My client wanted a ring that was: ‘chunky as hell. An organic looking ring. Like it has come from the sea, made by a dwarf in a cave for a viking’’.
What a glorious brief!
‘I’m mainly interested in the gold as it all has family attachments. My family doesn’t have a tree. We have a twig and I’m the last one. I have no-one to pass anything on to.’
Among the collection of jewellery she’d inherited were her Mother’s and Grandmother’s engagement rings. Together they held six diamonds.
She asked that the diamonds be kept together and specified that they be set flush to minimise the risk of them catching and being lost while she worked.
The design was to be drawn from her love of Vikings and their symbols. She gave me a few of her favourites to consider. In the end I went with the Helm of Awe.
The Helm of Awe is first written about in the 13th century. It features widely in Norse mythology both as a physical and metaphorical object. It is depicted as a warrior’s symbol of protection and invincibility, and also as a protector. If worn it is considered to shield the bearer through tougher times in life and help them gain success and strength. Even today it remains a popular and one of the best known Icelandic symbols.
As I was asked to produce ‘a chunky ring’ I decided to deconstruct the Helm of Awe forms into repeating elements around the ring.
The ring was hand carved in wax. This is where I added the symbols and the rough textures using files and ball burrs. Next the item went for casting using the client’s own gold. After a bit more texturing and finessing it was time for the diamonds. They were carefully flush-set into the front of the ring in an asymmetrical arrangement.
What a beauty
I love this chunky, strong, filled with meaning, dwarf-made ring. It was a real pleasure to create. When I take on commissions I often end up learning new things about subjects, people, objects and places that are within the story of the jewellery to be remodelled, and the intent for their renewal.
It is my feeling that the imbibed sentiment and meaning is preserved within the materials. That legacy endures even as the metal and gemstones are repurposed. A new layer of purpose and value is added to the existing story. Sometimes I find myself imagining how many other roles and forms the metal and stones had before our meeting.
Who knows. Perhaps in another life I was indeed a sea dwelling, cave dwarf goldsmith and I’ve already worked this gold in a previous time!
Are you looking to get a piece of bespoke jewellery designed for you? Although I have a bit of a waiting list – don’t hesitate to get in touch! I’ll pop you on the waiting list.