I’ve been lucky to have had a great commission for the first weeks of the lockdown - remodelling a silver lapis ring and creating a companion ring as well.
Produce a wide, distressed silver ring, with an 18ct gold bezel and some granulation detail in gold
Both the lapis and the silver of the original ring had special meaning for my client, so we spent a considerable amount of time brainstorming how to make them shine and how to allude to their origin through the design. The lockdown had a big role to play as it forced us to do everything virtually, via mock-ups and sketches. A fair amount of cardboard and blu tack were employed in the process, as the closure of Hatton Garden at the time meant I could not risk my limited supplies of metal. Here is a potted history of the project.
The first step was to dismantle the existing ring, melt the shank and reshape the silver into 4mm rectangular wire.
I then created a plain ring from this wire, and a narrower companion ring of the same thickness. This was the first check-point with my client: test different textures and profiles.
The first version of both rings - raw hammered finish
Texture tests on scrap silver
We decided on the same rounded profile, but contrasting finishes. Then it was time to design the bezel setting of the lapis ring. The existing stone was a large oval, horizontally placed. This was our starting point, but we wanted to add some gold granules so I made a few mock-ups to show different configurations. In the end, we took a significant departure, opting for a vertical placement of the gemstone. This changed everything visually and technically, for the placement of the gold granules.
Chosen textures and rounded profiles
Bezel test 1 - horizontal placement, pronounced base lip to take 3 granules each side
Bezel test 2 - horizontal placement, no base lip, one large granule each side
Chosen bezel setting - vertical, no base lip, in 18ct gold
Once the basic structure was there, we brainstormed and tested different granulation configurations, using silver and blu tack for mock-ups. I use granulation regularly, as it forms the style of my ORB collection. But my style is irregular and asymmetrical. This ring, alluding to antiquity, dictated a more traditional and symmetrical placement. After tests, we decided on a triangular granulation shape each side of the gestone, with equally sized spheres.
The finished ring - the gold brings out the intense blue colour and the embedded gold flecks of the lapis
Lapis + companion ring
The companion ring had to fit under the bezel, so a bit of engineering was required too.. A great project throughout. I loved every moment, from design to implementation, with all the problem solving along the way. If you have an unloved piece of jewellery languishing in your drawers, give me a shout. I enjoy these creative challenges!