This piece is titled, "The RIng'. Quite simple and absolutely non-expalnatory.
It would seem that for a lot of people, "THE RING" is, the ring with which two lives are promised to become as one.The engagement ring which most girls dream of that marks the day when their lives change forever and which most men see as a benchmark for their manhood. How many pictures did we see of Diana's ring, now Kate Middelton's ring- most prominent in every engagement picture. The first question asked when a couple become engaged- "Where's the ring?"
I have never designed or made an engagement ring.I objected to them on principle, the principle being, why girls wear engagement rings and guys don't,or why is a girl a "Miss" or a "Mrs" and men just "Mr" forever and ever? But I was told this guy needed a diamond, and when I got him the diamond, then had a job to make him the ring.Just like that.
But I already had a sense of him ( I didn't know her) and had seen how much he cared about what this ring would mean to her. We had so many conversations just to get through the process of selecting and buying the stone. He wanted it to be EXACTLY what she wanted. Budget was a factor, but really, really, truly...what worried him and worried him and had him calling me, was whether SHE would like the stone. If it was going to be what she wanted.
I was involved. I was involved because now I was partly responsible for her getting THE RING that she dreamt of, the stone that she had imagined a hundred times on her finger. It was a great part of my responsibility- to find him the stone and make the ring she wanted...that he was describing to me; that he was pretty sure she wanted, but not positively sure. There was some murkiness.What was not murky- was how much he cared.
He cared so much...I started to view the whole process and the end of my part in the story of "The Ring" differently too.
When I knew he wanted a stone , I had three sent to me, that were my preferred cuts sent out. All were just under 2 carats, to fit into his budget and all had a squared or slightly squared cut, since I don't like brilliants- they are just not interesting to me in a large stone.The three stones came"on memo" which meant he had to make up his mind and then the other 2 were going back. I only needed ONE stone and if I kept them too long, I was going to have a HUGE bill to pay!He couldn't make it the first day, he came the second and spent a good hour looking the three over. He said he would give me his decision the next day. The next day passed and he didn't call. I called him in the evening. "I have to send the stones back if yo haven't chosen something." "Can't you keep them longer?"
"No.I can't. That's not how these guys work. They brought these stones in just for me. These are small stones for them and not the merchandise they would usually carry. They are MAJOR diamond dealers and this was a "favor". They have to go back tomorrow."
"I can't decide. I think that she will like the more elongated stone better. I'm pretty sure. But the other stone is brighter.I wanted to talk to her sister again. they'r e really close and she says that she definitely wants a round stone. You don't like round stones. "
"It's not my ring. It's your ring, or 'her' ring, but "no", I don't like round stones. But you need to decide. This industry is based on reputation. I have an impeccable reputation as do these guys, and when we make a deal, that's the deal. The stones have to go back if you don't want one of them."
In the mean time, I was on the phone twice a day with the diamond dealers as the pressure mounted and the deadline approached with no resolution in sight. They too had to return the stones to whom had sent them onto them, since they didn't typically carry this type of merchandise ( as a point of reference ...they sold one of the biggest diamonds in the world last summer. These under 2 carat stones were chump change to them) It was Thursday, and I called my guys and said " Look. I'm pretty sure he's going to take the cushion cut 1.7 stone. Pretty sure but not positive. Can I please keep it until Monday and send the rest back today?"
"Okay. Deal. Let's do it."
Monday came and he called." I've decided that I do want the cushion cut, 1.7 carat stone. Her sister says she wants a brilliant cut, but I'm going to go for it. You gave me a really good price, and I'm going to go for it."
"Thank god!!! I think that you made the right choice, I hoped that you would, and I kept it here. Congratulations! You are the proud new owner of a stunning diamond!"
When he came to pick it up...I thought that was it. He had never said anything about me designing the ring, or that he even needed the ring soon. I had assumed that he was going to keep it for a while and get engaged ...I don't know...next year? So I was really surprised when he asked me, "How long would the ring take to make? I want to give it to her by the end of the month."
