It’s that time of year once again where we look back at the most daring designs, expert craftsmanship and dazzling sparkle to leave the workshop. We’re perfectionists here and so it can take weeks to ensure the absolute finest rings are delivered – Green Lake only makes but a few thousand each year (which is not a lot). Compared to big brands churning out the most profitable designs over and over, we have to approach each custom ring anew. It takes time to get it right but what lacks in quantity is made up for generously in quality.
Here are a few of our favorite new ring designs from 2014:
Back from a recent buying trip to NYC, the Green Lake gem lab returns with a most impressive collection of rose cuts. Seldom seen outside of true antique jewelry, rose cuts are flat on the bottom with a crown made up of triangular facets. We love seeing an array of naturally colored diamonds in this kind of cut, especially this ring’s oval center – it sparkles like a fresh pour of coffee from a French press!
For this ring, the center stone was set into a full bezel that’s crowned on both ends by bead set diamond melee and framed in finely milgrained boarders. On the shoulders a duo of pear-shaped rose-cut diamonds point inward and unfurl to hold more accent diamonds. Bands of milgrain and diamonds farther down the shank make for hidden details seen only from other angles. Stunning.
Completed in late spring 2014, this hexagonal diamond halo is unique in that it flourishes with finely engraved wheat and scroll patterning. The geometric frame of bead-set diamonds surrounding a round brilliant center is embellished with milgrain to add even more sparkle on the finger. Under the halo, the side face splits and raises up like a cathedral, making the piece a bit grander overall. It’s the crisp detailing down the sides however that suggests it’s a ring made at Green Lake; this craftsmanship and attention to detail will only be found in a handful of serious shops in the country.
These bands epitomize the custom process because you simply can’t just go out and buy them. They really have to be made. Both of these wide platinum bands feature a heavy brushed finish to capture a look we’d expect to see in men’s bands, but then they depart with vibrant color to become especially unique and deeply personal pieces. One features a green diamond with corresponding green gold inside and a stippled rectangle recessed below. On the other is all 22kt yellow gold inside and below, featuring an orange-yellow radiant cut diamond.
Filigree are those tiny little wires of gold or platinum formed into delicate curls. It’s one of Green Lake’s go-to specialties but the word itself is often confused for engraving, carving or other beautiful ways in which rings are ornately detailed. This platinum engagement ring showcases filigree at its finest and clearly demonstrates how bold this design element can be.
See the original sketches for this ring in the Client Gallery.
Holding this ring in your hand, you really feel the density of the noble metals and the crispness of each delicate cut cascading down the shoulders. An almost stately ring, this piece boasts an old Euro-cut (with fewer facets than its round brilliant successor), traditional wheat engraving and a compass rose at the top. Its side face (which can be seen here) features a fleur-de-lis on either side of the gallery, rounding this ring out as perhaps the most regal in the bunch.
The Green Lake workshop crafts custom made-to-order engagement rings and wedding bands day in and day out. In order to bring each client’s vision alive, designers and jewelers must often push the limits of metals and gemstones to the maximum. In the case of this ring, Graduate Gemologist and Gem Faceter Dan Cavinet took a rough chunk of sapphire to the cutting wheel and meticulously fashioned it into the pattern of a water lily. It’s safe to say there’s little that Green Lake won’t do to make the perfect ring!
Recognized for its use of bold symmetry and geometric patterning, Art Deco pieces draw on inspiration from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. This recreated vintage-style piece rises with widening columns and almost resembles a building of antiquity. At its center is a round brilliant cut diamond in a full bezel with 12 more diamonds bead set throughout. Set low on the finger, this ring’s grand appearance comes from its width rather than just height and appears as though it’s walked right out of the Champs-Élysées Theater, circa 1925.
There’s no one single center diamond for this piece; there’s 99 tiny little ones, each meticulously set into tight curls and narrow rails. Commissioning a custom band like this demands confidence and clear communication throughout the process, as so much of the detail is applied all by hand at the very end. Follow this ring from sketch to sparkle in its own gallery. The end result is truly magical, full of subtle movement and replete with milgrain, filigree and all other hallmarks of a handmade ring.
Let’s face it – this ring is smoking hot. It’s ornately pierced with complex over and under, undulating curves. It’s completely incorporated, form the stylized prongs and gallery at the top to the purpose-built Euro-shank at the bottom. With a delicately patterned inlay of 22K gold hiding out on the inside, you’d think for sure this piece would be handcrafted from the start… but it’s not. In fact the entire design was approached not just to achieve beauty but also to streamline its production, winning it the 1st place distinction at this year’s Gemvision Design Contest ( Gemvision is the jewelry industry’s leading computer aided design platform). Seemingly complex yet intuitive in its construction, this ring hits all the marks of smart design.
At Green Lake, each of us really are ‘artists at work’ and though it’s not his day-to-day role to be a ring designer, this piece came from our web master and tech guru, Shinya – it can be customized right here.
Whereas most jewelers will set gemstones only they sell, Green Lake recognizes our clients come to us with sentimental diamonds, terrific finds or especially unique stones they’d like to see finally set. With a workshop full of steady hands and confident mastery, we feel capable to happily offer this service. Such was the case with this stunning 3ct I VS1 GIA graded asscher-cut center diamond pictured above. Green Lake designer Krista was able to collaborate on a classic design made special with almost floral-like prongs. Meanwhile, the Green Lake Gem Lab was able to source rare trapezoidal cut side stones of equal quality and 70 side diamond melee to make the piece complete. See this ring from all angles in its own gallery.
Design your own engagement ring or wedding band by starting a Design Page
Photos by Edwin Ross III, Margaret Page and Daniel Zetterstrom
About the author: Eric Robertson is a writer, illustrator and creative lead for Green Lake Jewelry Works.