One of my favourite bespoke engagement ring commissions happened like this.
I was watching a casual cricket game at Centennial Park and a friend came up and asked me to design an engagement ring for his girlfriend. The requirements were pretty flexible: It should be in white gold, the stone should be green… oh and “can you put a fish on it?”
Now, here’s something you may not know about me.
FISH. FREAK. ME. OUT.
I’m the kind of person who will proclaim my love of sushi and then spend the whole meal chomping down on chicken teriyaki and picking egg rolls off the train.
When I was a child, a little boy, about my age, came over and gifted me one of his prawns at a barbeque. I cried. He got in trouble.
Yes, it’s been a long running phobia. Sea creatures and I don’t get along. So I wasn’t prepared for a request to stick a fish on one of my designs.
The engagement ring design process
Not one for literal interpretations, I must admit I felt pretty stuck. How was I supposed to turn something that made me want to run away screaming into a design that could be treasured forever?
It wasn’t enough just to stick a fish reference somewhere on the ring. It needed to be a prominent, integrated element of the design, but at the same time a subtle secret feature that could be shown off if desired.
I tried Googling fish images, but every other photo I looked at made me cringe.
So yes, there was a lot of scribbling, pondering and head scratching. But when the design finally hit paper, I knew that was the one for sure.
The making of The Fish Ring
The making process started with the search for the perfect green stone. We explored a range of gems: pear shapes in vivid bottle greens, rounds in pale mint tones and princess cuts in blue-green shades.
All were beautiful, but the one that stood out was a 7mm cushion shaped tourmaline. It was a beautiful vivid forest green, laser cut on the bottom to create ripples of light throughout the stone. The lower half tapered to a wedge instead of a point, which made it pretty damn well perfect for this design!
Also included was a tiny single diamond, about 1.3mm in size. It would be hidden during normal wear, but was strategically placed to become a very important focus of the ring.
And finally, the finished engagement ring
Can you see the fish?
Thinking about your very own special piece?
I am a big fan of what I call “rule-breaking, story-making jewellery“. What does this mean? Well, first of all, it isn’t about flaunting a flashy diamond or choosing something generic out of a chain store window.
Creating a rule-breaking, story-making piece is about exploring what makes you “you”, and using that to design something so personalised, it couldn’t have been made for anyone else.