16 Unique Engagement Rings from 2016

January 24th, 2017

 

Each year at Green Lake Jewelry Works, designers reflect on the most innovative, challenging and unique custom engagement rings created in the workshop. These are designs that we’d never seen before, pieces that pushed our technical abilities as jewelers and expanded our repertoire as artists. We’re not into picking favorites (there’s way too many beautiful rings to do that), but these pieces caught our attention last year – and we hope they’ll catch yours too.

 

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Hummingbird Ring in Platinum

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Little hummingbirds meet at a hand carved rose, where their wings rise to hold a 1.53ct diamond center. A combination of French-set diamonds down the shoulders and blue diamonds on the side add a classic look to this one-of-a-kind ring.

Every design at Green Lake has a story to tell, and this ring is no exception. Designer Benjamin Marchant worked with his client to create a ring for his fiancée that would celebrate their engagement and also reflect elements that hold great symbolism for her.  In recent years, the hummingbirds she’d watch just outside her bedroom window took on a guardian angel-like significance during her recovery from illness, which is why they’re cleverly incorporated into both the form and function of this piece. These hand engraved birds also face a blossom in rose gold to represent the wearer’s middle name, and are accented with blue diamond ‘dew drops’ below. A testament to restored health, romantic love, and new beginnings, this Hummingbird Ring in Platinum represents the kind of custom work we take such pride in creating.

Custom engagement rings can take weeks to create together, but getting to see a design through each part of the process makes it less of a purchase and more of an experience

Custom engagement rings can take weeks to create together, but getting to see a design through each part of the process makes it less of a purchase and more of an experience.

Artists Credit: Ben (Designer) Usiel (CAD) Henry (Jeweler)

2 Pink Diamond Halo in Rose Gold & Platinum

At the center of this delicate engagement ring is a pink diamond with stunning color highlighted by delicate rose gold. Platinum scallops set with diamond melee encircle the edge of the halo and are met by an airy under gallery of delicate curls.

At the center of this delicate engagement ring is a pink diamond with stunning color highlighted by delicate rose gold. Platinum scallops set with diamond melee encircle the edge of the halo and are met by an airy under gallery of delicate curls.

Senior Designer Sophia Shen had been working on a few variations of a ring that would be prominent on the finger with lots of intricate detail, yet still light and airy. She made use of milgrain edging on open geometry to capture a regal look that’s apart from any halo we’ve seen, leading to stunning one-off designs to match her client’s specific taste. For this piece, a pink diamond center and the addition of rose gold show how variations on a theme can set an engagement ring into a category of its own.

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Artists Credit: Sophia (Designer) Inae (CAD) Joe (Jeweler)

3 Diamond & Rose Gold Scroll Engagement Ring

Bead set diamonds fill every pierced scroll, leaf and swirl and gently curl to hold a round brilliant diamond in this delicate engagement ring.

Bead set diamonds fill every scroll, leaf and swirl that gently curls to hold a round brilliant diamond in this delicate engagement ring.

We always love seeing a new twist on a Green Lake design favorite, like this delicate band re-imagined as an engagement ring in the metal of the moment, rose gold. Once designer Nina Matsumoto sketched the concept, CAD Modeler Michelle Loon began the model. To get the curls to be structural and flow, she used ‘T-Splines’ (a technique our designers rely on to create sculpted and organic forms with the perfect flow).  The result is a custom diamond setting comprised entirely of a pattern, yet still durable in its design for a lifetime of wear.

T-SPLINES RINGS

Artists Credit: Nina (Designer) Michelle (CAD) Mac (Jeweler)

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 4 Kaleidoscope Engagement Ring in Fairmined Gold

A kaleidoscope of baguette and round melee diamonds are held in delicate bezels around a trillion diamond center. A matte finish highlights the warm golden tones of Fairmined Gold.

A kaleidoscope of baguettes, marquise and round diamond melee are held in delicate bezels around a trillion diamond center. A matte finish highlights the warm golden tones of Fairmined gold.

