Years ago, when I was participating in the SCAD Alumni Atelier program in Lacoste, France, I met a lovely woman who was the official ambassador for the Lacoste campus. She would stop by my little studio each day, and we would chat about jewelry, travel, and everything under the sun.
Imagine my delight when all these years later, I received an email from a man saying he was her fiancé and that she had been dreaming of a Kristen Baird® engagement ring. Oh, and just a small detail, the wedding was only a few weeks away!
What a blast from the past! I was absolutely thrilled to help this sweet couple have the wedding day bling of their dreams. I also knew I’d have to shift into high gear if I wanted to get this piece created in time for the big day!
Sparkling Shore Inspiration
Initially, the bride had her heart set on the Sparkling Shore ring, but it soon became clear that we would need to make a few tweaks along the way. First, the couple had four lovely vintage diamonds for the accent stones. Each of them was slightly different, which is the beauty of heirloom stones. The bride loved the gently sweeping movement of the Sparkling Shore ring, but also the smoothness of the Dandelion Band. We agreed that I would alter the texture of the ring to have some of that nice smooth finish.
The biggest change: swapping out the emerald-cut aquamarine for a 1.2ct natural diamond of the same size. The bride knew she wanted the romance and magic of a natural stone, and I was on board for that. The only question was where I’d find such a coveted gemstone. Fortunately, I just so happened to be heading to the Atlanta Jewelry Show that very same weekend!
The hunt for the perfect diamond was on…
Quest for the Perfect Diamond
The Atlanta Jewelry Show brings together the region’s top jewelers, vendors, and craftspeople. I was very fortunate to be able to attend this year and I was in gemstone heaven walking from booth to booth and discovering all the beautiful sparkles! But I had my eye out for one specific diamond.
I happened across a booth that had many beautiful natural diamonds, but nothing in the specific shape and cut that I was looking for. When the vendor asked me to describe what I needed, his eyes lit up. He had that exact stone… it just happened to be in another part of town! Fortunately, he was able to get an assistant to bring the gem to me. After verifying that it was the perfect stone for this ring, and confirming with the client, I was ready to build this ring!
Crafting the Ring
To build this one-of-a-kind 14K gold ring, I first started with the silver model. I began by melting the metal to form the sweeping band and incorporating the bezel settings. Each of the vintage diamonds was a slightly different size, which actually worked perfectly with the asymmetrical, flowing band. I zapped the settings into place with my laser welder to make sure everything was nice and even, then I soldered the pieces together. The resulting model had a clean and gentle wave, with a smooth and delicate back, just like the Dandelion band.
When the casting came in, I fit and tailored each setting and followed with a pre-polish before doing the actual setting process. Then I used the ultrasonic to clean the piece before carefully setting all the stones, finishing off with that very special diamond. Last but not least, it was time to buff and polish, once more!
A Wedding Day Surprise
Because the ring was being built so close to their wedding day, the bride did not expect to have her ring ready for the big day. Nor did she expect her groom to have a ring yet. However, at the last minute, we decided to add a men’s wedding band into the mix, the Delta Ring with matte patina. I also finished the bride’s ring just in time for the groom to give her one final surprise.
While they were standing at the altar, and it was time to put the rings on their fingers, he revealed her one-of-a-kind Diamond Shoreline engagement ring! Thank goodness it fit perfectly!
Those smiles truly say it all. Congratulations, lovebirds!