Scott Keating jewelry design ideas transform old diamond favorites!
Jen had been thinking for a while to remodel and update her original platinum and diamond wedding ring set. She started asking her friends who would be a good jeweler to trust to translate her ideas for such an important and emotional jewelry project. Maybe changes would be good but what might they be? She didn’t fully know and needed help. By word of mouth she called me and we began her project by looking at what she had to work with.
Her original engagement ring with matching wedding band were badly worn and didn’t fit well anymore. She also had a family heirloom from her dad, containing a larger center diamond of very nice quality. This remodel is a great opportunity to make changes to her rings to become even more emotionally meaningful. Plus, a bigger center diamond is a wonderful upgrade!
The original center diamond was set with prongs which I felt could be mounted in an updated, cleaner way. Prongs are a traditional way to set diamonds, raising them up high on a ring to allow good visibility of the stone. However, often times this makes wearability challenging. Prongs catch on everything from sweaters to hair to skin and on and on. Contemporary innovations have been designed for setting diamonds to allow visibility and increased wearability. Jen is a very active, youthful person. She wants to wear her rings all the time for outdoor sports, work and dress-up. Designs like these are a specialty for me living in the Aspen area. Every woman here needs what I call “tom girl” jewelry! The active lifestyle of skiing, biking, hiking and whatever you can enjoy outside has a huge part to play in the design of beautiful jewelry. Also, who wants to leave their jewels in the safe deposit box? Women here want to sparkle ALL the time! … and why not? This is what Jen needed. She was psyched.
Many details, like changing setting prongs, will change the style of a piece of jewelry without loosing the character and connection to an original design. She wanted to maintain this connection to her wedding memories. It’s how we grow as people. The original is beautiful and cleaning up the design brings jewels into the now. I started drawing and making a Computer Aided Design (CAD) for Jen to see my design update ideas.
You can see the CAD drawing here. What is so helpful in this kind of technological drawing is that it can be rotated fully on the computer. This is great as there are less surprises of what the ring will look like once made. In the past, my client would approve a drawing and I would carve a wax by hand over 40 hours. These waxes translated the drawing yet many times more hours of carving would be required to make any changes to it. CAD has changed the way I work completely. I now print a wax ring straight from the CAD drawing using my in house 3-D printer. I can now save time and money on every jewelry project. Jen approved this wax before I cast it into platinum.
Finishing the ring is where most of the time is required. Each stone is set to ensure it won’t fall out, is smooth to the touch and shown off to its best. A fine polish makes my pieces shine from every angle.
Jen was delighted. She was working her way through a crazy schedule the day she picked them up. Glad the rings will be able to keep up now, sparkling all the way!
Is this just a "come on" to get me into a jewelry store during the most important gift giving and shopping season? Absolutely, but its also a legit process for a jewelry designer. I'm a different animal from a traditional jewelry store trying to sell off "dogs" aka mis-ordered, un-returnable, or "what was I thinking?" finished jewelry, that we all make. As a designer working out of my own studio boutique, all year long projects get started and don't resolve the way I thought they should... or a customer will change course in the middle of a piece, leaving special materials unused. Its not that there is anything wrong with these materials either. I design pieces where the first style idea is nice but not nice enough to put into the collection... so why not a remodel and sell them at a BIG discount? Fine jewelry is a luxury. Its rare that most of us can buy all the pieces that catch our eye. Affordability is key! Also, bargain hunters are in every strata of income. Most people just LOVE a deal!! Its the thrill. Below is a great example...
I was commissioned to design a new collection of affordable, wearable "daytime diamonds" which the client bought set with "chocolate" diamonds in sterling silver. I thought that they might also be appealing in white diamonds with a highlight of rose gold or yellow gold. I had the production models paid for from the first order and available to use, so why not test them in a new version for my sale at 1/2 price to get customers to come in and look at them?? Shoppers will give me the feedback I need to pursue the collection in a new version or let it pass.
Another example is below, as well:
I was commissioned to make a large scale, one-of-a-kind funky pearl necklace for a client. I designed these very cool sterling silver beads that could make a traditional strand of white Chinese pearls a little "out of the box"! Chinese pearls are great to use in this case, too. They are affordable, thus this client wanted to experiment. When the necklace was finished and she tried it on, they were too over-powering for the luster of the pearls. We used only a few - which was perfect - and there I was with these cool, un-used leftover beads. Now they have found they're way onto these easy to wear nature-inspired necklaces which will sell for about $100 each. Done! Everyone wins.
