This past August, I celebrated my 35th birthday and my 11th wedding anniversary (I’ve always said that August was the best month of the year!!) As a gift to myself, I was planning to get another tattoo. I had done so 2 years prior, and was open to the idea of expanding across my back. The problem I faced was that nothing really inspired me. I even met with a tattoo artist on a couple of occasions to discuss design, and he kept sending me back to the drawing board. When I found out the cost of my grandiose tattoo expansion, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to invest that much. Then… my husband said to me “Well, since I haven’t bought you any jewelry since our wedding day, I was thinking about getting you a ring. If you don’t want that, we can use the money for your tattoo.”
Me – “Huh?? A ring? I’ll take that!!”
We searched on Etsy for handmade rings, but didn’t find anything that suited us both. Then we found Knox Jewelers. I saw this ring – Catalina – and I was inspired!
I love vines… twisting, turning vines. We met with a jewelry designer and he said that anything we imagined, they could produce. Hmm… game on!
I started with a sketch. I wanted the vines to twist, with varying widths to show how it turned, but I also wanted the design fairly spaced out so the skin could show through. I also wanted 4 diamonds placed within the swirls to represent my 4 kiddos. Oh, and I didn’t want it to be a symmetrical pattern. A digital mock-up was made…. so far, so good.Then, the coolest part! I received regular email updates from Knox Jewelers with pictures and descriptions of the ring going through production. I have quoted their descriptions…
“Here is your designed being milled on our CNC machine. This process takes around 6 to 7 hours because the mill removes only a small amount of wax, 0.03 mm, on each pass. That’s smaller than the finest of hairs!” “The ring has been cast into metal and looks great! It’s about to undergo some significant changes once it reaches the jewelers hands. The first step will be removing the casting sprue connection and sanding off the casting skin.”“The casting skin has been removed with fine grit files and sand papers. Your ring has been given an initial polishing in preparation for starting to set your stones.”“Here your ring is shown with the side diamonds. The jeweler now must create the settings based on the cast-in-place guide holes.”“The jeweler is drilling the seats and cleaning holes where each stone will be set. It is critical that the jeweler spends extra time planning his cut before he plunges into the metal. Measure twice, cut once!”“Each diamond is set under high magnification to assure the placement is perfect. This is done to maximize both the security of the stone, and the sparkle!”“The jeweler is able to add both depth and sparkle to your ring by engraving the surfaces.The jeweler is using a graver to hand engrave the beautiful patterns on your ring. It is crucial that this graver be precisely fashioned and pristinely polished so it can produce only the cleanest and brightest cuts.”So here you can see that I added engraving to the vines. If you look at the original Catalina picture, you can see how the vines are solid. When browsing other rings, I noticed how some had tiny engraved lines. That dulled down the shininess and, to me, created a more organic look. During this whole process, there was one element that I wasn’t confident about though… if you look in the previous 3 pictures, in the 1st and 2nd you’ll notice 2 small curves coming off the same vine, one going over the other. I wavered back and forth on whether I liked them. I believe it was when I held the wax model that I had to make the decision. As I pondered “yes” or “no”… a little voice in my head said “Yes. This is what makes the design yours.”
And here is my finished beauty! I can’t tell you how much I loooooove this ring. I thank my husband all the time for getting it for me. I get so many compliments when I wear it, and I proudly say “Thanks! I designed it!” (Hee hee!!) The jeweler I worked with said that this was the most unique design that he’d worked on in a long time… and guess what?? I was even given the opportunity to name the ring for their website!! Haha!! Some possibilities I tossed around were Isis or Goddess… but ultimately I had to go with Lulu Bea. If you click on any of the pictures, it will take you to the Lulu Bea ring on the Knox Jewelers website. How cool is that?!?!?!