Though the great majority of the work at Atelier Ivaan involves slavishly producing Ivaan's metal art with painstaking attention to detail, every so often, I'll be asked to make a more classic or traditional engagement ring. Sometimes it's because the ring will include a gemstone that is being passed from one generation to another. Always, when a stone carries great sentimental value, it's essential to ensure the jewel is well protected in its new setting, because if it becomes damaged, or falls out and is lost, no amount of money will replace it.
This part of being a jeweller is really rewarding. Often, I'm helping a bridegroom-to-be choose a setting for his future wife, and as I work with him to decide what is going to best suit the two of them, I learn little details about things she likes, her quirky side, the back story of the inherited gemstone, how they met, what kind of husband he hopes to be....for those few hours, I'm almost like a member of the family. I've learned to be very, very discreet, because if I happen to pass the young couple on the street, he definitely doesn't want to have to make any awkward introductions.
Choosing a setting for an inherited stone also means paying close attention to the way the stone is cut. Too low a setting means the pointed end of a diamond will be poking through the setting and touching the finger. Too high, and that ring is going to spend more time in the soap dish than on Mama's finger, once their first baby comes along.
But always, when I make a classic ring to mark an engagement or marriage, I like to ensure that there is an element that distinguishes their ring from any other. Here's a good example of a modern classic engagement ring with an inherited centre stone. Note the prongs are actually a continuation of the band, not an attachment. They're substantial, so the stone is well protected. But what sets this ring apart are the six fiery gypsy-set diamonds on the shoulders of the ring. They're not all crammed together. The "real estate" between those stones gives the ring a lot of distinction, and they enhance the centre stone, rather than competing with it. The groom thought so, too. And the bride? Well, she said yes.
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