I never had the privilege of knowing my dear friend’s mother. She passed away a couple months before my friend and I met, but I’ve heard so many stories that it almost feels like I knew her. You know how it is - the memories and stories so vivid and familiar I can almost picture them myself. That’s why I was thrilled when my friend asked me to create a one-of-a-kind ring combining pieces of her own original wedding ring with diamonds from her mom. Even sweeter, she wanted to use some of those diamonds to create a ring for her sister as well! I was beyond touched by her decision to entrust me with this precious vision. There’s nothing better than having a friend who is a cheerleader and encourager, and believes in you 1000%. I was determined to create a set of rings with deep sentimental value that would always remind her of the connection she shared with her mom.
Read on to see how this Matriarch Memento ring came to live in the most wonderful of ways.
Every material has a story
We started off with my friend’s (and client’s) original engagement ring and wedding band. The rings were itty-bitty - size 3 and change - and didn’t fit her anymore. But they were oh so special. My client’s husband had given them to her when they were just babies… literally so young and so in love! Their love story is an entire tale in itself, but I digress. She wanted to reinterpret that original engagement ring and wedding band into something new that would fit her active, on-the-go lifestyle. But here’s the kicker: I also needed to incorporate diamonds from a ring her mother gave to her. If that wasn’t enough, we were also using some of her mother’s diamonds in a second ring for her sister. With so many elements in play, I knew I had my work cut out for me! We laid out a game plan including sketches of both rings, and it was off to the studio for me.
Building the foundation
For both of these rings, it was important to get the proper band shape. For my client’s ring, we went with a wide and softly tapered ring – in a size four and a half... she has such tiny fingers! I wanted the exterior edge to flow gently in a circular shape which would mimic the center diamond and really make it the star of the show. For her sister’s band, we opted for a minimal, clean flowing shape that would incorporate six diamonds, representing her, her husband, and their four children. (Side note: I absolutely love incorporating number symbolism into my work.) Once the shapes were set, it was on to building the settings!
To each gemstone, its own setting!
For my client’s ring, we decided to reincorporate the 18 karat yellow gold from her mother’s ring to build the settings for each of the diamonds. I began with the center setting and created a tall tapered bezel that would serve to highlight the center diamond. It was such a beauty! Then, one by one, I created little gold granules perfectly fit to the size of each additional diamond. I executed the same process on the sister’s band. With settings in place, and perfectly balanced, it was time to head on to the setting process.
To every setting, the perfect size...
The next part of the process is opening the settings. I slowly drilled an opening into each gold granule to create a hole that would perfectly fit the stone. (Think of a ball and a socket in engineering.) This takes time, persistence, and an extreme level of precision. Remember, we were working with an original engagement ring, and wedding band diamonds, and diamonds from a mother's ring. Naturally, there was a ton of variation in gemstone size. A little bit of opening here, a little bit of gold dust there, and slowly but surely these settings began to fit their diamonds as if they were made just for them… because they were!
Time for the Setting Process
The setting process is when everything finally comes together. When I initially set the stones, they always have quite a raw look. But the secret is in constantly refining with little tweaks and changes. A polish here, shaving of metal there, and the piece goes from rough to spectacular. After many rounds of polishing and detailing and polishing again, these two rings were ready for their debut!
At long last, the Matriarch Memento ring and accompanying sister band were passed on to their rightful owners. Oh, how excited I was to finally make this delivery! The diamond sparkled with a stunning brilliance and my client – she sparkled too! I love when I can reinterpret sentimental materials into something new and fabulous to be worn for years and years to come. Even better, I get to see this ring often, which is so much fun for me!
But don’t just take it from me, check out what my client and her sister had to say about their new pieces and the entire process of working with me. I'm so proud and grateful that I get to do this on a daily basis!
Sister Band: "Hi Kristen! She gave me the ring you made for me and I love it so much! I really liked how you included the process of how it came together. The gold accents are so pretty. And it fits perfectly. Thank you so much. I’ll always cherish it!" 💍 - JC
Matriarch Memento Ring: "I am completely blown away by this beauty designed and created by one of my best friends, @kristenbairdjewelry. This ring is a rich blend bursting with love that includes stones from a ring my mom gave me many moons ago, my original engagement ring Michael proposed to me with 24 years ago in his parents’ sitting room, and my wedding band given to me after the birth of our firstborn son to replace the original size 3 band that I outgrew. There’s so much love melded into one, which also includes the love and the attention to detail that Kristen put into this ring to take my absolute breath away!
Life is fickle, and so is love. Our lives are full of moments where we find ourselves in need of nurturing to then being the nurturer; needing a hand to help stand tall during difficult times to being the one that helps lift the heavy load; needing a shoulder to cry on to then being the shoulder for the other’s tears to fall upon. Love is a seesaw of needing and giving. It takes work and is unconditional. This love is embodied perfectly in this beautiful blend of metals and the grit from which these diamonds shine. Thank you, Kristen, for bringing this vision alive!" - CA
Do you have a project that you'd like to create? Possibly materials to be reinterpreted into something new? Reach out and we'll chat! I'd love to talk and help bring you a vision to life using my signature style and process!