jewelry design

A Colorful Valentine’s Day Love Story

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When I met “Tomily,” it was my first experience with a couple that is so close that they had merged their names into one for correspondence. I knew immediately that this adorable pair would stop at nothing short of stunning for a ring to commemorate their romance of ten years (and counting).

 

Pictionary: the next match.com?

Tommy and Emily first met in college after their two best friends started dating. They were introduced at a house party that Tommy was throwing where partygoers were encouraged to draw on the walls in the basement. They found themselves in a drawing competition where they took turns drawing themselves as famous duos.

homer
wilma
kermit

The jury is still out on who won… ;)

Wiser than their years

Tommy and Emily knew it was love almost immediately, but were very young when they met. After dating for three years in college, they decided to pursue their futures in different states. They spent two years apart, learning more about themselves and growing individually, before deciding to move to the same city. They fell in love all over again, the timing was right, and they knew it was truly meant to be.

Weather vs. sentiment

Tommy originally planned to propose in Ann Arbor, where he and Emily first met, but he couldn't convince her that going to Michigan in February would be a fun vacation. (Have to say I agree with Emily on that one.) They wisely chose Maui instead.

Tommy planned a 3AM trip to the top of Haleakala to witness the famous sunrise from above the clouds, as it would be the perfect moment to pop the question. Mid-vacation they made their journey up the ancient volcano and watched an amazing sunrise (along with 100 other tourists) as Tommy fingered the ring box in his pocket.

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With early morning temperatures at around 40 degrees, one by one, the other tourists headed down the mountain for warmth, but Tomily’s Michigan weather training allowed them to be the last couple standing. Suddenly, Tommy dropped to one knee and proposed with a speech he admits to having practiced more than a few times in front of a mirror. He presented Emily with a gorgeous diamond (in a temporary setting) and Emily said yes before they both burst into tears of joy!

Will the REAL ring please stand up?

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katering

Soon after returning from their romantic excursion, I received a message from Tommy asking if I would meet with him and Emily to design her dream engagement ring. In Emily’s words: “I had some anxiety because I had a vision in mind and wasn't sure how it would translate. I had admired Kate Middleton’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring, but wanted to reverse the color scheme (i.e., have a diamond center stone with a halo of blue sapphires).”

Together we explored their idea further and determined that reversing the color pattern just didn’t look as good as they had hoped it would.

A few weeks into the process, they decided to switch course and chose an all-diamond ring set in platinum.

Although the halo-style ring design was fairly straightforward, there were still many decisions to be made along the way. What size would the accent diamonds be? What would the “basket” of the setting look like? How high would the diamond be from the top of her finger? And so on.

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We played with the dimensions of the piece so that it looked perfect on Emily’s finger and put the main focus on her gorgeous 2+ carat center diamond.

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And they lived happily ever after…

Once all of the details were decided, it was time to turn this image from ink and paper to metal and gemstones. The excitement, and nervous energy, was palpable as we waited for my goldsmith to work his magic. In what seemed like forever, but was actually only a few weeks from that point, I was able to present Emily’s finished ring in all its platinum and diamond glory.

Here’s Emily again: “Gigi was so exceptionally patient, open, and helpful at every step of the process. Her ultimate goal was clearly to deliver a ring that we would be thrilled with, and we had a great time collaborating with her. The finished product was more beautiful than we ever could have imagined. I have never been so smitten with a piece of jewelry in my life.”

tomilyring
tomily

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 
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Photography by Kien Lam

Repost: Mom’s Diamond Gets a New Life!

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My mom was married back in 1963. She and my dad spent countless weekends camping, but that didn’t bode so well for her wedding ring. Within the first year of marriage, her ring somehow was lost at a campsite. (I completely think some squirrel picked up the sparkler and hauled it back to his home in a hollow tree where it still lives today, but that’s just my theory.) At any rate, mom lived the next 25 years with just her wedding band…no diamond.

