Friday, November 25, 2011

My Custom Design Experience by Taylor Campbell

I had a custom ring designed for my birthday this year at Spectrum Art & Jewelry. It is something I have been intending to do for years but just hadn't gotten around to it. I am so glad that I finally did, I LOVE my ring! Here is the story of my long road to custom design.

This story starts when I was 5 or 6 years old (did I mention it was a long road?). My parents were vacationing on St. Maarten (St. Martin if you're on the French side). A friend who was with them worked in a jewelry store at the time and knew where to get beautiful gemstones and jewelry on the island at great prices. So they set off in search of the perfect gift. My mother wanted to bring back something nice for me (I hope out of guilt for leaving me home this trip). She decided against buying me jewelry because I was so young. Instead she picked out two gemstones, both my birthstone, Blue Topaz. She bought them with the intention of getting them set for my birthday when I was older.

So for almost 20 years they have been sitting in a box, waiting for me to grow up and turn them into a beautiful piece of jewelry. There were a few times that I took them out, thought about what I wanted and talked about doing something with them. But being young, easily distracted by "shiny new things" and enticed by immediate gratification, there seemed to be so many other things I really "needed." So time and time again I forgot about my gemstones and they remained tucked away.

After I started working at Spectrum Art & Jewelry last February I began thinking about my gemstones again. I grew more and more excited about all of the possibilities! I decided to wait until December to do a custom design. With my birthday and Christmas 10 days apart it seemed like an opportune time to ask for something special from my family. It also gave me almost a year to decide exactly what I wanted (honestly, the wait was not as easy as I thought it would be). When November rolled around, after 9 months of pondering I had made up my mind.

Blue is my favorite color, it always has been, so I really lucked out with my birthstone. The two stones my mother bought me had distinct differences. One was a standard size London Blue Topaz, which is a darker shade of blue. The other was a much lighter hue, an irregular size and had a completely different cut. Both were oval. Out of the two stones I chose the London Blue Topaz. So my first step was done: beautiful gemstone, check!
(My London Blue Topaz pictured below)

My next step: what in the world do I want the ring to look like?! I knew I wanted yellow gold but that is all I knew at first.

Some background information may help you understand my decision making... I grew up in Wilmington and my love for the ocean, beaches and boats runs deep. As my mom puts it, "salt water runs my veins." As a result I love everything nautical. I also love simple, classic and elegant jewelry designs. I kept my eye out for designs at Spectrum and I fell in love with The Golden Eye's rope stack ring. It fit my personality perfectly! It all clicked and I knew exactly what I wanted.

Spectrum Art & Jewelry designer Susan Drake sat down and talked to me about my options. I wanted the stone to be bezel set. Prongs are beautiful too, but just not my style. My stone was a standard size so we were able to order a gold bezel to match the band instead of hand fabricating one (which can also be done). We wrote down the specifications for my ring and handed them over to Scott so he could work his magic!

The custom design experience was a fun process. I'm finally at an age where I know what I want and what I like, I have very decided taste, which made my decisions easier to make. Spending the majority of the last year around talented and creative people who have extensive knowledge of jewelry design really helped too. But above all the fact that I love and trust our design team made it easy for me to hand over my beloved Blue Topaz that holds such great sentimental value to me. I knew I was in the best hands.

And the result, after 18 long years? The perfect ring for me!

The only problem? I am hooked on custom design!


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