This ring could be one of the most emblematic pieces from Green Lake in 2016. A winning design from the #Fairmined Gold Contest by Nina Matsumoto, the Kaleidoscope brings ethical sourcing to the forefront. Cast and set in the Seattle studio, its gold comes from the same small-scale artisanal mines that supply material for the Nobel Peace Prize (read why Green Lake uses Fairmined certified gold). It’s as big on substance as it is on style too, recently earning a front page feature on the popular wedding site Borrowed & Blue. For this ring’s distinctively clean lines and the bigger story it tells, it’s definitely one of the most memorable of the year.

Real custom rings always start out as a sketch, where never-been-done-before ideas come to life.

Custom rings always start out as a sketch, where never-been-done-before ideas come to life.

Artists Credit: Nina (Designer) Kelsey (CAD) Eric H (Jeweler)

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5 Vintage Anniversary Ring in Platinum

Two diamonds, 1ct and 1.71 ct, are the centerpiece of this intricate anniversary ring highlighted by a halo of diamonds and milgrain. Filigree and half wheat engraving add vintage touches to this platinum piece.

Two diamonds, 1ct and 1.71 ct, are the centerpiece of this intricate anniversary ring highlighted by a halo of diamonds and milgrain. Filigree and half wheat engraving add vintage touches to this platinum piece.

Okay, so we’re sneaking a few other pieces into the annual engagement ring list. For some custom clients, wedding anniversaries are celebrated with new ring – or more often, adding to an existing one. For this anniversary ring, Designer Ashlen Johnson worked with several pieces of her client’s older jewelry to re-create some over-the-top eye candy she’d be sure to wear daily. This statement piece makes beautiful use of the customer’s sentimental diamonds and over 25 hours of hand engraving, setting and filigree work from master jeweler, Henry Nguyen.

Custom Vintage Ring

Artists Credit: Ashlen (Designer) Kelsey (CAD) Henry (Jeweler)

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6 Trembling Lily Ring

 Hand fabricated in Fairmined certified 18k gold, hand carved moonstone, pave of Tsavorite garnet and natural yellow diamond melee.


Hand fabricated Fairmined certified 18k gold ring with carved moon quartz, pave set Tsavorite garnets and natural yellow diamond melee.

Seattle’s Shop Foreman Joe Worley is known for outdoing himself with big statement pieces, each showcasing some extraordinary techniques that have taken decades to master. A previous winner of the prestigious Spectrum Award, his entry this year displayed a calla lily hand carved from a parcel of rough moonstone, advanced pave setting, hidden filigree, a sculpted snail and botanical texturing from a Florentine graver. But we think it was the ‘en tremblant’ technique he used on the flower’s stamen that makes this ring a piece of art.

Florentine Engraving

En tremblant, a style most often associated with Art Noveau, is where an element on a piece subtly moves. That takes keyed caps, special fittings, rivets and springs to accomplish. It’s a technique typically used for large broches but Joe saw it as an opportunity to add motion on a much smaller scale with a ring. It took over a month working with Lapidary Dan Canivet to plan out parts and another month after that to make the final piece. The result is a bouncy attention-getter that shimmers and sparkles with so many details that we had devote an entire article to it.

The Trebling Lily Ring is presently on display at the Bellevue Studio and pricing is available upon request.

Artists Credit: Joe (Designer and Jeweler) Dan (Lapidary)

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7 Old Euro Diamond & Gold Engagement Ring

An old European cut diamond is framed by two trapezoid diamonds and a yellow gold scalloped Art Deco halo.

An old European cut is framed by two trapezoid diamonds and a yellow gold, Art Deco inspired halo.

Working with family gemstones is a service that makes Green Lake Jewelry pieces so special for our clients. With a variety of shapes and sizes, fitting all the pieces together can be an especially glamorous puzzle to solve. Outside of needing a low-profile engagement ring that wouldn’t snag on her doctor’s gloves, the client was open to the custom process and gave designer Ashlen Johnson creative freedom to make something just for them. From there, CAD Designer Usiel Vargas had to pay special attention to the varying sizes of the client’s gems, making sure tolerances and requirements for durability were met, while also keeping the ring light and delicate. In the end, they achieved an old world feel perfectly suited to for an old European center.

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Artists Credit: Ashlen (Designer) Usiel (CAD) Arthur (Jeweler)

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8 Carved Otter Ring with Emerald and Sapphire Waves

A realistic platinum otter ring holds a diamond in its paws while bead set sapphire and emerald waves wrap around its body.

