After reading Galina’s story, I decided to do some research of my own. My design took shape in the form of a sculptural story of Galina’s life, including her family traditions, her love for the fashion designs of Lesia Paramonova, and the Russian Orthodox church.
I chose to use 18 karat yellow gold for this project. I believe that it will create beautiful shadows throughout the organic and floral design, as well as be a nice contrast to the color-change alexandrite provided.
As for family traditions, I took the idea of Christmas Eve dinner and the kutya, which is a traditional Russian porridge. I integrated some of the main ingredients in the engagement ring and wedding band. Each piece is meant to tell a sculptural story of its own. I chose to use a depiction of wheat, which symbolizes immortality and hope. There are graduated diamonds bezel-set throughout the wedding band and engagement ring taking the shape of poppy seeds, along with a honeycomb pattern on the right side of the engagement ring. Poppy seeds and honey are symbols of happiness, success, and peaceful rest.
Galina’s interest in the floral and feminine styles from fashion designer Lesia Paramonova also played a significant role in my designs. She merges human and nature using floral fabrics and sheer material, which remind her of the mist in the forest. Many of my inspirations come from nature, so this love for the trees, flowers, forest, and animals is easily understood. I surrounded the alexandrite with floral petals, creating a soft gestural edge around the symmetrical stone. The golden floral design at the top of the alexandrite is meant to take the shape of a dome or cupola, which symbolizes the sky. The alexandrite then creates a rectangular structure symbolizing a ship as a means of salvation (Noah’s Ark). These attributes are taken from Orthodox church architecture.
In addition, to highlight Galina’s devout Orthodox beliefs, I chose to add a Russian Orthodox cross on the top of the wedding band in a geometric pattern.
While these symbols may not be relevant to all of us, they truly exemplify Galina’s family traditions, fashion sense, and religious beliefs. I would hope that when Galina looked down at her rings that she would smile and be reminded of her past, present, and awaiting future.