I have one particular client-friend who will tell you just how much I overthink pieces. She has listened to me, more than once, go on and on and on about how much time I put into designs, and how ridiculous all of the thought I put in before I even start sketching out what is going through my mind. Of course, once I start sketching is when the pieces all fall into place and I can see, granted in a 2D representation, how everything fits and flows together, what works and what doesn’t. I feel like a lot of jewelry out there doesn’t take every angle and every single element into consideration, which is so sad to me.

For instance, why is the basket so enclosed?

Two reasons, it’s highly polished to reflect the stone’s color back at the wearer and in a stone that isn’t cut perfectly, it helps camouflage any windowing.

I have just spent the morning and early afternoon rough sketching a design that has been plaguing me for weeks. Part of the reason it’s been plaguing me for so long is the fact that I was writing descriptions, taking photos and actually doing the legwork myself to get my collection onto the site, but also, I’ve been seriously stuck with where I wanted to go with the design. Today I finally had a bit of a breakthrough, and I finally put the pieces together. The structure of what needs to be there to hold the stones down has been holding me down, but I finally feel like I got it today. The pieces started to finally come together.

Basket detail? Not just pretty, it also provides structure and support for the halo.

So much of jewelry design is holding stones. Lately I’ve been taking note of designers who don’t use prongs. Polly Wales, for instance, just casts the stones directly into her items. It is a really cool look. Bezeling is popular too. But I feel like most people work around prongs, and don’t incorporate them into the design. I think it was in my beloved architecture book, a quote about how a design element should have at least two uses, otherwise it shouldn’t be there. I will have to go look it up. My point there is that I think and think and think about those design elements.

It’s not just a prong. It should never be considered just a prong. What ELSE can the prong be? What else does the prong WANT to be?

It wants to be a mermaid, but will settle for being part of the split shank.

And with that, I’m starting to sound like a slightly deranged philosopher. But these are the things I think of when I design a piece of jewelry. It’s not just something to be worn – it’s wearable sculpture. Each element should be practical AND beautiful. Otherwise, what is it doing there?

Ok, well, sometimes I add things that are just pretty…like that design element on the end of the stone.


5 thoughts on “Overthinking

  1. Beautiful and inspiring. As a jewelry artist as well as faceter, I just wonder why in the world with such lovely settings you would ever settle for a windowed stone?


    1. Thank you!

      I do prefer perfectly cut stones, but if one comes along with perfect color and slightly flawed cutting, I won’t turn it away! It is more of a challenge to visually reduce the appearance of it’s flaws, but I have fun along the journey. I actually designed my Aurore setting around a stone that was very flawed, and wrote about it for an upcoming blog!


  2. Interesting that you should mention designing with prongs as the most common technique and bezeling and casting the stones directly in the metal as the uncommon techniques. In northern Europe, where I live, it is the opposite that is true. Fore the last two-three years there have been almost nothing but bezeling her. Before that again it was very popular with rings where one, three or five stones where cast in the metal, or if that is not what they where doing, that is what the end result looked like. I would say that for the last ten years casting in and bezeling has been the fashion regardless of pricepoint. I’ve been looking for a nice classic ring, designed with yellow gold, coulored stones and prongs, latly, but no luck. The only design that I have found available in northern Europe white prongs is engagement rings in white gold or platinum with diamonds. So now I’m looking into vintage or maybe find a designer in central or southern Europe that can make what I want. Intresting to learn that consumer trends are not as globalized as you would think.


    1. Oh, there are vast differences in style and fashion between the USA and other countries! From what I’ve seen, Europe tends to have smaller stones, with more colored stones, and less diamonds, while Asian countries tend to want bigger, brighter and more flamboyant. Right now the trends in the USA tend to be diamond halos, pronged jewelry, white metal, and the trends I’m starting to see lean heavily into more colored golds, and pushing into more colored stones as well. Everything is delicate and dainty, with more of an antique feel, and a nod to more exotic looks for casual jewelry. I think that heavy modern pieces and bezels are quite rare at the moment. I am sure that it will all start to change soon, as nothing stays the same forever!


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