platinum wedding band, 18k yellow gold miracle accent

do not try this at home….unless of course you absolutely love stressing about really expensive precious metals…melting and contaminating each other… ruthless.

this platinum wedding band with 18k yellow gold was the final piece in a client’s wedding ensemble.  i had already created her engagement ring and her wedding band.

and while forging his wedding band, was finishing a handmade chain with all the colors of 18k gold and diamonds in platinum.

so this ring was not the thing to, mess up, shall we say….

apparently, i did not think this all through when kris came to me with his wedding band design.  while i love mixing gold and platinum, do it all the time, i have never been quite so ambitious in my endeavors to join such a large surface area of gold to platinum.   these two metals have very different properties and when one joins them, the different temperatures at which these metals become liquid, (read, MELT!!!), combined with the radically different tensile strengths of gold and platinum make joining the metals extraordinarily difficult. top it off with the only drawback to working with platinum, it’s susceptibility to contamination from other metals at temperature…

oy

let me put it this way.  in conversation with three different jewellers, each one said they would have turned the job away.  well now they know where to turn… smile

i had forged the whole platinum band, made the gold band to fit perfectly next to the plat, and proceeded to join the gold to the platinum with solder.   proceeded being the wrong word…

in a flash, the gold covered the platinum (like a cheap suit) and the platinum took on the appearance of a clinker, in the bottom of your coal fire.  sorta like a heavy piece of lava rock.

lovely…

without boring you with the rest of the details, let it suffice to say that after lighting a candle, shedding a few tears, lighting another candle and saying a hail mary for good measure, i somehow managed to save the whole ring and weld the gold to the platinum.

i have always had a knack for “forge welding” and in desperation, i treated the gold and platinum just as i would treat steel. i hammered the gold onto the platinum before i even let it cool.  and no, it did not stress fracture!

the reason i write about this experience is because it literally is what keeps my craft so invigorating…best way to learn, the big challenging jobs that defy traditional smithing techniques.

this photo shows the inside of the band, i opted not to mess with it, keeps me humble…

and at the end of the day, fire transforms and lives are joined.

be so well,

heather

Help me donate to the St. Bernard Parish Animal Rescue!

finally!

a month ago i wrote about wanting to run a fundraiser to help people in the gulf affected by the bp oil spill and hurricane katrina, people who are struggling to keep their pets.

to me, this is a devastating thought, having to relinquish your pet because you can no longer afford to care for them….and this is happening to so many people in the gulf.

unfortunately, spay and neuter programs are scarce as they are lacking the funds and “no kill” shelters are few and far between in the gulf right now. too many mouths to house…so to speak and so many people out of work are struggling to keep their four legged children.

thanks to all who responded when i asked for advice on this. i had been researching organizations, but not really getting the “feel” for any of them.
(thanks also to those who raised my awareness about the mis-allocation of funds by some larger orgs– i didn’t know!)

one of the kind people who responded to my post had just seen a segment on the Saint Bernard Parish SPCA, a shelter doing amazing work in really challenging times, and after checking them out online, i am really moved by their passion and mission. Please check out

Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard Parish!

not only are they actively working with their community to help people care for their pets in a time of crisis, they are also ardently working to achieve  another ideal of mine when it comes to animal rescue, a “no kill” status in their shelter.

“We will not give up until our shelter achieves a ZERO euthanasia rate for every healthy, adoptable dog and cat in their care. Warehousing animals will not work; less pets born and more adoptions will! You can be a part of the solution, too!”

as a former non profiteer (the jarvis reilly foundation, san diego 2000-2007), i think this shelter  is really making a difference, so

30% of all  jewellery purchased from heather-reilly.com/shop will be sent directly to the Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard !!

all custom commissions (wedding rings, too!), all ready to wear wishbones, om pendants, runes and peace sign jewellery, from now until i don’t know when– 30% of the sale will go to animals in the gulf through the Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard.

