I’d love to tell you about a very special ring I created in collaboration with the wonderful goldsmith and gem cutter Mark Nuell.
I have known Mark and admired his work for many years, through exhibiting together at shows like Goldsmiths’ Fair and also as we are both based at Cockpit Arts Studios. Mark’s inspiration for jewellery came from early contact with gemstones in Australia, where his father mined sapphires. Mark learnt to cut and polish these stones spending several years as a gem cutter and later studying jewellery design and making in Sydney. Read more about Mark’s work here.
I was thrilled when Mark approached me about a potential collaboration; creating a piece of fine jewellery using one of his stunning gems, in my signature style.
On visiting Mark’s studio my eye was immediately drawn to this incredible bi-colour (or dichroic) tourmaline - you may know that I’ve always been a huge fan of tourmalines, but the colour of this gem in particular is seriously breathtaking! It’s pink with flashes of orange and red - hence being described as ‘Tropical sunset’. Utterly beautiful. I knew straight away that this stone would work perfectly nestled into one of my designs, so we went for it.
Here are some of Mark's beautifully cut gems that I was offered the opportunity to work with - the 'Tropical Sunset' tourmaline I chose is pictured in the centre.
Mark had cut the stone using Arya Akhavan’s ‘Equivalent Exchange’ facet design. It boasts a staggering 62 precision facets! Faceted gems tend to work extremely well with my designs, as the facets mirror the delicate slices of gold that pick up the light and shimmer: it’s a brilliant design fit.
I spent a couple of months considering the best design for the tourmaline. I love the square facets of the surface of the gem and was torn between either setting the gem in one of my simple double or triple square bands or creating something more structural and flamboyant. In the end I merged the two ideas: the ring top is an open cubic structure letting as much light as possible into the stone and the base is a double square band which mirrors the square faceting of the gem. There are two little princess cut diamonds either side of the tourmaline to add sparkle.
This is the unfinished ring back from the casters. It is always an exciting moment to see if the stone fits!
The finished piece - absolutely thrilled with how it turned out. Ready just in time for the wonderful Goldsmiths' Fair which is back in-person after a two year (COVID-19) break.