custom jewelry by heather reilly, metalsmith

platinum tourmaline ring

platinum tourmaline ring

this platinum tourmaline ring has always gotten so much attention of all the photos in my portfolio, so here’s the real story of how it came to be.

it is a funny story albeit in the real story, there were a lot of bad words ;)

starting out simply enough, the base is hand forged platinum, approximately 10mm wide. the tourmaline belonged to my client, having just returned from a stone buying spree in India, this was her chosen stone.
the setting was to be a thick 18k yellow bezel, rough texture and “definitely handmade”.
all good until I began to marry the gold and platinum…
you see platinum has a melting temperature of 3215 fahrenheit, 18ky gold will fuse at 1700. you see my discrepancy? so what happened is this: I began heating the platinum and got it to where i thought it would be just hot enough to fuse the gold, but alas, the second the gold hit the plat, it melted and came back up onto itself.
hence the hole you see here.
but in our house we have always adhered to the principle, “make a f*** up a feature” in other words, go with it and glorify it. so i melted a few more “light holes” and voila! I think it fits perfectly with the design of the ring overall and
it worked so well I now regularly do this to bring more light to the stones I am featuring.

platinum tanzanite ring

tanzanite ring in platinum & gold

this big huge gorgeous tanzanite ring commission really has it’s own story.

my client took a pilgrimage to tanzania, the land of her ancestors, and purchased this stone. the mines have all since collapsed and many casualties later it is damn near impossible to purchase a genuine, untreated tanzanite of this size anymore.

so no pressure setting this baby.

while tanzanite is relatively hard, measuring 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, it has what gemologists call, “perfect cleavage” in two directions, which makes it dangerous to set by my hammer method.

this is a pretty large hand forged platinum ring, measuring 12mm wide. the tanzanite is set into a hand forged 18k yellow gold bezel. I melted holes in the bezel to allow light to pass under and through the tanzanite thus allowing light to pass through this bluish purple stone, because after all, this tanzanite ring should be all about this stone…

she wanted the finish to be rough. I so love this, but don’t often send out jewellery with this rough texture. you have to want this, though it does, I have to say, wear the most beautifully over time.

when i polish it all to a fine shine first, the scratches from life are what appear first.

when you start out a bit rough, though, the first thing you notice is how life polishes your jewelry, which is all this stone needed from me.

hand forged platinum engagement ring

hand forged platinum engagement ring

hand forged platinum engagement ring, polished up so brilliantly…

oh I love these rings!

engagement ring and wedding band design collaboration between italian architect bride and me. the groom was well acquainted with my style and had suggested me.

3 oval white diamonds, .33 ct each and two rounds, .08ct each.

john and I delivered this wedding set to the bride and groom in spain for the event itself. while traveling I spied a gucci ring in a strikingly similar fashion, thus I have always suspected this was the inspiration for my italian bride.

I wore the rings over (always wear your jewelry while traveling!) and fell so in love with the set. on it’s own, the wedding band is so simple, yet it has enough presence, enough weight, to hold it’s own. that said, I welded these bezels onto the band so those little babies ain’t going nowhere.

now 17 years old, I would love to see how these platinum rings have weathered time…. this kind of forged platinum always takes on a life of it’s own after years of wear.