(i just cleaned the studio before diving back in (took the kids east for a grandparent holiday!) and have a few “sample sale” items appearing here over the next week that will be fair game, too)

for lots of us right now, life isn’t leaving much extra to help out the people, animals and organizations who need it in the wake of the gulf oil spill.  i would send millions if i had it already, but as a jeweller who is also a full-time mom right now, i need your help to send anything.

need a unique gift? time to spoil someone you love? early holiday shopping?

include yourself here :) and help me make a difference!

be beautiful and be so well,

heather

PS the direct link to my online store is heather-reilly.com/shop !

square diamond ring

WEDDING RING RE-MOUNTS IN STERLING SILVER

to be able to make something that is inherently beautiful, even more so…
ahh, indeed one the the great feelings that creating art brings to the spirit.

this is the joy of remounting a really beautiful stone. taking a special, or not so, piece of jewellery, disassembling it, and designing anew.
and in this economy, i think so many of us are looking for ways to refresh and rejoice without breaking the bank (isn’t it because the banks broke that we are looking for ways to conserve!)

so i am totally loving the wave of engagement ring re-mounts that i have been rocking here in the studio.
first a beautiful round solitare diamond that belonged to her grandmother, he wanted to remount the solitare onto one of my simple forged concave bar rings, but the cost of gold and platinum weren’t working themselves into his budget. always loving diamonds and silver together, i made the suggestion. such an economical way to get something so pretty.

after all, silver is very reflective. even more so than gold of any color. thus, a hefty silver bezel mount will greatly enhance the light, color and cut of a diamond.
**main drawback is that the silver will tarnish (so will gold for that matter), as always, just keep a good silver polish handy and give your ring a 3 second dip every once and awhile (connoisseurs is good brand).

so they had me forge a substantial sterling concave bar ring and gave me liberty as to how to set the stone. i ended up forging a second band to match for him and it was such fun getting to rough up the silver. and while not for everyone’s taste, i find this really gives the ring depth.
you gotto love this request from a client.
“…just make it unique, make the diamond shine and give it a sexy hand wrought feel”

after making a full bezel, i cut out away at the silver to allow more light to shine through the diamond
ultimately, what i love about the final piece is the uniqueness of the ring. there is no other quite like it, simple as it is, and the symmetry of the band is offset by the cut outs of the bezel.
okay, sorry no photo of this ring yet. however, he is a professional photographer and has promised to take a good picture of the ring this weekend and i will post it then.

i do have a photo of another sterling diamond ring that i was forging at the same time.
a sterling silver remount with the prettiest, whitest, princess cut diamond.
the ring used to be this pretty little princess cut diamond in a very elegant, very delicate white gold band.
lauren, petite and beautiful, happens to be an ice hockey player.
a bit hard on her rings, continually misshaping the white gold band and she was worried about the integrity of the setting, not wanting to lose the stone.
i ever so gingerly forged a really substantial sterling bezel around the diamond, mounted it onto a really dense, hand forged band, and damn, if this stone doesn’t look fabulous.
sparkling beyond…and one day they can set a pretty princess cut stone into her original engagement band (i save the original ring to reuse whenever possible…special if they have a little girl someday) and later on, lauren can upgrade to platinum.

so if you have been longing to re-do a special ring, engagement or other, consider sterling.
at under $500, you can seriously rock a whole new look for your stones!


newsquarediamondring

Sue’s circle of diamonds

its a beautiful sunny fall day and we’re headed to the park, but i wanted to get this new piece of custom jewelry inspired by my LifeChain project published here because Sue just received on Friday after Thanksgiving and loves it!

its a great illustration of new ways to think about old jewelry.

i’d already written these notes about it, too, so now with a picture, here it is:

languishing in a jewelry box no longer!

from a marriage long dissolved,

the wedding ring made anew through hammer and fire.

Sue sent me her 14k white gold, standard comfort fit wedding band and told me to “hammer all the bad energy out of this wedding ring” and create a circular pendant.

i used a heavy torch on the gold, and hammered it hard into a new kind of circle.

reclaimed wedding ring pendant
reclaimed wedding ring pendant

we decided upon 9 diamonds in varying shades of blue, green and purple…nothing too saturated in color, pastel hues, ocean hues…

from a parcel of over 100 diamonds, i selected these nine diamonds….this took the longest time and i am really pleased with the palette.

when i was all done, the piece was rhodium plated.

a strip of black rawhide looped through the circle (a 14k white gold lobster clasp will be affixed to the rawhide once she wears the pendant for a few weeks and determines the exact length at which she would like the pendant to hang).

i think this is a really sexy, really powerful symbol of rebirth, growth and ultimately an expression of self.

what do you think?

jewelry studio inspiration found!

a few weeks ago, after getting the studio set up, the house in order and the kids down for a nap, i sat down to work and…. wasn’t sure where to start.

i ended up posting to Twitter that i was looking for a sign, for inspiration, and calling it a night.

last week, looking over all of my work online with John, i found the inspiration I was looking for right where i always find it, where i should have been in the first place: with all of you, my clients, fans and followers. it was sort of an The Alchemist moment, where after some anguish, and sort of useless expenditure of energies, I found what I needed most right here at home.

on my orginal jewelry blog on Blogger we found this incredible testimonial posted last month from a long time repeat client back in San Diego posted as a comment that neither of us had seen– John quoted it right away on one of my main jewlery gallery pages and I’m quoting here so you can read it.

