Our youngest son was scrolling through my phone's camera roll last week.
"Mummy" he said "there are sooo many pictures of rings on here!"
What, like that's a bad thing?!
It wasn't until I started scrolling back through them myself that I realised that the top three most commonly occurring pictures, in order, were:
Rings, flowers....and our very gorgeous Ragdoll cat, Kenji*
The kids and my husband do feature on there, but jewellery does seem to top them all (sorry Stuart). And of all the jewellery I photograph, bespoke rings seem to be my absolute favourite, for which I have a particular sweet spot.
Maybe it's because I know that once they have left the workshop I most likely won't see them again. It could also be that I love documenting the work that we create here and have a soft spot for photography.
But above all, it's because each and every piece relates to an individual and their story.
A celebration, a commemoration; a marking of an important moment in their life.
Whether it is a wedding anniversary, engagement, 21st birthday, or a way of commemorating the passing of a someone special (or 'just because you're a brilliant Mum' set of rings that we did not so long ago) we have created bespoke pieces to mark many of our client's important life events.
Here are some of these special pieces and the story behind them.
18ct yellow gold and diamond ring with octagonal, emerald cut blue sapphire
This ring was created for our client to commemorate and remember her late mother by, who sadly passed away from Covid in April 2020. Carol chose the blue sapphire as it was her Mum's birthstone (September) and diamonds for the shoulders of the ring as they are April's gemstone.
When I'm asked to take on this type of commission, I truly understand the emotion that accompanies it, along with the trust a client needs to have in me to produce something fitting that will honour their loved one, and I don't ever take that for granted.
Platinum & diamond textured ring with nibbled edges
When Jackie telephoned the workshop last summer and asked if I could help, the answer was an immediate 'Yes'.
I couldn't really think how to describe the emotion and meaning behind this ring, so I will let Jackie do it for you instead. And by the way, this is straight from Jackie, unedited, so the parts where she kindly mentions me make me feel a wee bit embarrassed, but I didn't want to fiddle about with it!
You can see the original rings in the above left image.
"I sadly lost my husband in 2020 so was left our wedding rings and my beautiful solitaire engagement ring. Wearing my rings felt strange without my husband and I couldn't bear the thought of his ring being left in a draw - it was a piece of him I wanted to carry forward.
I decided that I wanted to create something new and beautiful in it's own right out of our 3 rings - something I could wear every day always knowing in my heart what it was and what it meant without it being a sign of my widowhood.
After doing a search for bespoke jewellery designers, I came across Kate's website and was immediately taken by her photo and her amazing smile... it was clear to me that she loved her work and I looked no further. It was so the right choice!
Kate and I talked at length about what I wanted to achieve in combining the individual pieces and using all the diamonds from both my wedding band and solitaire. She understood immediately what I wanted and, more importantly, the significance the pieces had in my heart. After a couple of meetings (and quite a few tears on my part - sorry Kate!) she designed and created the most wonderful platinum diamond band that, to me, represents my journey onward.
The ring is amazing and attracts so much attention - but it's always up to me if I tell its full story. I will always have a part of my husband with me every day now but only Kate and myself know the genuinely special place it has in my heart. Incredible work, beautifully crafted.... just perfect!!!"
18ct Yellow Gold Patterned Halo Ring with multi coloured precious gemstones
Oh, what a beauty this was to work on!
All the colours (emeralds, rubies, tourmalines and diamonds) in combination with gorgeously gleaming yellow gold.
I had met Melissa a few years ago when she visited the workshop with her young daughter and husband. Since then, her family has grown and I was the one that got to make a ring to celebrate both Melissa's special birthday and her family all in one!
"Kate made me a special birthday ring and it's absolutely stunning. I've lusted after Kate's pieces for a few years now and when my husband suggested a special piece of jewellery for my 40th I knew I wanted something from Kate. We had a zoom call about what we might do - talking through my idea to use birthstones (mine, my husband's and my 2 children).
I was a bit concerned that the idea was a bit twee but Kate reassured me that she could make a beautiful piece. And my goodness, I absolutely love it - the look of it, the feel of it, everything about it. And I love the fact my family are represented in it more than I thought I would. My three year old also loves that the colours represent each of us (especially as she is the pink stones) which makes me love it even more.
I could go on but think I should stop. Just to say Kate is so talented and such a friendly and helpful person too. Thank you to you and your team"
Hand Pierced Silhouette Silver 'Pod' Pendant
Using photographs that my client (secretly) shared with me of the bamboo plants in their garden, I was able to pick out details and create this surprise silver pendant for his wife's 40th birthday last November.
I really love hand piercing (sawing) out detail into the metal. Although it is quite a slow process, you can create really small, nuanced patterning that can then be highlighted with an oxidising (blackening) solution to really bring out the contrast.
Silver & Diamond Dune Ring
Our client had inherited a ring from her Grandmother. It was a style that she didn't wear and she wanted to give the diamond that it contained a new lease of life.
After we had removed and thoroughly cleaned the stone, we set about making the textured, silver ring that you can see above. We were thrilled with the transformation! It gave this special diamond a completely new and contemporary feel once it was securely re-set in its new home.
What's not to love?
By now, I'm guessing you can see why I love bespoke so much? If you'd like to discuss the possibilities for yourself, just drop me a line at email@example.com or call the workshop on 0121 2408717.
*And see, I did say our cat was gorgeous....