"Wel...I can't turn a ring like this around in a week, or even two. We would need to still buy the smaller stones, the smaller stones need another setter, the engraving...I need a month."
"Yes. I'm not going to promise you less and then you won't be happy. I need a month."
"O.k" I'm going to send you some ideas of what I want, or what 'she wants'. I have to talk to her sister too,"
I was a little ambivalent then. I don't usually have ANY constraints. Most of my clients want me to design what I come up with freely for them. I don't like to follow another design, just as I wouldn't like someone to use mine without using "me". but this was an engagement ring, and almost more hers/ theirs than mine in many ways.They had been thinking about this a lot longer than I had!
Many more conversations and phone calls ensued. the image of the closest design he thought she wanted , which we tweaked.and then I suggested," You know my work is not minimalist, nor usually about the stones. My work is usually about the story in the metal work, so, after getting to know you a bit through this process, may I suggest adding some details in the shank that represent"your" story, since that's the only place we can fit it."
"Well, the honeycomb, and the bee, represent fidelity.The heart is of course "love". What if I made the bottom of the shank a honeycomb pattern with a small bee as your promise to be true to her and a heart on the outside of the shank to show her your promise of love and devotion?"
"I love it!That's a great idea.I love symbolism. But I really want the ring in rose gold."
"Yes. The body of the ring will be rose gold but the diamonds will be set in white and the details will be in white. "
"Hmmm..No. I want all of the ring rose gold. Just the details for the symbolism in white."
"It's your ring. We'll do it as you like."
I then had to get the ring and the stones to my goldsmith, who is extraordinarily precise.I can be more flexible.
He looked over the project and said,"You know, it's going to 'kill' these stones, and they're beautiful, to set them in rose gold."
"I know. But that's what he wants. Let me talk to him again and repeat what you said. He might be more convinced if both of us are telling him the same thing."
"And this detail that you want of the honeycomb and the bee...do you understand just how small I have to make these to fit on the width of this narrow shank?"
"But you can and you will. I know you. When you're challenged , you will find a way."
Well, when I got back to my 'romeo', he wasn't totally convinced in his heart about the combined metals, but he went with my directions and gave the go ahead for the stones AND details to be set with white gold against the rose/pink, gold.
We needed a size.He lived in Arizona and she was living in San Diego, so again, the sister was called in for 'tech support'.
"I got a call a week later. "Size 5 1/2. " Are you sure?" That's VERY tiny.Is she super tiny?"
"She's very small. Yes."
The order was sent in and that was an important number, because all of the ring had to be scaled to that diameter.The ring was underway.
I got a call from him a week later. "You were right. The ring's going to be too small.Can we change the size? It needs to be a 6 1/2."
Panic! Call to my goldsmith and "whew" under the wire but we were not in a mess.
After that I got a few calls to check on it's progress but it was out of my hands.and then, four days ago, I got the images as the ring was shipped to me.So beautiful. The details of the honeycomb, were miniature...and perfect.this tiny little bee was executed perfectly, as were the honeycomb and the heart. SOOO perfect.and the diamond was big, but as I had told him, was going to look twice as big surrounded by the other stones. It was stunning.I couldn't imagine that both he, and she weren't going to be thrilled.
He came and picked up his ring tonight, and she will have it on her hand on Saturday.I told him when he came. "You know, this has been a really special project for me...and that had a lot to do with you. This is the first engagement ring I've done, and you did it right. You are giving it to her for the right reasons, you thought it through, all of it was important to you, but what was MOST touching, was how important it was to you, that it be everything that she wanted.How much you worried and worried, that it was going to be exactly what SHE wanted. It was really, really sweet of you."
There were so many friends that knew about 'the ring' and wanted to know bits and parts of the story, and it was actually surprising to me, just how involved everyone was by it. I said to someone yesterday, how surprised I was, that so many people were curious about this engagement ring. "Of course they would be. It's very emotional."
And that's the capstone. Not just ,"The Ring"....this should be titled , "The Story of Heart". this story is about her heart, his heart..... and how they are starting a new chapter that so many can relate to.
Congratulations are in order!
Break out the champagne!