Heather made our wedding ring, then my wife’s 30th birthday ring and she adores each of them.

Our 5 year anniversary was no different, and I was so excited for my wife but didn’t want to ruin our dinner and spoil the anticipation. We were early enough to the restaurant with few patrons around, but it starting filling up quick. Not wanting the extra attention of a full restaurant, I couldn’t help myself.

BIG MISTAKE!!!! She was so enchanted with her new ring I didn’t even recognize my wife…. she was a little girl dreaming of beautiful rings someday and here it was! Sounds cheezy but it was true… we are not ostentatious in any sense of the word but she couldn’t stop herself all through the night from checking out her new ring in more poses than I could imagine a hand capable of!

And yes, it was embarrassing for us second hand / retro fiends, but if you’re gonna go big, go heather.

Thanks Heather for the tripleLindy on my wife’s hands! I will send some photos soon and I hope your move went smoothly.

Love Jason and Kimball and now Wilson!

i always turn to my custom clients for inspiration when i’m working directly with them on their jewelry, and here was wonderful Jason telling me what i need to hear all the way across the country right when i needed to hear it- thank, Jason and all my wonderful clients.

it seems now the beginning of a trend, with another inspiring set of ideas tumbling out of discussions with a different client over the few days after that– these next up here this week.

we have to go looking for the pictures of this ring Jason commissioned for his beautiful wife Kimball– little Wilson, I can’t wait to meet you!

price of platinum versus 18k palladium white gold

one of the questions that people shopping for custom platinum engagement rings often ask is “given the price of platinum, what is a good alternative for platinum engagement rings or platinum wedding bands?”

my answer in a particular alloy of gold that i love to forge: 18k palladium white gold.

palladium is a member of the platinum family, but unlike platinum, palladium is extremely affordable. when alloyed with 18k white gold, we have a metal that is intrinsically as close to the color and weight of platinum as anything one could custom create.

so unlike regular 14 and 18 karat white golds, palladium white does not need to be rhodium plated to create its fabulous deep color and so will wear beautifully over time.

to give an idea of its versatility, color and luster, here are some photos of different custom jewelry i have designed and created in 18k palladium white gold.

18k palladium white gold pendant, ring and bangle

18k white gold anniversary ring
18k white gold anniversary ring
18k palladium white gold engagement ring
18k palladium white gold engagement ring

14k gold engagement ring

14k gold engagement ring with sapphireI love this ring– its always so nice to see engagement & wedding ring clients a few years later, and the rings, too.

I made this ring in 2004 before I went to study jewelry in Italy, and just saw it again for a little clean-up while I made them an anniversary ring to go with it!

Here’s the original white gold ring with a central sapphire flanked by little diamonds.

 yellow gold ring with diamonds

and here’s the 5 year anniversary ring in yellow gold with three white diamonds.

wedding rings: client testimonial

I received this beautiful message from my most recent custom wedding ring client– so beautiful I have to share with you here. (this is the seven-diamond wedding ring I posted pictures of here last week)

hand forged white gold wedding ring with seven diamonds

Dear Heather,

Thank you so much for putting so much love, time and hard work into our wedding rings. They are absolutely beautiful.

I love everything about the brown diamonds, they look amazing set in the yellow gold, and I love how the light reflects through them. I know all of that is down to your craft.

You really are a talent, and everyone has been commenting on how gorgeous it is.

Lots of love,

Miranda

custom palladium white gold wedding ring

This is the most recent hammered palladium white gold custom wedding ring I’ve created this year utilizing the clustered bezel theme my long time fans will recognize.


hand forged white gold wedding ring with seven diamonds

This particular wedding ring features natural champagne colored diamonds set in yellow gold bezels mounted on a hand forged palladium white gold ring shank that shows off the hammered texture.