A Custom Ring Journey: Here Be Dragons … part 1, An Idea

Note: I typically use my own photos for my blog posts. Today, I am breaking with that rule to include two photos from the Studio Metals website (www.studiometals.com). These photos are the property of Studio Metals, and all rights are reserved to Studio Metals. They are included here as inspiration and explanation. If you have any rights in these images and object to their use, please contact me. I will remove them immediately.

I have had this post kicking around my brain for a few months. I’ve thought about it and thought about it until it feels like it is on a constant loop inside my head. It has taken me a long time to figure out how to organize it, and, even after all this thinking and debating, I’m not sure my plan is the best. But I’m going to jump in with both feet, anyhow. Otherwise, I will never get this idea out of my head.

This past October, my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. We dated for two years before we got engaged, and we were engaged for six years while we both finished graduate school. So, we have been together for 28 years, total. This is a long time, you guys! I have been with and loved this man for over half my life. Wow. Typing it out loud like that kind of boggles my mind.

Our 20th kind of snuck up on me, believe it or not. I am not a person who pays much attention to stuff like anniversaries or birthdays. I try to remember to send presents and cards to those I love. Or, at the very least, to text or message them my thoughts and love on their special days. But I am not good at keeping track of the actual passage of time. In the months leading up to our anniversary, I told my husband that, for our 20th next year, I wanted to do a special ring to celebrate it. My husband laughed at me and said, “Babe, our 20th is this year. So you better get busy designing!”

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You guys knew I had to toss in at least one wedding picture, right? I have a whole album of them, after all! My gosh, we were so young and goofy back then. Now we are older. But we’re still pretty goofy. And that’s all right. I think it helps to face life with a certain amount of goofiness.

So, gratuitous wedding picture aside, let’s get back on track: My anniversary ring. After my husband gave me the green light, I started my project where all things start. With the barest thread of an idea. I think I have mentioned before how much I love jewelry. And rings, in particular. I don’t wear a lot of pendants or necklaces. Mostly, I wear rings and earrings. So, although I have heard people talk about their “dream ring” or their “perfect ring”, I feel like I don’t really have one of those. In a way, I feel guilty about this. Like, maybe I am doing life all wrong, or something. Because it seems a lot of people feel you should wear your wedding jewelry for forever. And by “for forever”, I mean that a lot of people feel you should have one ring or one set of rings to represent your marriage. And that’s it. Over. Done. The End.

I don’t share this view. I don’t judge people who do. If someone feels they will be happy with one ring or set of rings for their entire lives, I think that is beautiful and wonderful. I just know it’s not for me. I am not the same person I was 20 years ago. Heck, I’m not the same person I was 20 days ago or even 20 minutes ago. For one thing, I am a lot older now, and I feel more confident in the things I love. I feel more confident going against the norm to create and wear something that feels perfect FOR ME. Even if it means others find it ugly or weird or annoying. My younger self would not have done this. She would have been too worried with the opinions and thoughts of those around her.

So, of course, my special anniversary ring had to start with dragons. Yep. You heard me correctly: Dragons. I love dragons. I always have. My mom always thought I would outgrow my fascination with them, particularly since they are mythical creatures. But I never have. I love the sense of strength, courage, and grace they represent. Dragons were perfect for our 20th because we had a lot of dragon imagery in our wedding. There were dragons and phoenixes woven through the material we used for the bridesmaid dresses. We had a dragon on our cake. And we had a dragon design as part of our cake topper, too. There were paper dragons as part of the centerpieces for our reception.

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As I scoured the internet for inspiration, I found an amazing, amazing jeweler: Studio Metals (www.studiometals.com). I am in love with many of their creative and unique designs. And I turned to these as inspiration for my own ring. I loved the curvy and organic quality of the above image. I still think it is one of the most beautiful dragon rings I have seen online. It is so detailed and incredibly well done. And I knew I wanted my ring to have this same type of organic and curving quality to it. I also knew I wanted it to be done in rose gold, which has become my favorite metal over the last year.

I didn’t want an exact copy of any ring already in existence. If I wanted an exact copy, I would just go to the person who created the original and see if I could purchase it. Instead, I wanted to use these images as inspiration for different elements I wanted to see in my own ring.

I hope to purchase from Studio Metals one day. But, for this ring, I knew I would go with a different jeweler: David Klass. I had worked with him on two previous projects. I felt like I had a great feeling for how his work and creative process flows. And I already knew that he and his design team “get me”. I don’t know how else to explain it, but they seem to understand just what I want, even though I have no drawing ability of my own. I can picture the finished design in my head. But I feel completely inadequate to draw it out on paper. I have to resort to sending inspiration pictures and trying to describe my vision in a LOT of words. Somehow, it seems to work out most of the time.

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This is another inspiration image I sent to David Klass. I wanted to have a solitaire design. And I knew I wanted two dragons, one on either side of the center stone. I wanted them facing the stone, with their bodies traveling organically (with lots of gorgeous curves!) down the shank of the ring. The above image served as inspiration for the solitaire style I was looking for, although I wanted my stone to be more obviously prong set, whereas this one almost looks bezeled due to the design.

I travel all over the inter webs and collect different dragon images. I pulled my favorites of these to send to David Klass as part of my inspiration folder for this project. I don’t want to post any of them in here, because they are original artworks. And most of them are not watermarked with the artist’s information. I decided to use the Studio Metal images in my post because they are clearly marked. And because I could include a link to their online store.

Once I had all my inspiration together, I sat down to draft an email that included my ideas. I wasn’t even sure David Klass would take this project. I know he has a busy shop, and I didn’t know if he would be willing to work on something as weird and crazy as my idea. It took me a day or two to draft and edit the email, to make sure my ideas were as clear as I could make them. I sent it off, and I waited.

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It sounds really simple, when I type it out like this. But the waiting was anything but simple. I was excited about my project. And hopeful the jeweler would accept it. And worried it would be too expensive. And nervous about everything in general. I was basically an anxious, nervous, excited mess! And I did not wait patiently. I checked my email like crazy. It seemed like I checked it every ten minutes. Even though I knew I was being a nut, I couldn’t stop myself.

Finally, after a couple of days, I heard back that David Klass wanted to take on my project. He gave me a quote for the work, and he said he would draw up some ideas. My 20th anniversary ring was one step closer to being a reality. And I was off and running on the excitement and fun of putting together a custom ring design.

It was a long process, you guys! But it was also so much fun. I’m going to try and break the whole process down into a few different posts, and I think I will talk about choosing my center stone next. Hopefully, this won’t be too boring, and you guys will tune in for the next post, too.

 

 

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