I took a very special custom project on this year from a incredible lady who has waited 40 years for it to come along! Connie and her husband eloped in 1972; John gave Connie a simple gold band for their secret wedding & she proudly wore it every day since.
This lovely lady, link Connie has been to see me at a show I do in Bragg Creek for 3 years running. We’ve talked each year about doing a horse shoe wedding ring for her, order but she wasn’t quite sure. It was a big deal to take that gold band off her hand in more ways than one! The ring would need to be cut right off her hand and she wasn’t sure that she wanted it off. Wearing a piece of jewelry for 40 years, patient you feel a little naked without it!
So finally this year, Connie knew that she kept coming back to the design and that usually means its right. I get this reaction a lot about the family rings; people say they keep looking at the ring and keep coming back to it, so it must be a sign.
Connie’s Mother recently passed away and so Connie inherited her Mother’s ring. It is a beautiful, ornate gold and diamond ring that her mother had worn since 1938. Connie had never had a diamond and wanted to incorporate her Mother’s diamond into her new wedding ring.
This scared the hell out of me! I am comfortable in my skills as a metal/goldsmith; but cutting up someone’s 74 year old heirloom is a whole other deal.
So Connie had the gold band cut off her finger and we started on the plan. I would use her wedding ring to build 3 gold horse shoes and we would use the diamond from her Mother’s ring for the center horse shoe.
I needed to work with the curve of the ring to maintain the integrity of the 18K gold, instead of trying to flatten these pieces out and then bend them into horse shoes. This presented a bit of a challenge. I ended up hammering these curves flat as they were and then bending them into horse shoes. I felt like a bit of a ‘shoe-er’ pounding and then heating up the gold to anneal it (make it pliable again) and pounding some more!
This is how most of the horse shoe rings start. I choose to narrow the rings at the back as they are much more comfortable to wear that way. The 2 rope edge rings are measured and cut at the same time.
Here’s a dry fit ready to solder together before I put the diamond inside that middle horse shoe. The great part about Connie’s ring is that she needed exactly the same size as my family ring, so I could feel that the size was going to be right.
My mentor, Shirley Paradis aka Obi Wan, had the great idea that we should use the setting on Connie’s Mum’s ring as is instead of taking the diamond out. The setting is sturdy and had clearly lasted 74 years as it is, so why mess with it? The diamond was still firmly in place and I thought it would be another great way to incorporate some more family history into this project. So I cut the square setting off the top of the ring & went about attaching it to the sterling band.
Everything went fantastic, the ring was all polished and ready for delivery. Connie was so pleased, she got teary-eyed when she put it on! Its amazing how girls never tire of diamonds, they really are ‘our best friend’! Connie had never had a diamond and the fact that it was her Mother’s made it even more meaningful. I’ve never had a reaction like that to my work, and it really made me proud to be able to share it with such a fantastic couple!