Let’s start with a question. What makes an engagement ring truly unique?
Is it the story it tells? Is it a design that turns heads and starts conversations? Or is it the knowledge that no one else in the world has anything quite like it?
The best thing about getting your engagement ring custom made is that ‘mundane’ doesn’t have to be part of your repertoire. In fact, why should it be? There are too many people out there who are already wearing the same thing over and over again.
I spent the last three years completing a jewellery manufacturing qualification designed to hone a range of practical bench skills. It was an excellent experience, but one thing that never sat right with me was the approach to design. Developing a bespoke engagement ring very often meant asking, “What shape would you like for your centre diamond?” – as if the stone had to be a diamond (and even that it had to be in the centre)! It felt a bit pick-and-stick, and that was never something I felt comfortable with.
So when a customer came in asking for something different, it was lovely to find out that’s exactly what he meant.
In February, Barry approached me about an engagement ring for his art teacher girlfriend, Jana. She wasn’t interested in the traditional bling and wasn’t looking to flaunt a flashy solitaire. Instead, she wanted a ring that was uniquely hers, inspired by the works of her favourite Austrian artist and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
When I saw Hundertwasser’s work, I knew things were going to get interesting.
There was so much that intrigued me. Colour and contours. Freehand shapes spiraling and circling around the canvas. Vibrant splashes. Childlike landscapes.
I loved it. Translating it into an engagement ring would be an exciting challenge.
To kick off the process, we explored a number of options based around the forms and shapes in Hundertwasser’s paintings, using organic lines and brightly coloured gemstones to capture a sense of movement and vibrancy. After much deliberation, we arrived at one final design. I was glad to see they selected my favourite one to use as a basis!
Crafted in white gold, the finished design featured a deliberately rough, asymmetric profile and seven carefully selected gemstones:
- Three deep blue Australian sapphires, for the country where they met
- An orange citrine, Jana’s birthstone
- Three yellow sapphires, a third colour to represent a soon-to-arrive addition to their little family
For that extra bit of emphasis, freehand lines (inspired by the forms in Hundertwasser’s paintings) were carved into the surface of the ring and highlighted with a glossy black layer of the platinum group metal, rhodium.
The opportunity to create something so special, and for such a lovely couple, is something I’m really grateful for. In life, I’ve always been an advocate for doing things a little differently, bucking the trends and making decisions that work for you, no matter what tradition or common opinion dictates. This ring is special to me because it captured exactly that – and is all the more interesting for it!