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This summer's wedding rings October 05 2015, 0 Comments

This summer I made a few wedding rings and now that the ceremonies have taken place I can share some images with you all. Making wedding rings is always exciting as these are such personal pieces and it's wonderful to be involved in these special days.

These rings made for Dominique and William are 2mm versions of my elegant hammered bands, slightly heavier and with the same sparkly texture.

For Katharine  I made a slightly slimmer version of the hammered band at 1.3mm wide to sit with the very slim band of her engagement ring. Her husband chose a rose gold court ring.

For my good friend Holly after a few prototypes we settled on a subtle wishbone in 9ct white gold. Her husband Jim picked an ever popular court band also in 9ct white.

Above is another image of Holly's ring, and a hammered band in 18ct gold for Rachel. On the bottom row is an 18ct white gold band, made slightly slimmer to sit under the stone of an engagement ring for another Holly, and a rocking wishbone and skinny band.

Most of these rings are based on my standard designs, but I am able to tweak these to sit with specific engagement rings or just to suit your style. Send me an email if you would like to discuss your rings. I would love to hear from you.

nikki@nikkistarkjewellery.co.uk

 


A birthday commission - unique cast silver rings September 22 2014, 0 Comments

These two unique silver rings were created by lost wax carving. This is a really old technique where a mould is carved from hard wax and then cast into metal.

It is a great technique for creating organic, soft shapes. For this commission I was asked if I could create a unique piece as a birthday present for one of my brother's colleagues. She liked the idea of quite a chunky organic form, and we discussed taking inspiration from something in the natural world, the sea or something growing.

In the end both of the pieces I created were inspired in different ways by the sea. The first ring has a soft, organic shape and a pattern of inscribed lines, reminiscent of sand after the tide has gone out, or of the overlapping ripples in the surf around your feet. This ring has a highly polished silver texture, with a matt finish inside the deep grooves.

The second piece I created is more sculptural, a wave breaking on  the shore.

As these rings were cast from a single carved wax without a mould being made they are totally unique.

Commissioning a carved ring in silver, gold or palladium as a special gift or a wedding ring is the perfect way to have something unique created just for you. I really love creating pieces like this, send me an email if you would like to discuss a commission.


Introducing Ria August 18 2014, 0 Comments

My Ria rings are an older design, but I've had a couple of orders for these recently, and had forgotten how cute they can be.

 

As with a lot of my designs the inspiration for these cute little rings came when I was out and about, looking at the jewellery people are wearing. I was sitting on the tube looking at some gorgeous little rings with traditional grain work on them worn by the person sitting next to me.

I wanted to do something which would have some of the same delicacy, but wasn't quite sure where to start, so I cut some teeny little circles of metal and experimented with attaching them to a band. 

The finished result is different each time, the tiny circles of metal are too small for me to exactly place them, they are like a rock fall on a beach, slightly random, the position of the first couple I attach will affect where the others end up.

Available to order in silver or 9ct gold. I make each of these rings from scratch each time, so the pattern will never exactly repeat.

They are nice to stack if the forms are all grouped together at one end, or are very pretty on their own.


A bespoke engagement ring May 19 2014, 0 Comments

Last year I made a bespoke engagement ring for my friend Holly. Her fiancée suggested she might like something art deco in style, white gold and a diamond.

I came up with this simple design, a round diamond set in a bezel on a slim band with some detailing inspired by the chrysler building in New York. It's a very practical design, but the detailing gives it a hint of difference.

 

 

Luckily Holly said yes, and is happy with her unique ring. 

 

 

Engagement rings are very tricky, do you go for traditional or modern? How can you be sure you'll be happy with your choice in the long term?


Gemstones for beginners May 12 2014, 1 Comment

There are a huge variety of natural gemstones regularly used in jewellery.

Most are minerals of some kind, the definition of a mineral being that it is solid and stable at room temperature, and that is has an ordered atomic structure (very scientific!)

There are a few exceptions to this, lapis lazuli is a rock, and there are organic materials such as amber and pearls which are often considered to be gems.

The different colours of the minerals come from differences in their structure, which affect which colours of light they reflect. Some stones can be heat treated to change their colour.

Green Tourmaline

We tend to associate the names of gemstones with their colour, but in many cases the different colours of the same mineral have different names. 

As an example, rubies and sapphires are technically the same type of mineral, all colours of corundum except for red are referred to as sapphires. Sapphires are most known for being blue, but come in all kinds of beautiful colours.

Diamonds are generally expected to be clear, but also appear naturally in lots of different colours from pink and yellow to blues, browns and greens. Sapphires and topaz also have totally clear forms which before synthetic gems were developed were used as diamond substitutes.

The cost of stones is affected by their rarity and popularity. Traditionally stones were divided into precious and semi-precious, with diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald being precious stones. 

More recently this division is less important, although these stones are probably still some of the most popular and well known.

Gemstones can have natural inclusions, other materials or flaws within the stone which are a different colour. In something like a perfectly clear diamond these make the stone less valuable, but with other types of stones they can create very interesting effects.

