George Brown College, Toronto
First Place, Future of the Industry
By Tina Snyder
Designed as the hero piece of a thesis collection, the Befitting ring by Kyra Martin takes a playful approach to a two-finger ring design. Following in line with the overall goal of the collection to accentuate the natural curves of the body, the ring features a unique shape that challenged Martin—then in her final year of the Jewellery Arts Program at George Brown College in Toronto—in its execution.
“Even though it’s a double finger ring, I didn’t want it to feel foreign or strange on your hand,” she says. “I wanted to design a ring that would accent more than just the finger in a traditional sense, going over the knuckles while flowing and curving with the hand.”
Arriving at the final shape of the ring was largely a hands-on process of experimenting with brass wire. After creating a mood board of ideas that included a number of unique ring designs as well as images of fabric draped over various parts of the body, Martin turned to manipulating brass wire, tracing the curves on her hand to find a design that was different, comfortable, and accentuated the hand in a way that she had not seen before.
“I knew I was going to work with 18k gold wire because I like the clean look and simplicity of the wire and how it doesn’t draw away from the body, but rather incorporates it,” she says. “But after wrapping the brass wire around my fingers, I knew the ring wouldn’t sit securely and comfortably if there wasn’t some element between [my pinkie and ring finger] to hold the ring in place.”
Not wanting the wire to wrap full circle around either finger, Martin began playing with the idea of incorporating a gemstone between her fingers. She decided to design a setting that would bridge the wire behind the fingers with the gemstone on top, creating a comfortable element that would hold the ring in place between the fingers. Martin turned to CAD to accurately calculate the measurements for the bezel setting and “stem,” which would be first cast in silver for a prototype, and later in 18k gold for the final piece.
With the wire component of the ring shaped and the stemmed bezel setting cast, Martin turned to the laser welder to first tack the two components together. “It’s such an odd form that the typical ways of holding a piece in place for soldering, such as a third arm, wouldn’t work,” she explains. “I tacked the stem in place so that I could cleanly solder it to the 18k wire without it slipping or moving out of place. I wanted a really clean transition from the setting to the wire part of the ring.”
Martin adds that she also tacked the tube-set padparadscha sapphire that subtly accents the pinkie in place prior to soldering. Other than those for the two settings, the only other solder seam in the ring is located at the top of the hand over the knuckles where the two wires touch.
Setting the red zircon was the final step in the ring’s fabrication—and the crowning moment for Martin, who had accomplished what she had set out to achieve.
“I love the end result,” she admits. “I love the way it goes over the knuckles—a part of the hand you don’t associate with rings—and it follows the form of the hand rather than just being placed on it in the traditional sense of a ring.”