A realistic platinum otter ring holds a diamond in its paws while bead set sapphire and emerald waves wrap around its body.

Starting off as a spirited sketch from the client, this ring was carved entirely by hand to capture all the character and detail of an actual otter. Green Lake Wax Carver Kristi Hansen took Designer Nina Matsumoto’s updated design and printed it to scale, applying the paper to the wax model and finely poking out the pattern – an approach not unlike carving a jack-o’-lantern. By adding a new wedge of wax to the ring, Kristi was able to create a realistic floating posture for the animal, truly making this piece a stand-out example of artistry. And what does the inside engraving say? “For my significant otter,” of course.

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Designers at Green Lake help take ideas and sketches to scaled technical drawings.

Artists Credit: Nina (Designer) Kristi (Wax) Henry (Jeweler)

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9 Montana Sapphire Wrap Ring

A Montana Sapphire in a wrap setting is accented by hand fabricated filigree curls and bezel set diamonds.

A Montana Sapphire in a wrap setting is accented by hand fabricated filigree curls and bezel set diamonds.

Green Lake maintains a large collection of loose Montana sapphires with an array of natural colors and shapes to inspire one-of-a-kind rings. The color in this sapphire is blue like a glacial stream, which is fitting as it appears wrapped up in an eddy of platinum swirls. To accentuate movement in this ring, Jeweler Eric Harman hand fabricated little filigree curls that twist in balance with its wave shape. Given this piece was only Harman’s second or third hand at high-level filigree work (a skill that takes ages to refine), the result is truly remarkable!

Custom rings made at Green Lake are first wax models to ensure every detail is correct before casting in gold.

Artists Credit: Sophia (Designer) Kelsey (CAD) Bruce (Wax Carver) Eric H (Jeweler)

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10 Flowing Vine & Leaf Engagement Ring in White Gold

White gold in polished and matte finishes flows to create an organic mounting for a marquise diamond accented by hand engraved leaves.

White gold vines in polished and matte finishes flow to create an organic mounting for a marquise diamond accented by hand engraved leaves.

For Designer Benjamin Marchant, having a client request something that looked like it came from a Lord of the Rings kingdom – and give him the creative freedom to draw it up – was a total dream come true. To get this aesthetic he knew all too well, Ben used alternating high-polish and sandblasted finishes on the metal to get the flowy, over-and-under details to really ‘pop.’ At the bench, jeweler Caitlin Wolff even kept true to art from Lord of the Rings, paying careful attention to adjust her engraving style and add dimension to the piece in an authentic way.  Unlike any piece we’ve made before, this is a ring that just has to unite two!

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Artists Credit: Ben (Designer) Usiel (CAD) Caitlin (Jeweler)

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11 Hand Carved Cat & Dog Anniversary Ring

Inspired by a couple’s pets, this ring features their cat hand carved of onyx nose to nose with their dog, hand carved and cast in rose gold.

Inspired by a couple’s pets, this anniversary ring features a cat hand carved of onyx nose to nose with their dog, hand carved and cast in rose gold.

While each ring we make for our clients is truly unique, there are some that leave our workshop we’ve never seen before and are unlikely to see again. Take for instance this playful tribute to one couple’s life together that called for carved cats and dogs to match photographs, all in some materials we’ve never even worked in. We love this ring because it was such team effort between a curious designer, a skilled wax carver, an ambitious lapidary and a focused jeweler.

Designer Samantha Laddin took this surprise anniversary present from concept to completion, poring over photos of the animals playing to get representation just right. Wax Carver and one of Green Lake’s most tenured/skilled artists Kristi Hansen relied heavily on these photos too, capturing the dog’s floppy ears and expression to a ‘T.’  Lapidary Dan Canivet also had his challenges, polishing a parcel of rough onyx into a perfect cat loaf. At the bench, Eric Harman applied the final assembly, putting these guys together for a lifetime of wear.

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Artists Credit: Sam (Designer) Kristi (Wax) Dan (Lapidary) Eric H (Jeweler) 

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12 Art Deco Montana Sapphire Engagement Ring

An Art Deco inspired a halo surrounds a round Montana sapphire set in a delicate hexagonal setting.