The most known stones and colours are generally the most expensive, but there are generally different grades. The deeper and richer the colour of an emerald, the more expensive it will be. A paler stone, possibly with inclusions will be less expensive.

  Garnet and smoky quartz

All my stone set rings are available with a variety of different stones, if you have something specific in mind send me an email for options. I could also source a special stone to be the centre of a bespoke piece.

 


Bands of silver and gold May 06 2014, 0 Comments

New to my shop this week are these flat band rings in sterling silver and 9ct gold.

I have had a few special orders for these in the last few weeks, so have decided they need a permanent place in the range.

There are 2 weights on offer. The first are 1mm skinny bands which are perfect for combining with your other skinny rings, giving further depth to your stack. These are available hammered or plain, and in sterling silver, 9ct yellow and 9ct rose gold. A mix of plain and textured, as well as the different metals looks really great together.

The second, the 1.5mm bands are heavier, although still slim and elegant. These look great alone, or would be a nice contemporary wedding ring option. The hammered texture gives a subtle sparkle to the surface, I use a really small round ended hammer to add the texture by hand to the completed ring.

These rings are also available in 18ct gold as a special order. Send me an email for a quotation.

nikki@nikkistarkjewellery.co.uk


Silver Sailboats April 29 2014, 3 Comments

The first silver boat necklace I made was an experiment. I had some odd shaped pieces of silver left from cutting the circles for my Stella rings, I tried doming and shaping the pieces and decided they looked a bit like sails, moving in the breeze.

Each of these necklaces is a unique piece, I start from flat silver sheet each time, cutting shapes for the sails. I use a doming block to curve each of the pieces, then use pliers to create more complex shapes.

I collect images of boats for inspiration, and start with a general idea of the type of shape I am aiming for, letting each piece take it's own direction.

Sometimes I make 2 or 3 boats at once, creating several sails and then experimenting with different combinations of pieces, until I find something with the kind of personality I am looking for.

 

This little boat is inspired by a one person racing craft, a laser, or similar.

Sterling silver Sailing ship necklace - Handmade in the UK - Unique piece

This second boat is a little more abstract, a large sail billowing in the breeze.

As each boat is unique I only list them for sail in one location, my Etsy shop, Two Red Trees, and What I Always Wanted are currently offering options from the flotilla.


Cityscape - a contemporary wedding ring April 15 2014, 1 Comment

Just before Christmas I created a special set of my Cityscape rings in 18ct gold, as an unusual and contemporary wedding ring.

My cityscape rings were inspired by a trip to New York last year. Skinny and stackable rings are everywhere, and these particular rings have a set of teeny little columns on top, creating a little skyline across the back of your finger. The unusual angle of this image shows this effect, as each ring is unique, each tiny city will be slightly different. 

These rings are also in 18ct gold, which as a stronger, richer colour than 9ct. At this scale it's still very subtle, but really beautiful. It's difficult to see from the image, but one of these rings is yellow, and the other rose. All of my stacking rings are available in 18ct gold via special order, send me an email for a quotation.

The image above is of the 9ct gold version of these rings, a softer shade of yellow, but still very pretty. These are also available in sterling silver and 9ct rose gold. 


Gemstone Jewellery - Topaz April 08 2014, 1 Comment

I've had a lot of requests for rings with topaz in recently, it is one of my favourite stones against both gold and silver.

Pure topaz is colourless, and white topaz was often used as a diamond substitute before synthetic stones were developed. Impurities in the stone give it different colours naturally, deep red, yellow, pale gray, reddish-orange, blue and brown. It can also be treated to give a variety of colours more uniform colours.

Blue topaz is one of the most common forms, the topaz is normally treated to give a variety of shades of blue, from almost colourless ice blue through to the gorgeously intense London blue, via sky and Swiss. (The image below shows, from top to bottom, amethyst, ice blue topaz, London blue topaz.)

The name topaz comes from the ancient Greek name for St John's Island in the Red Sea where a yellow stone was mined in ancient times. Historically topaz referred to any yellow stone, the name now refers to a specific type of silicate, regardless of the colour.

My baguette rings, and my Stella ring are available with a variety of shades of blue topaz, deep London blue is wonderful against silver or gold, and the lighter blue shades are very pretty in silver rings. Send me an email for a quote.

nikki@nikkistarkjewellery.co.uk


The Victoria & Albert Museum Jewellery Galleries - Wax Seals April 01 2014, 0 Comments

If you're looking for some jewellery inspiration, the V&A Bollinger galleries are an amazing place to visit. 

The gorgeous, intimate space is packed with beautiful historical jewellery, from Ancient Greece to the present day. There is also some great information on jewellery making and stones. Definitely worth a visit if you are considering an investment purchase, or a special commission.

Some of my personal favourites are the seals, these of course historically had a very practical purpose, but they would make the most gorgeous little necklaces.

Seals have been used for thousands of years. The image carved into the stone would be pressed into soft wax to create an impression, authorising a document. Signet rings also developed out of the same tradition of adding seals to documents. 

I have been thinking for years of developing some necklaces based on seals, I'm at the sketch stage at the moment, but hopefully in the next few months I'll have some prototypes to share.

(Image courtesy of the VAM museum archives)