We specialize in custom design work, and part of our process involves working with the client and walking though how we can incorporate details of her life into the piece. When I read the story and saw the gemstones, I saw the piece as a ring. Mark had given Lila a simple silver band when they wed, and I viewed this piece as something that would complement her wedding ring. She could wear it with the silver band or alone on her other hand.
I also wanted to tie in connections to places Mark and Lila have lived and traveled. For the ring, I opted for Fairmined 14k yellow gold. When they served in the Peace Corps, Mark and Lila worked to better the communities in which they lived. I think it would be important to them to know that the metal in their ring was ethically sourced. It’s one more way that they’re helping to create a more sustainable economy around these materials in the places they were mined. They recognize that materials such as Fairmined gold don’t just have a positive environmental impact, but a positive human impact as well.
I chose yellow gold to complement the color palette of the gemstones. Although Mark supplied a large number of stones for the piece, I decided to include a few additional stones: a hex-cut light blue sapphire from Montana, a peach morganite from Brazil, and champagne diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia. I wanted to bring in more variety in shapes and colors to the piece, and I felt that the morganite and champagne diamonds helped integrate the color transition from the padparadscha to the denim sapphires. We’ve been doing a lot of pieces with ombré effects and I wanted to work with three or four related color tones. The ring’s asymmetrical cluster design grew out of similar styles we design that our clients have been especially drawn to lately. To create the pattern for the ring, I created several form layouts with the stones until I found one that really worked. Even with an asymmetrical piece, there’s still a lot of balancing required.
Anna Bario is a designer and co-founder of Bario Neal in Philadelphia.
Click here to read more about the challenge and to access the work of the other designers who participated.