Choosing a Jewelry Designer

Well I’ve talked a lot about my own design philosophy as well as my style and over here on my Atelier page, I talk a bit about my design process.

But what I haven’t really talked about is how important it is to really make sure that the designer you’ve chosen, or are considering working with can really accomplish your wants and desires. The first question you ask yourself should be, “Do I like what this designer does with the pieces I’ve seen?” And the second question is, “How much control do I want over the process?”


I will be the first person to tell you that if you want something ornate, covered in engraving and milgrain, diamond crusted, or antique style, I am not the person you want as your designer, and there are many other designers out there that will be better suited to your desired style. I’m not going to be the best to give clean lines and modern edge either!


Now, one key thing here, is that the designer you have approached with your project could potentially say something like “I just don’t think that I can accomplish what you’re seeking” or something similar to that, which isn’t an insult, I promise. We really want you to be happy with the end product, and feel as though someone else can better create it! Typically a designer can tell within an email or two that it’s a project and a client that they can work with, and feel as though their aesthetic meshes well with what you want.


There are some designers who like to have free rein, and don’t like to have people hovering over them to tell them precisely which angle they want for this or that part of the item. There are also designers who like to have a broad inspiration idea when walking into a project, and they can help finesse and fill in the blanks. There are other designers that are given one element and told to build the rest of the ring around that element. Some designers can do all of those things, they just prefer to have one type of project over another.


I do not recommend going to a designer and asking them to work outside their element. They might agree to it, and they might consider it a challenge, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the best result for your money.  If you find a designer whose work you love, and you work well together with both personality and aesthetics, stick with them, by all means! Everyone appreciates a return client!


I have some deadlines I want to get out there and publish before it gets too late!
November 15: If I don’t have a custom design already in the works by this date, it will not be ready in time for the holidays.
December 1: Last day to place an order for stock Elle Collection items
December 18th: Last day to order ready made items for guaranteed by Christmas delivery. I am not going to take any chances here! I’ve had so many items that were “guaranteed by Christmas” and have them arrive the day after, and I do not want to participate in any of that kind of disappointment!

I should have some new items cropping up very shortly, a couple ring settings and a band. I’m incredibly excited about them and cannot wait to share them!

Color Shift Sapphire Harry Winston Inspired Halo

A while back, I had a friend ask me for help finding a blue sapphire ring as a wedding gift for her from a family member. She didn’t have any working knowledge of gemstones so she recruited my guidance. Unfortunately, after we had already gotten started, her family member changed gears and ended up getting her something completely different. But my friend decided that she still wanted a blue sapphire ring, just on a reduced budget from what we were originally looking for.

So we set out looking for a larger blue sapphire to be set into a halo setting. She scoured ebay and ended up finding a used Harry Winston Belle – inspired setting that was already in her size. The setting had been well loved, and would require new prongs, but was an excellent find for the price.


It was at this point where we realized that a color-shifting sapphire I had at the time would fit very well into this setting with minor modifications, essentially rebuilding and thickening of the prongs that already needed to be retipped. That was that.


This sapphire is 2.35ct and 7.9mm, and is unheated Umba material.  The setting is a size 5.75.

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Color shift sapphires and spinels typically shift to purple under fluorescent lighting, and because fluorescent bulbs are weaker, cameras cannot process pictures as clearly, which is why the purple picture is so blurry. So color shift stones pose a particularly difficult challenge when trying to photograph them accurately and make the picture look good. If I still had this ring in my possession, I’d try to retake this photo, but I took it in a rush before shipping it out to her!

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Look at the polish on this stone! It was cut into a round brilliant by Gene Flanigan of Precision Gem.

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I really enjoy doing this type of project and finding exactly what a person wants and making it happen within their budget, especially when it means treasure hunting instead of designing, as it’s a nice change of pace. This was an extra special project for me because it was for a friend that had been lusting after something for so long, and the gem came from my personal collection.