An Art Deco inspired halo surrounds a round Montana sapphire set in a delicate hexagonal setting.

It’s a real joy helping our clients to design a ring in time for a surprise proposal, but there’s no pressure to figure out every last detail before popping the question. Take this especially custom piece for instance, where he selected the perfect shade of Montana sapphire to put into a simple solitaire and returned later with his fiancé to make something together with Senior Designer, Sophia Shen. Together they discovered the exact kind of hexagonal setting she liked, in a geometric pattern she loved. In doing it this way, the ring provided his fiancé with not one but two surprises.

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Artists Credit: Sophia (Designer) Inae (CAD) Eric H (Jeweler)

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13 Golden Feather & Orange Diamond Engagement Ring

Two golden feather plumes dotted with diamonds and embellished with filigree intertwine to hold a natural orange diamond.

Two golden feather plumes dotted with gems and embellished with filigree intertwine to hold a natural orange diamond.

Some custom designs at Green Lake start out as one idea for ring but totally evolve into another. Originally conceived as an ornate dome shape with more of an estate feel for this natural orange diamond, Senior Designer Pia Giambrone picked up on her clients returning interest toward a feather motif. They followed that inspiration until discovering a wrap style ring composed entirely of a delicate plume. The finished piece is just as regal as its estate inspiration, only seemingly lighter and entirely original. The scale of this ring is tiny too, where Gold & Platinumsmith Quang Mac set teeny diamonds only a half of a millimeter in diameter along the feather, finishing the sparkly accents with impossibly small gold beading.

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Artists Credit: Pia (Designer) Kelsey (CAD) Mac (Jeweler) 

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14 Yellow Sapphire Engagement Ring

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A yellow sapphire is surrounded by a french set halo of diamonds and accented by a floral pattern on the side faces.

Knowing they wanted a distinctively Edwardian style engagement ring but not finding anything particularly unique, these recent Green Lake clients worked with Senior Designer Mitch Kelley to create something entirely from scratch. After looking over a wide array of yellow sapphires, they at last found the perfect pale shade for this ring’s oval center and Mitch set to work out the many elements that make this ring so notable. As with many vintage recreations made in the workshop, this is a piece that could be a 100 years old but looks brand new.

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Artists Credit: Mitch (Designer) Kelsey (CAD) Mac (Jeweler)

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15 Montana Sapphire & Rose Gold Engagement Ring

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A mint colored rose cut Montana sapphire is bezel set and framed by open shoulders filled with intertwining filigree curls in a matte finish.

Many clients at Green Lake are increasingly interested in the origin of their gemstones, so Montana sapphires are popular choices in the studio as we source these uniquely colored gems from small-scale mines directly. Much of the rough we cut here in house are faceted into floral rose cut patterns that highlight each gem’s best properties. For this ring, Green Lake Design Director Krista Robertson worked with her clients to achieve the perfect minty green, and by adding a matte finish to traditionally polished elements like filigree, the piece feels both rustic and modern at the same time.

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Artists Credit: Krista (Designer) Megan (Wax) Michelle (CAD) Dat (Jeweler) 

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16 Steampunk Necklace

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Custom Steampunk themed necklace in sterling silver and 14K gold with smoky quartz briolettes.

Okay, definitely not an engagement ring, but how could we not include this one-of-a-king Steampunk Necklace into the most unique pieces of the year? The Green Lake workshop produces more than just rings, and this iridescent agate cabochon set into a steamy coffee shop that’s operated by tiny silver robots and golden gears proves it. Designed for a costume maker and Girl Genius enthusiast, it’s a necklace that that takes custom to a whole new level – and took the collaboration of 6 artists to create.

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Designer Samantha Laddin collaborated with her client to get the necklace just right, and across months of design iterations created a detailed sketch that led every aspect of the project. Amy Phillips took the sketch and translated in wearable art from the bench, creating a piece with polishes, patinas and sparkle that’s made for one person only.

 

Artists Credit: Sam (Designer) Kelsey (CAD) Kristi (Wax) Amy (Jeweler) Colin (Hand Engraving)

 

Design Your Own

Thinking about having your own engagement ring or wedding band made just for you? Contact us directly at info@greenlakejewelry.com or begin your own Design Page to get your idea started today.