My jewelry stylist and wife, sculptor Nancy Lovendahl and I sit down in November each year and pull all of these kinds of leftovers out of the safe to prepare for this end of the year sample sale. I want to sell left-over inventory before tax season, so the timing for the sale is great, too! She picks pieces out of a tray and says" I'd wear this!" Bingo. Re-designing begins. Leftover pearls become cool necklaces on leather, a white gold chain that never got used gets a black Tahitian pearl strung on it, beads get rearranged, unloved earrings get new hoops to make them more contemporary, and on and on it goes. Anything left is re-examined and made better. I'm always surprised when there is a new "winner" that I would never have thought about before this year-end review. This process helps me design. Win-win again.
So join the design process and go to a sale like this. The fashion industry invented this forum to keep ideas moving, free up cash and get feedback of a different kind. Designers, especially in the jewelry field, take the lead from them for the same reasons. So if you are in Basalt....
Join Us FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11 from 3-7pm at the studio boutique for our
DESIGNER SAMPLE SALE
50% OFF during this sale!! Great Bargains. We can ship anywhere if you can't come in
yourself. Give us a call as there are many $100- $1500 items. We can send you a pic!
Recently, our niece who is in love with an Irish farmer and lives outside Dublin, wanted me to make her fiancé's wedding band. They had visited earlier in the year and I had sized his ring finger to be a 10. Why did I have second thoughts about my notes? Yet, I had a hunch. I couldn't show up at the wedding in Ireland with him unable to get his band on in front of all of his friends and family! Disaster, right?
Like so many of my customers living all over the world who go into a jewelry store to get their fingers sized for me to make a ring, the fiancé's size was way off!!! Why? Fine jewelry stores, with the best reputations, size fingers using vastly different methods. Here I was... a jewelry designer, no less, in the same spot! I was tired of all the mistakes and re-dos with high stress. The hunt was on to make ring sizing fool proof and easy for everyone concerned, no matter where they live.
I found this card ring sizer that I sent to Ireland. My nephew-to-be punched out all of the plastic rings around size 10. He turned out to be a size 14!!! That's Irish potatoes for you.
The methods of wrapping a piece of paper around your finger to size it, generally fails! Sending me another ring is troublesome, if the band is different from the new ring to follow and on and on it goes. This plastic card solves all of the problems as the client can decide for themselves how they like their rings to fit.
Give me a call, and I'll send you this card for a RIGHT fit every time.
Seen in this picture, I'm ready to run away from home and find adventure in the outside world! Masquerading as a 7 year-old Hobo trick-or-treating in suburban Wheaton, Illinois revealed my early wanderlust. My earliest history is a fusion of problem solving and making solutions with my hands. At 16, I installed central air conditioning in my parents house, crawling through all parts of our attic for however many endless hours, for fun! I had always wanted to become an engineer. In college that goal totally evaporated because the classes were boring and there were no girls! Trying out other career possibilities led me to an industrial design class in jewelry making taken on a lark. That changed my life forever due to the synergy of engaging my head with my hands. As a 20 year old, I felt I knew everything already from that one class! Right? I soon headed west to Aspen to fulfill my destiny.
I set up a small booth in the hottest spot in town. Customers sought me out to make contemporary styles of silver and turquoise jewelry, then gold, leading to an unquenchable passion for designing and making precious art to wear that people love more and more over time. Jewelry is the most intimate connection for people. As intimate as clothing, so close to the skin, only lasting. In the earliest histories of cultural commitments, what was exchanged between the two people? A gold ring. Gold was rare and hard to find. This was and is still the message sent with such an exchange: "you are precious and our relationship is valuable." My passion has only grown. I want to continue being a part of creating that precious history.
Why not go beyond “the norm” of chasing a few hundred bucks for basically the same diamond ring from one business to the other? Get more for your money.
Many families grapple with how to disseminate inheritance. It isn't easy to stave off bad feelings. Simply giving the eldest the first choice or the most expensive jewels seems out of step with today's values. Olwen's sensitivity really captured the possibilities.
The Tuscon Gem & Mineral Fair lends inspiration!
TAKE THE QUIZ! Don't leap. Get what you want. I can help you.