Then one night in Carmel, dad surprised her with a new diamond ring for their 25th wedding anniversary. He had spent SO much time and effort researching just the right stone for the ring. To say she was surprised was an understatement. I remember her calling me on the phone, and she was so in shock she could barely speak!! Originally it was set in a traditional prong setting, but years later, she had it reset into this platinum design.

mom's diamond ring
mom's ring

Mom hasn’t worn her ring for a few years now, and it was just collecting dust in her safety deposit box. Then something wonderful happened. My brother met the woman of his dreams, his true partner and soulmate, and found himself in need of an engagement ring. Well hello, diamond! What can we do with you?!

ring sketch by atelier gigi

You may remember reading about Atelier Gigi a while back, and I knew she was the woman for the job. The first step was sending the diamond down to the GIA to have it appraised. Gigi then gathered photos of various ring designs. She wanted to find out what attributes my brother liked, and what he didn’t like. Using this information, she started sketching. She came up with a few options, but my brother and I both fell in love with this one.

With the clean, modern setting and the two half-moon diamonds on either side, it was just perfect.

I knew my sister-in-law to be would swoon! Gigi brought in some choices for the side diamonds, and I was able to help select the ideal set, as my brother doesn’t live locally. I’m impressed how we were all on the exact same page throughout this process.

A few weeks later, the ring was ready. Mom and I went up to the city to pick it up. It turned out even better than I could have imagined! Here are a couple photos Gigi took with her iPhone….

diamond ring by atelier gigi
diamond ring by atelier gigi
diamond ring by atelier gigi

Has your jaw hit the floor yet?!

Mom transported the ring up to my brother’s house, and he had to hide it for a whole week. I can envision him opening the box that week and peering into its depths; I know he could barely wait for the proposal to take place.

Fast forward a week, and my brother and his soon-to-be bride were off to Tahoe for a surprise over-nighter. I must say, she was NOT expecting to be proposed to on the gondola in Heavenly…but she said, “YES!!”

Scott + Tricia!!!

Just writing this story brings tears to my eyes. My family is extremely blessed to have Tricia and her son in our lives. I wish her, my brother and their three children a lifetime filled with love, happiness and adventure. Can’t wait for the wedding!! xoxo

Reposted from Jewelry Fashion Tips by Amy Roseveare: Mom’s Diamond Gets a New Life!

Got (Jewelry) Lemons? Make (Jewelry) Lemonade!

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Imagine this: you’re out shopping one day and you see a gorgeous blue sapphire ring that you are craving to possess. But wait! You already have a blue sapphire ring at home that you never wear. It’s not your style, but you inherited it from your Aunt Gertrude and feel like you can’t get rid of it for sentimental reasons. What’s a girl (or guy) to do? Now, close your eyes and imagine that beautiful gem surrounded by precious metal in a setting that suits you perfectly. Do you feel a warm and fuzzy feeling inside that brings a big smile to your face? I thought so…

If you have a beautiful gem, don’t let it gather dust in a drawer or safe… repurpose it! There are so many reasons to do this, and the potential to save money is just the tip of the iceberg.

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1.  You get a piece of jewelry that is custom-crafted with you in mind. All of your jewelry-related fantasies will finally come true!

2.  You get to actually like and WEAR the jewelry that was gifted to you (albeit in a different form.) This gives you the pleasure of remembering the special occasion the gem commemorates, or the person who loved you enough to pass their jewelry to you, each and every time you see your new creation.

3.  You are recycling! If possible, I use the metal from the jewelry you are repurposing. If not, I use purified and recycled metal for all of my client’s projects. So, instead of buying something new, you make use of things that have already been through the production process.

4.  Did I mention the part about saving money???

I’ve repurposed a lot of jewelry over the years, and I know a countless number of people who have kicked themselves for not doing it sooner. Typically, their hesitation stems from the following concerns, which I’ll also address below:

"I feel guilty about altering something that was gifted to me." Jewelry is meant to be worn, but everyone has their own style. Repurposing allows you to cherish your gift AND enjoy putting it on your body.

