A design in mind


26th July 2019

Lyn’s sketch of her design.

Lyn’s sketch of her design.

Some customers are quite vague about a design when they first come to me and others can be very specific about what they want to create. Lyn who has been a customer for a long time now always has a very specific design in mind.

The above sketch was accompanied by a few pages of notes and specific measurements. This ring was to be made out of old jewellery and Lyn had visions of where she wanted to place the diamonds from her existing jewellery in the new design.

The jewellery Lyn was recycling

The jewellery Lyn was recycling

Size and scale is critical in design, especially when the customer is defining specific measurements to use materials they already have.

This is also one of the hardest aspects of design for customers to grasp in my opinion. Some of the plans Lyn had in mind would not work with her existing materials as she had drawn them.


The existing diamonds were much larger than shown in the leaves and pedals of the rose. As expected with most customers, what Lyn had drawn was not to scale and not possible to create unless I supplied new diamonds to fit. In the end it was decided to drop that down the finger leaf part of the sketch.

Just getting stuck in

First draft of the rose and a design idea/sample supplied by Lyn.

First draft of the rose and a design idea/sample supplied by Lyn.

Lyn had provided quite a few photos of rose rings that she liked and we used them as starting points for our design.

I usually dive straight in and use the first mockup of the design to help find a direction to move forward. Positive and negative comments are equally as useful. The rose would be the key feature so we needed to get that shape right. It would turn out to be the hardest aspect of the design to get right.

Keeping up the momentum

Adding the band to the rose

Adding the band to the rose

Lyn and I were still not happy with the rose shape but I decided to move on with the design and work on the rose in the background. I next took Lyn’s vision for the band and added it to our yet to be finalised rose shape. Above you can see my mockup overlaying Lyn’s sketch.

Upon seeing the above photo Lyn now thought the ring band would be too “chunky”.

Back to the future

Lyn`s diamonds + a few of mine in the band shoulders.

Lyn`s diamonds + a few of mine in the band shoulders.

Lyn decided to make the band more like one of the designs she supplied for the rose shape.

When we apply existing/predefined gem sizes to a design there is no room for movement. Lyn had diamonds that would partially make up the taper in the band as shown to the right but not enough.

It was agreed for me to supply some additional diamonds to get a nice taper to the end of the band.

After the rose feature there was a second element that was a must to be included in the design and would affect the overall shape of the ring.

The second main design feature

The instructions for the engraving.

The instructions for the engraving.

Lyn wanted some Hebrew text engraved into the band. With our budget we needed to find the most effective way to add it to the ring. Often when we work smaller the cost for one off manufacturing can become more expensive.

Article: Smaller does not always mean cheaper

We were already creating a rather complicated (getting the finer shape details just right was taking a lot of time) ring and the introduction of two tone gold for the text would push us well over budget. As you will see later the ring was done in all yellow gold.

Trial and error of the text and the rose takes shape

Band and rose modified

Band and rose modified

In metal I did some trials of creating the text. From this I discovered that in order to get the text to a size that was to our budget economically viable we needed to widen the base of the ring. The size of the font would also alter the length of the sentence and how far around the band it would span.

The bottom of the band would need to be wider and the flow into the tapered diamond set shoulders would now need to change. You will also notice in the above photo that the shape of the rose has evolved. Lyn was now happy with the design.

The size draft was never more important.

The bottom of the silver draft ring.

The bottom of the silver draft ring.

With the band fully engraved with text and also partially diamond set, resizing this ring would not be possible without damaging it. I made a silver draft for Lyn to confirm both the finger size and design.

Luckily we did because the ring as measured with generic sizers would have been too small. The size a ring needs to be to fit the same finger can be greatly affected by the ring shape.

Article: Rings that cannot be resized

The finished ring

Second time is easier. I promise!

There is a lot to the story of the creation of this ring that I have left out for the sake of brevity.

Lyn has been through this process with me many times now and knows me quite well. That said I realise that for those doing a custom design with me for the first time the process can be quite daunting.

Lyn always tells me what she wants (or when she is not sure what she wants) and then listens to my advice about how close we can get to that target within her budget.

As with all my customers if we cannot achieve a result within their budget that they will love we do not make it.

After all, why would you go to the trouble of remaking a piece of jewellery you no longer desire into anything other than one you will love to wear?

Rings, RemodelDavid Taylor