Home > News > Unique Engagement Rings – How do we make a Celtic-Inspired Puzzle Ring with a Custom Shadow Band?

Unique Engagement Rings – How do we make a Celtic-Inspired Puzzle Ring with a Custom Shadow Band?

November 11th, 2012

Thanks to Jamie from Minneapolis for writing to ask, “How do you make one of these bridal sets with a puzzle ring and a matching wedding band?”

It’s a great question about a fun creative process.  I’ll walk you through the steps we took with a recent bridal set ordered by a client in Canada.

Chris knew his beloved wanted Tanzanite, a gemstone with strong trichoism: that is, the color varies with the angle of viewing, and it tends to vary from blue to purple to sometimes even burgundy.  That is, in large size Tanzanites.  Smaller ones tend to be light blue to lavender, with flashes of other colors.  Chris settled on a 0.58CT princess-cut tanzanite.

Princess-cut Tanzanite gemstone

Princess-cut Tanzanite gemstone with color typical of sizes under a few carats

He decided to have the stone set in a Guinevere style, Celtic-knotwork-inspired, puzzle engagement ring.  And, because he planned to have a shadow band made to go with the puzzle ring, he opted for an open puzzle ring weave. This means that the center loops (at the north and south points of the stone) are open to the point that you see air between the loops and the stone setting.

The next step was for us to order the stone and the palladium materials for the ring.

For a ring like this, we literally take palladium round wire and hand-weave it into a puzzle ring that really does come apart and go back together.  The trick with engagement rings is that we have to weave them differently than rings that will not bear stones.  We weave it in such a way that the stone setting and gemstone nestle into the puzzle.  Still, you can easily disassemble and assemble your puzzle ring, as it is fully functioning.

The ring was done, shipped to Canada, and Chris proposed. She accepted. Congratulations, Chris!

Now for the wedding ring.  At this point, Chris put me in touch with his fiancée.  Julianne had seen a ring at crystalrealm.com (full disclosure, Tom’s and my website), that she really loved, and she wondered if we could do something similar for her wedding band. This is the ring she had seen:

Now this Spanish ring is under license from the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Ireland.  You see, this ring is a reproduction of a 16th C. ring found on a sunken ship off the coast of Ireland.  So it is a copyrighted design, so we would never copy such a ring.  However, it is legitimate to be inspired by a such a ring and to create something entirely new that is at least 30% different from the original.  How to measure 30%?  That’s a judgement call, but let’s roughly allocate the major design elements: Shape of ring 1/3; lettering on ring 1/3; and design of hand holding heart 1/3.  We decided to change two of the three elements: the shape and the front design of the hand holding a heart.

Julianne and I had a lively email exchange of drawings, so that I could understand what was important to her.  In fact, she wanted a hand/heart design more typical of those found on claddagh bands, but without the typical crown. In other words, two hands framing a heart.

I showed her a design we had previously made into a wedding band for another client:

Wax from a previously designed set of wedding bands

Rendering from a previously designed set of wedding bands. Julianne loved the hands and the heart!

We decided to ask my wax hand-carver to create hands and a heart similar to the ones in the image above. Naturally, since Julianne’s ring would be a one-off, original, her hands and heart would be completely unique.

So we had achieved our objective of a design that would honor the original ring but be different enough to be uniquely her own.

I had Julianne ship her puzzle ring on Crystal Realm’s shipping account to us in the U.S., while I finalized design details.

Upon receipt of her ring, we created a hand-carved wax based on the design we specified. Each detail was meticulously carved, and then the wax and puzzle ring were photographed for approval by Julianne.

The image I sent her:

Tanzanite Guinevere puzzle ring with hand-carved wax for approval

Tanzanite Guinevere puzzle ring with hand-carved wax for approval

Julianne and I felt my wax artist had captured exactly what she wanted, so we cast, polished, and engraved the lettering. The ring was thus made by the lost-wax casting method, in which a mold is made, then the wax is melted out, and the mold is filled with precious metal, in this case, palladium, a white, platinum-family metal that is non-allergenic and very durable, like platinum, but at a fraction of the cost.  Of course, once the casting is made, much polishing and finishing ensues.  The lettering is hand-engraved, which gives it much character when compared with other types of engraving.

Three weeks later, I got photographs of the finished set and shipped to Chris and Julianne in Canada.  I’m happy to report that Julianne is thrilled with her unique, Celtic-inspired custom puzzle ring bridal set.  Julianne will hand her heirloom-quality bridal set down to her grand-daughter some day.

This image better captures the sparkle of the 0.58CT princess-cut Tanzanite. It’s a gorgeous stone!

See more puzzle ring bridal sets with custom shadow bands.
To talk to me (Mandira) about your own set, please call toll-free 1-866-573-7381 from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.
Outside North America, please call 505-898-1107. Thank you for your interest in our rings!

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