When a couple of award winning creatives from two of the most innovative advertising agencies in the world approach you to make their wedding rings, you know, as a designer you will be challenged. The feeling of flattery that you first feel however, is quickly overwhelmed by the pressure of having to deliver something truly outstanding.
The initial brief was discussed as the imperfect road of life, the times that go smoothly contrasting the rough times that test us. I found a elegant parallel in the smoothness of gold, its plasticity when molten, and the faceted and flawed nature of gemstones and their crystal structure.
Initially we discussed the idea of hammering the ring to create a beaten surface texture but on tests we found the effect was not dramatic enough. While we use both traditional craft and computers at GUY&MAX depending on the project, we excel with our ability to innovate as goldsmiths using and being influenced by technology. So it was decided that the best direction for this project was to go down the digital route, and to forge the soul of the rings in their conception and the zeitgeist rather than the manual labour normally associated with craft.
As a starting point I took a plain wedding band with a smooth curved outer surface and slightly curved inner that makes the ring more comfortable, a style known as a court band. This was the style of ring chosen to represent the easier parts of the journey that the couple would encounter throughout marriage.
I generated a virtual replica to scale on computer so that I could manipulate the parts of the ring that were to constitute the rockier times of their relationship, but it soon became clear that the way to answer their brief to the best of my ability was not to manipulate the form myself but instead, to create a tool within the software that would affect the form randomly and more naturally. A little out of my comfort zone, but well up for the challenge I set about building an affect that would deform the surface of the ring. The tool was to create a virtual erruption , that would exert the destructive forces and pressures that tectonic plates might exert on rocks from a point within the ring, breaking and faceting the surface.
This tool worked a treat at breaking up the ring into faceted pieces but I still need to graduate the effect from a totally smooth surface to the metaphorical deformed path. I don’t use jewellery software to design and model our jewellery, it is too limiting. I would go as far to say that it is partly responsible for so much jewellery looking alike these days (but that is only my view). Fortunately though we use a very sophisticated and inspiring film animation package that enabled us to animate the deformation process and freeze frame the animation at different points round the ring. The hardest bit was, having selected the right frames, to join the frames (like using masking layers in photoshop but a little more complicated in 3d!!), to process these models and convert this into a solid model mostly by joining thousands of vectors points individually
Exporting this we were able to print actual size resin prototypes to try on until everyone was happy with the design and we had a working model. We decided to process the final print in wax so we could lost wax cast a one off jewel from molten gold to tie in with smoothness of the good times
To finish these geothermally inspired rings we used different grades of file to highlight the fractious nature of any life journey, while the smooth half of the ring was brushed with the knowledge that the surface would be replaced with the polished patina that occurs to gold over the course of many years.