A Gardener's Stacking Bands

A Gardener's Stacking Bands

Ellen Gray, a gardener, contacted me about creating stacking bands, using the heirloom pendant from her husband's side of the family. She had seen the Polka Dot Band that I'd made for her friend, Stephanie, and loved it. Ellen Gray wanted something similar with the constellation pattern of tiny gemstones, flush set into the metal. She also wanted to wear her bands while she gardened.

Ellen Gray's Family Heirloom Pendant


Stephanie's Polka Dot Band

With my bespoke projects, there are many conversations about what elements my clients are drawn to. The conversation with Ellen Gray centered around gardening, comfortability and understated design. Her love of Stephanie's band, along with a botanical theme, steered our design chats pretty quickly.

I asked if she had a favorite flower or plant that might be used as a motif in one of the bands. Having grown up in SC, and now tending her garden in AR, she has always loved Yellow Jessamine. Introducing Montana Yellow Sapphires into the vine design seemed like a perfect gemstone for her project.

I suggested white gold with a few of her white diamonds and blooms of yellow sapphires, for an understated botanical band. Her heirloom pendant had a lot of tiny melee white diamonds that were used as the constellation pattern for the warm yellow gold band. She loved the idea of mixing metals for her stacking bands.

I picked Yellow Jessamine for inspiration from my neighbor's yard (with her permission, of course!)

I always create a mood board and sketch to finalize the design concept with my bespoke projects. The image below is a little small, but when I sent it as an email, my client saw it in a larger format. 

Mood Board

Detail of sketch with gemstone placement
Wax carving with gemstones mockup and engraving to share with client before casting in metal
Another detail of the heirloom pendant before stone removal

With bespoke projects, the client and I re-imagine old jewelry into a new design. At times, not all gemstones in an old family heirloom are used. Sometimes they are not in great shape, or they don't make sense to repurpose in the new design. Ellen Gray's family heirloom pendant had lots of tiny melee diamonds that we wanted to use in her bespoke stacking bands, but the garnets were not to her style.  After our design discussions, the idea of yellow sapphires really seemed like a lovely addition for her project.

Sharing the rough castings of the yellow and white gold stacking to my client before stone setting

The finished Stacking Bands

I used an actual vine in this photoshoot. The Yellow Jessamine's flowers had already finished their blooming season and I was able to use a sweet tendril in the background. 

My friend Martha, modeled these for a quick photo that I sent to Ellen Gray before shipping

I'm always collecting small objects for my jewelry photoshoots

Before finishing up Ellen Gray's Bands, I lucked upon a few porcelain treasures at an antique shop. I just love this vignette of tiny props. 

My newly acquired porcelain, Lily Bell seemed like a perfect prop to use with Ellen Gray's Bespoke Stacking Bands

I'm so grateful to have worked with Ellen Gray on her bespoke stacking bands project with a flora theme. She was a dream client, patient and trusting with my process. As a gardener, she totally appreciates the idea of transformation. I'm sure whatever she grows will be as lovely as her rings. I know she plans to dig in the dirt with these beautiful bands, but I do hope she will occasionally wear her garden gloves. It will probably be a bit of both.



Leave a comment