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White Gold Mayan Temple Memoriam Ring

Men's Mayan Temple Band

I spent my early twenties as an archaeologist digging up everything from hunting knives and pottery to the remnants of housing structures. After that, I moved on to a corporate job that was cushy but not fulfilling. After seven years, I left my cushy corporate job to devote my life to creating and learning about jewelry. Last month, a project came in to Custom jewelry that reminded me why I took that leap of faith.

Mayan Temple RingA gentleman came in and asked us to re-purpose a ring that had been significant in his life into a white gold band he could wear as a daily reminder of his past. His main request: let the band look like a Mayan temple. From my anthropological schooling, I knew that while much about the Mayan religion is still unknown, at its core, the Mayans believed that our existence was comprised of rotating cycles of creation and destruction that infinitely loop across time. A beautiful concept, and a heavy significance for a ring.

During my archaeological tenure, I saw firsthand the important roles objects play in our daily lives. Knives to hunt and chop with. Pottery to store and cook. Housing to shelter us and keep the fire going. Even in our most primitive states, our lives were filled with practical objects made for practical reasons. When I dug up my first small pile of necklace beads, I pondered their utter impracticality. They didn’t provide food, warmth, or shelter, and they weren’t created to protect us from the elements. They were absolutely insignificant in a practical world. Yet we still made them, wore them, and passed them down from generation to generation.

It was in that moment I realized how deeply significant adornments are. While they may serve little practical purpose in our daily lives, each piece can be incredibly meaningful and very personal, helping to create our individual human narratives. Jewelry reminds us where we come from, who we are, and who we want to be. We share it to profess our love or commemorate life-changing events. And the most significant pieces we pass down between generations or wear daily to remind us who we are and, in a lot of cases, who we’ve loved.

White gold mayan temple bandA jeweler is really a scribe of the human condition. A purveyor of impractical artifacts that become precious and meaningful only by the significance we place on them. Metallurgy, like the Mayan religion, is an infinite cycle of destruction and creation, using fire to change someone’s past into their present. And with each new piece a jeweler casts we potentially create a new piece of the human narrative.

White gold mayan temple bandAs with this white gold Mayan temple ring, I too had to de-construct my past in order to move into my future. The ring’s owner sacrificed an important artifact in order create something for his present, and in doing so, married his two identities. And one day, his new ring may be passed down to a future generation to be re-purposed again, continuing the cycle of destruction and creation that moves our lives along through time.

 

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Hot off the Bench: Skull Engagement Ring

Skull-three-stone-engagement-ring

Skull-engagement-ringHappy Halloween, Everyone! I can’t imagine a better way to say goodbye to October than with this awesome skull engagement ring. A few weeks ago Custom Jewelry was asked to create the most perfect October engagement ring ever, and I’m thrilled that we were able to complete it before the month’s end. Our customer wanted white gold, diamonds, and skulls. Skulls aren’t a request we get everyday, so we took notice. The symbol was special to him and his soon to be bride, and he wanted us to incorporate it into the ring in a subtle way. Never ones to shy away from the unique or interesting, we got to work, and I have to say I’m thrilled with the results.

Skull-three-stone-engagement-ringThis ring features 3 diamonds, two from heirloom family rings, and a third, new one picked by the groom for his bride. To ensure the ring didn’t look too traditional, the diamonds were set as an organic cluster, rather than in a traditional three stone line. The diamonds were then accented with two realistic, but tiny skulls peeking out from underneath them. Deciding the stones and skulls speak for themselves, the ring was finished with a simple white gold euro-style shank to balance out the ring’s top weight. I have to admit, I’m in love with this ring, and haven’t been able to get enough of the teeny, tiny skulls. Custom Jewelry was thrilled to be a part of a ring so original, so outrageous, and so truly gorgeous on the hand.

Skull-three-stone-engagement-ring

 

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Hot off the Bench: Past Meets the Present with a Coat of Arms Wedding Band

Men's-lion-family-crest-wedding-band

Part of what I love about working at Custom Jewelry is getting to merge the past with the present. In a custom jewelry and repair shop, this can happen in many different ways. Sometimes a client will bring in an old worn out ring and want to restore it to it’s former glory. Other times, a person will bring in old earrings that have sentimental value, but they never wear. So we make them into cuff links or rings or another accessory they love. And then there are times like this ring, where we create a completely new piece of jewelry, but get to tie it into the past.

Men's-lion-family-crest-wedding-bandOur client needed a wedding band. He didn’t want a traditional, plain men’s wedding band though. He figured that if he was going to wear a ring for the rest of his life, he wanted it to remind him about where he was from. So, he came to us with the concept of incorporating his family’s coat of arms into the band. He brought us pictures of family crests and the coat of arms that had been passed down to him, and Lee started to work his magic. He designed a simple band that would fit a truncated version of the arms. Once created, the ring and the picture of the arms were handed over to our wonderful engraver, and he started to weave his magic. When the ring came back it got a coat of rhodium plating, was shined up, and then presented to it’s owner. The white gold and lions rampart really give it an antique feel, and bring a little bit of one family’s history to the present for it’s next generation.

Men's-lion-family-crest-wedding-bandMen's wedding band 4           Men's-lion-family-crest-wedding-band

So how do you stay connected to the past in your family? Do you have a special family heirloom that has been passed down over the generations? Let us know in the comments.

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Hot off the Bench: Diamond Infinity Engagement Ring

Infinity Engagement Ring

When DeBeers came up with the slogan, A Diamond is Forever, I’m fairly certain they didn’t factor the style and panache of Custom Jewelry into their equation, but man o’ man they should have. Recently, one of our customers came in with the concept of forever, diamonds, and the infinity symbol. The result of his concept is this beautiful two stone infinity, diamond and white gold engagement ring that should totally be in an ad of some sort. Wowza!

I loved this project, as it was a bit tricky and it took Lee’s skill to finesse this ring into its beautiful final state. You see, our customer came in with two sentimental vintage stones he wanted to re-purpose into the new engagement ring. This happens a lot, but generally it happens with different types of stones — like sapphires and a diamond — not two diamonds. It may seem simple, but diamonds are tricky. Because each one is so unique in color, cut, and clarity, when you are working with more than a single diamond, you need to match them up in a way where one’s beauty doesn’t detract from the other diamond. Meaning, one diamond could outshine the other if you don’t carefully plan the design of the ring. So, if you are trying to create balance in a ring, as we were trying to do with our infinity symbol, then this get’s very tricky, very quickly, as there is the potential that one diamond’s beauty will make the ring “off-kilter.”

In order to ensure this didn’t happen, these diamonds were set in a joined bezel style setting, both conveying the infinity symbol requested of the design and bringing some symmetry to the diamonds. Then weight was added to the smaller diamond via a beautiful ribbon detailing that draws the eye closer to it, ensuring balance between the stones. In the end, we have a ring that conveys the ever-present love the customer requested, and the diamonds were cleverly combined in a way that was both eye catching and brought out the best in each one. Now, the bride-to-be has a fantastic and meaningful engagement ring that is completely unique to her, and two wonderful diamonds that will last her forever.

 

Infinity Symbol Engagement Ring    White Gold Infinity Engagement Ring