Entries in lapidary (2)
Back in July of last year I alerted my readers to my search for an alternative, more "user-friendly" engagement ring for everyday wear. I also penned a "Rules of Engagement" blog post which generated a lot of feedback and I enjoyed hearing everyone's take on something that is often not talked about. If you haven't read the blog post--I totally encourage you!
Well since then, I've been on the hunt for a genuine sapphire to replace the synthetic one that was in this antique cluster ring from Maejean Vintage. Sometimes when hunting for jewelry, you have to keep in mind that if the piece is not exactly "perfect" to you, there's always ways of changing out gemstones, or re-enameling a piece that has heavy enamel damage, or resetting the design to make it more appealing. You have to train your eye to envision a piece of jewelry reimagined.
Finding a sapphire was tougher than I thought! Browsing online proved tough because I knew I had to be able to see the gemstone in person to judge if it was the right color blue that I wanted. I realized the best place to find something would most likely be in Tucson at the annual gem shows. I was ready to make it one of my projects while in Tucson a few months ago. At that point I realized I was going to have to buy a stone and get it recut so it would properly fit. I kept finding sapphires I really loved the colors of but hated to think of spending so much money on a larger stone that would just need cutting down. I figured my best bet would be to buy a more affordable price per carat sapphire, and hopefully once recut, it would look better than the lower price point that it truly is/was.
That goal was sort of lofty but I knew Jean-Noel of Top Notch Faceting could turn my ordinary stone into something magical. After some Top Notch Faceting, the once dark blue sapphire opened up and now has a brighter, more brilliant shine and sparkle. The blue lightened up a bit, but still has its velvety color which is what I wanted from the very beginning. I love that the stone is not a cookie-cutter cut--it has its own unique shape and style that Jean-Noel is known for and makes the stone and now ring that much more special.
I'm so happy with how this ring came out and it is truly a testament to having patience and making sure every step of the creation process is exactly what you want. Settling for something less than what you are envisioning just because it would be quicker is not always the answer. I'm also loving the fact that this ring will become important in my jewelry wardrobe and it is from some of my favorite people in the jewelry industry--Maejean Vintage & Top Notch Faceting.
Let me know your thoughts on the ring! Would love to hear!
WANT MORE? Check out what else is in my jewel box!
If you're a collector, you know that auctions are one of the best ways of acquiring pieces. Sometimes auctions will group items in a "lot" where there are several items rather than just one. This happened to me a few times, where an item I was interested in was grouped with a few other pieces. In the past, I've won lots where I've kept the ring that caught my eye and sold the other items within the lot. In this instance, there were three rings within the lot from Skinner Auctions which I won. The main item I had my eye on was a very bold, geometric vintage ring set with two triangular amazonites and a rectangular lapis. One of the other items I figured I would sell (but ended up really liking it in person) and the last item (pictured above) I figured I would scrap for gold weight. Then of course, I saw it in person and kind of fell in love which it 1950s/60s awesomeness. What was bothering me about it most was not the design, but the main gemstone it was set with--a synthetic color-change sapphire. I thought a lapis would better suite the ring, both in terms of style and era.
Next task? Getting a gem to fit such a specific opening. Luckily Clay of Zava Mastercuts was able to help me out! He used the photo of the ring, plus my dimension measurements to custom cut a slab of lapis. You can see the progress above! Zava Mastercuts specializes in cutting gemstones by hand, each handselected and created for jewelry designers and private collectors from around the world! He has won numerous awards for his talent and has designed cuts for over 40 individual Spectrum Award winning jewelry pieces.
The next step was getting the beautiful new piece of lapis set in the ring! I had a local jeweler complete the task and once it was finished, I was completely satisfied with the outcome! Just what I had envisioned and now I can coordinate this piece with other lapis rings for a fun look. So glad to have saved this ring from being melted. I've learned it is important to take a look at pieces of jewelry and see if they need a mini-makeover before deciding to sell or melt. Worked out for this one!
Special thank you to Clay of Zava Mastercuts for the lapis.