Archive for August, 2010

robyn’s wedding set

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

18K white gold diamond solitaire with carved rose eternity band

18K white gold solitaire with .60 ct diamond engagement ring with rosy diamond eternity band.

I’ve finally carved a solitaire ring to match my carved bands. It’s very sleek and simple with a tapered band at the top and thicker, wider band at the bottom. This helps keep the ring balanced on the finger (keeps the stone UP and not flopping around) and I think gives a really simple design a lot of grace. It doesn’t fit flush against the carved bands like you usually see engagement ‘sets’ but I think that’s what makes it look unique and cool.

18K white gold carved solitaire with .6ct diamond

[The diamond is REALLY awesome. It’s G color and SI1 clarity with ideal cut and polish/symmetry; the SI1 inclusion is singular and unobtrusive and 99.99% of the stone is perfectly clean. A really great diamond I think.]

I will probably carve a straight banded solitaire as well but I love the look of the tapered band the best.

Here’s the pair of rings I often wear together:

18K white Tahitian pearl solitaire with wide carved mistletoe band

I began wearing it just because an 11mm wide band wasn’t really giving the impact I was looking for… And then I realized how cool the tapered band looked paired against the carved ring.

lee mcqueen’s last collection

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I’ve followed fashion peripherally; mostly I just want to seem some pretty pictures and if I’m lucky, there’s some neat jewelry too (but usually not). Lee Alexander McQueen killed himself this past February and here are some images from his last collection (which was shown after his death).

They are downright breathtaking. Like jewels.

The random but nicely symmetrical scattering of design is something I can fall to pieces over. This is what I love most about people like Renee Lalique (and there is a lot to love about the dude, my link is but one paltry example; do a google image search and be blown away).

All models had these austere head-dresses covering their hair and ears. This one has a feather mohawk (I have a complete picture of the mohawk down below) but most were just the head covering.

Pretty textures. I like the scrunchy rough texture of the gauzy translucent bunched fabric (I’m sure it has a name) and then the smooth silky weight of the outer layer (look at the veiny texture). I have an affinity for crazy contrasted with constricting. (No alliteration intended.)

O. M. G. I Love This. Are they real feathers painted gold? I would love to think they were actually gold feathers. Or even real feathers sprayed with real gold paint… From a jewelry standpoint, they have a look like gold (14K or maybe 18K) patinaed with age. You so rarely see gold patinaed but I love the look and have been experimenting with it myself.

I’m freaking out over the print of skrinkled drapey fabric over perfectly smooth silhouette. Funny that it makes even real folds and shadows incorporated into the art. (You see the wings?) This is where I start to flail over which one is really my favorite…

…because oooh oooh oooh oooh ooh! How cool is this?!?

Holy cats! Or this?!? The dress goes on to be light and foamy and fluffery through the full-length skirt.

Heavy pomegranite silk. With intricate gold embroidery. I love this. Seriously, this would take me a zillion years to make (…if I knew how to sew and embroider and all that).

Here’s that headdress I was talking about. A golden feather mohawk!

And right at the point where I get super excited about this artist—I do the same thing when I discover a great new-to-me author, and go to search out what other books have been written and enthuse over what is to come… And then I remember that the man who created this is now dead; there is no more coming. It’s a sad, depressing thing, and makes you wonder what goes on in the minds of brilliant people. I don’t often get choked up over people I didn’t know personally who have died (there are very, very many, after all). But it happens.

All images and many more (plus greater detail) from here.

jacquelyn’s pearl

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Gold South Sea pearl, diamond, 18K gold ring

You have no idea how much I stressed over drilling out this big beautiful golden pearl.

Jacquelyn contacted me with this pearl conundrum: she had a pearl that came from a necklace (so it was drilled all the way through) but wanted it for a ring. So… could I maybe set a stone or do something not weird with the hole in the top? Being me, I’m all “We should put a diamond in that hole.” So I got to work. I made the wax, adjusted it to size, got it cast, finished it out, set the diamond in the tubing, shaped and prepped the tubing to be set in the pearl, prepped the mounting for the pearl… and then I stopped and sweat for like a week.

I was terribly paranoid about chipping the surface of the pearl when I drilled it out for the diamond stud. I drill pearls all the time and I use special pearl drilling bits, but they are only small holes, like 1/2 millimeter in diameter. This was to be a 2.5mm diameter hole and as far as I know, they don’t make special pearl drill bits this size. Regular twist drills don’t work; they trash the nacre and chip it all to hell. I have tried. One could suggest that I had two chances to set the pearl: once on one side and if that didn’t work, then I could set the failed end down and have a fresh chance. Naturally, that idea sucked because I just couldn’t give back a pearl all wanged up even if the wanged-up part was set down into the ring and invisible. Also, the pearl had a couple of little dits on one end; this end needed to be set down in the ring mounting. So basically I had one chance. GAH!

I decided to treat the pearl like it was a normal setting job and used the tools I use to set diamonds. Bud burr, setting burrs, etc. The trick seemed to be that I had to drill the pearl at an extreme angle to keep it from chipping (I know this because I trashed two other practice pearls figuring it all out). Then once the nacre is opened up, you can drill straight down. It took a steady hand and a lot of patience but when I finally got my nerves together to do the real thing, it worked flawlessly.

I was never so happy to put that ring in the box and tie a little ribbon around it and send it off. Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! My god just look at how awesome it is:

Gold South Sea pearl, diamond, 18K gold ring

Gold South Sea pearl, diamond, 18K gold ring

Like a jeweled gooseberry. With a big sparkley bead of dew on it. YUM.


Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

I have some new stuff coming soon.. In the meantime, here’s a photo of a ring that I found last night while browsing the internets and which I think is about the raddest thing ever:

Kevin Coates, Yseult

God I love it. The quality of the fabric rendered in gold is awesome and I love the light patina the gold has——makes the wrap look like soft and unbleached like raw linen. The artist is Kevin Coates, and the piece is titled Yseult (Isolde of Tristan and Isolde fame). Here’s what he had to say about it,

A few years ago, I received one of those intriguing little boxes in the post which usually celebrate the remote cutting of a wedding-cake. Upon opening it, the box, bereft of nuptial crumbs, cradled instead a lonely baroque pearl, shyly featuring not one, but two, ‘nipples’. The charming accompanying note from a fellow jeweller, well-known for her wonderful work with pearls, said that she thought that I may be able to think of something to do with it. It remained fallow, but not forgotten, for some time, until the idea for this ring about Yseult (for Wagnerians: Isolde) occurred.

I bisected the orphan gem in order to liberate the two wanton nipples, and although the refractory qualities of mother-of-pearl differ from the superficial aspects of pearls themselves, I managed to find a good colour and nacre-density match from which to carve the segment of face.

The power of drapery to conceal and reveal, to reserve and to promote, is immense – here I also wanted it to stifle and restrict, to reflect Yseult’s fatal love for Tristan. That was a passion destined never to be celebrated with its wedding cake… SOURCE

I really want to start expanding my carving to include other substances rather than casting wax. Unfortunately, I fear change and much of my hesitance is due to stress over not knowing what tools to use, what to try to carve first… All dumb stuff I can probably solve in three minutes with google.

In the meantime, I’ll just continue idolizing other awesome carvers out there and dream of trying my hand someday. Soon, I think.