we created hers through lost wax casting, in which I carved a groove to mimic the shape of the solitaire. The end result is a complete wedding suite they can wear for years to come.

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The ceremony and reception were a perfect mix of the the couple, their tastes, and their priorites. They wed during the afternoon in Pack Square Park in Downtown Asheville, and held a reception at The Venue a few blocks away. The setting was stylish, with lots of natural daylight and light decoration. Their style was effortlessly infused into the ceremony and reception, including her show-stopping blue pumps from Tops for Shoes. They were surrounded by friends and family, with the lovely city of Asheville as a backdrop.

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All photos by Ryan Leggett (www.ryanleggett.com)

Congratulations again to Clay and Stephanie, and thank you so much for the opportunity to contribute to your special day!

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I am always welcoming custom orders and design consultations for your jewelry needs. Lets work together to create something that’s uniquely you!