"I think the process will be incredibly expensive." Costs are directly correlated to the complexity of the project, its size/weight, and the materials you choose. A simple, sterling silver, prong-set gemstone pendant is much less expensive than a platinum, diamond encrusted tiara.

"I think the process will be incredibly time-consuming." The process can be as short as three weeks, or as long as you need to feel comfortable.

"I don’t know who to speak with about the process." (i.e., who to trust). I suggest checking out Yelp! or another review site. Does the designer have a Better Business Bureau seal of approval? How long have they been designing? Are they able to design in the style you are looking for? Most importantly, do you feel like they are listening to you and what you want? These are good questions to answer before you make your selection.

"I don’t think I deserve to have something made especially for me." I’m not a therapist, but I can speak from personal experience. Everyone deserves to feel special and people find meaning in both simple and complex expressions of art and emotion. If jewelry is your thing, don’t let the naysayers stop you from treating yourself!

Take action on your to-do list and celebrate your accomplishments with things that make you feel beautiful. It’s okay to be “selfish.” You are enjoying this life to the fullest, and make no apologies for it.

Still not sure? How about some before and after shots for inspiration...

If you are ready to get started,or need some more inspiration, contact me today to schedule your first complimentary design consultation. The holidays will be here before you know it, and now is the perfect time to start planning something special for yourself or someone you love.

Spring Clean Your Jewelry Box (or sock drawer…)

Hey you! Yes, YOU!

The one who always wears the same earrings, necklace and rings because you haven’t looked at your jewelry stash in years. Perhaps you don’t have a special place for your baubles and they are scattered to the four winds, making it difficult to see what you have. Or, heaven help you, all of your jewelry is in a tangled mess at the bottom of your sock drawer!

Well, I’m here to tell you: Do not despair!

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I’ve been encouraging clients to do this for years, and the results have been enlightening. People have found valuable objects they had forgotten all about, made money, and created stunning pieces using the gems and metal already at their disposal. Here is my simple guide for creating a jewelry oasis that you’ll look forward to visiting on a daily basis.

Step one: Take everything out and separate into four groups.

Group 1: Love it and wouldn’t change a thing.

Group 2: Love it, but needs some type of repair or cleaning to make the piece wearable again.

Group 3: Not crazy about it, but it has strong sentimental value.

Group 4: Will absolutely never wear it, and it does not have any intense emotional value.

Step two: Take action on each group.

Group 1 is easy, put those items back in your jewelry box now and remember why you bought them in the first place…

(Answer: to wear and enjoy!)

Group 2is fairly easy as well. Take those items to local jeweler with a great reputation for repair work (or, to yours truly, if we are near each other).

We always appreciate it if you make an appointment, especially if you have multiple items, and be prepared to spend a little time discussing the “care and feeding” of your jewels. Your jeweler will take photographs of the items and detailed notes of areas that show extreme wear or injury. Sometimes a quote can be obtained at that time, and other times discussions need to take place between the person taking in the repair and the jeweler who will be doing the work (if they aren’t one and the same). In a very competitive area like San Francisco, I find that prices tend to be fairly similar between jewelers, but be concerned if they are extremely low (or high). The old adage about getting what you pay for really is true in this case, and be especially careful and do your research if the piece is an antique or a family heirloom.

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Group 3 is trickier, and I’ll address that in detail in a future post.

Group 4 can be the most time-consuming, but the rewards for your effort can be both fun and extremely satisfying.

Take these items and give them the once (and twice) over. Next, write down the answers to the following questions:

  1. “What is it that I don’t like about this piece and why exactly don’t I like it?”
  2. “What parts of this piece can be repurposed into something I would like and wear?” (For example, a lovely gemstone, or a section of a fussy piece that can be turned into something new and less complex.)

Now the fun part really starts!

Make an appointment with a custom designer who is willing to work with your materials. If there is no seemingly redeeming value in an item, consider exchanging the metal for cash or store credit.  With everything else, you can enhance your wardrobe, and the environment, by turning those unwanted items into something beautiful that you will cherish for many years to come.

 
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