To the Moon and Back

Kristen Baird

Moon & Back - Design and Materials

“I love you to the moon and back!” This was the phrase one mother said to her son every night as they hung up the phone. She wore a Crescent Moon necklace he’d given her as a symbol of their phrase.

My client’s late mother-in-law was a role model for the whole family. A hard-working mother of four, she was known for wearing a full stack of silver bangles on her arm. (A woman after my own heart!) Every night, she’d call her son to check in while enjoying her gin and tonic. Even as an adult, he was a true mama’s boy and loved chatting with his mom.

When my client reached out to me with a request to make a ring for her husband to honor the memory of his mother, I was absolutely floored. It’s not every day that I get to make such a beautiful and thoughtful piece for a man! I knew I’d have my work cut out for me, but also that this project would be one to remember.

The Materials

Moon & Back - Melting

We started with a collection of several pieces of jewelry from my client’s mother-in-law, including both white and yellow gold pieces and two diamond rings. Including the accent stones, there were fourteen diamonds altogether. You better believe we were going to use all of them!

The Design

Moon & Back - Forming

The challenge with this piece was creating something masculine that would still reflect the personality of this charismatic woman. Fortunately, my client’s husband is not afraid of a little bling - I love that in a man! 

The two-toned ring features three white-gold stacking bands, reminiscent of her silver bangles. These white gold bands encircle a thick and sturdy yellow gold band, the base of the ring, which is made entirely of melted gold from his mother’s and Wife’s jewelry. The 12 accent diamonds are scattered across the band in yellow-gold bezels to symbolize the stars in the sky. The two center diamonds are held in white-gold bezels, offset and “breaking the edge” of the band. A perfect design touch! The asymmetrical “moi et toi” arrangement symbolizes the connection he’ll always share with his mom.

As a final special touch, I engraved a small crescent moon on the interior of the band. 

Creating the Ring

Moon & Back - Fabrication

With so many intricate details, I knew this was going to be one of the most work-intensive pieces I’ve built in quite some time. This ring was created 100% in the studio, including melting down the metal, pouring it, rolling it out, and sculpting it. I used a rolling mill to roll the metal from a thick ingot to a thinner band appropriate for daily wear, then a torch to form the bands into exactly the shape I wanted with a nice rolled edge that meandered like the skyline. Once I was done with the yellow gold, I went through the same process with the white gold triple-stack.

After all the bands were created, I soldered them together and added the bezels nestled into the flowing white gold waves. I installed a separate bezel for each individual stone - two large stones and twelve small ones - and then fit them into the ring like a machinist. Precise. 

Moon & Back - Setting

Next, I polished and hand-textured the ring. The white gold bands have a very clean and polished shine with my signature flowing form, while the yellow gold base had loads of matte and stippled texture contrasted by smooth and rounded edges. Whoo! As soon as I was done, I polished the ring with only moments to spare.

A Sentimental Gift

There’s truly no better feeling than knowing my work has touched someone’s heart. My client received her ring just in time to give it to him on Valentine’s Day. The scene that followed is so beautiful I just had to let her say it in her own words!

Moon & Back - Reveal

“Whew!  It took a minute to regain my composure after the big presentation….. because as suspected, so many tears were involved!  My husband is the eternal jokester, and he loves to wrap gifts in misleading boxes.  So I put the ring box into a candle box… nicely disguised, I think, and wrapped it up. He opened the package and said, “Wow, a candle, how cool!”  He even sniffed the box and said, “smells nice!” 

He sat it aside to read the card.  So I said, “maybe you should check the candle and be sure you like it.”  He opened the box, and first came to the packet with info and a cleaning cloth.  Hmmmm…. Now he’s intrigued.  Lifted out the packet, and found the ring box.  But he had the whole dang thing upside down, and missed your name on the box… so the surprise was still uncovered.  He managed to open the box without seeing “Kristen Baird”, then OH MY GOSH!!!  He was speechless looking at the ring! He got teary-eyed already, and still didn’t know the story, or what, exactly, he was holding!

So I said, “This ring is special.  I closed the ring box lid, and he saw your name. He said “Thats the lady from Savannah….”  It is, I said.  Now let me tell you a story.

So I told him the whole story… how I decided to turn his mom’s jewelry into something special for him, how you were excited to take on the project, and how we collaborated.  Then I shared all the symbolism that was woven through the design, the silver bangles representation, the “you and me” symbolism of the big diamonds, the stars, and the crescent on the inside.  He cried those big ‘ole manly crocodile tears, and of course, I was in tears the whole time.  

I said, “So now when you look down at your ring, you see ‘you and me’, which is you and your mom.”  He looked at me and said, “No babe, that’s YOU and me… and my mom would be very happy with what you’ve done.”

So thank you, thank you, a million times.  You created something very special, and it will bring love and heart smiles for eons. Wishing you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!”

I have to get a few tissues after that! I’m so incredibly happy with how this project turned out, and grateful I got to be part of this beautiful story. Thank you!

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