Bespoke Commissions

Matt & Ellens Engagement

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to regularly work on personal commissions for my clients, and to create precious pieces that represent such important moments in their lives. Read below to learn more about the process of a recent commission, a bespoke engagement ring commissioned by Matt for his girlfriend Ellen.

Bespoke Engagement Ring. 18ct White Palladium gold with Blue Australian Sapphires.

Bespoke Engagement Ring. 18ct White Palladium gold with Blue Australian Sapphires.

The Process

Matt got in touch via email inquiring about having a custom engagement ring made for his girlfriend Ellen. He included a few reference images of other pieces of my jewellery he liked- this past custom bespoke engagement ring, and our signature Atlas wedding ring, as well as a short description to describe her favourite things. He wanted something unique and irregular, with several gems rather than one central stone in a classic solitaire design. He liked the idea of blue sapphires or black diamonds set into a white metal. After a bit of forward and back discussion via email, I drew up a few quick sketches for him to check I was heading in the right direction, and he picked out his favourites.

As Matt was based in Auckland, he was unable to come by my Sydney studio, so each step was thoroughly documented so he could feel involved in every part of the process. 

The next step was to carve up a few wax models based on the drawings, to give Matt an idea of what the finished piece would look like. Each piece was a unique variation with different textures and gemstone placement, photographed from every angle and on a hand so that he could 

After the chosen wax model was finished and refined, I then cast it into the chosen metal- 18ct white palladium gold, a high quality alloy which is a beautiful gunmetal colour. Matt was still a little unsure about which gemstones or diamonds to use in the final piece, so I photographed the cast ring and photoshopped a few different options in place, so he could better visualise the finished piece.

Australian sapphires were the final choice and were embedded into the white gold in my signature rough textured bead setting. The ring was packaged up in a hand made leather pouch and personally delivered to Matt in Auckland. 

Initial Rough Concept Drawings

Initial Rough Concept Drawings

Hand carved wax models

Hand carved wax models

Matt was kind enough to share his proposal story.

"I had the ring in my pocket all evening, but no real plan of how I was going to give it to Ellen. Allie had just dropped the ring off to me that day, and I hadn't properly thought of some big flashy romantic way to propose - I just wanted to do it. I remember having my hand in my pocket on the couch, making sure it wasn't going to fall out. Looking back it must have looked pretty suss - the me clutching my pocket for hours while we were watching TV and having dinner.

Eventually we were in bed, watching The Office. The exchange before I proposed went something like this:

Ellen: "Hey..."
Matt: "You want desert."
Ellen "Yeah can I..."
Matt: "Have frozen raspberries."
Ellen: "Yeah but..."
Matt: "The fancy ones, not the supermarket brand ones."
Ellen: "And can..."
Matt: "You have them in a mug, not a bowl."
Ellen: "But..."
Matt: "Only fill the mug 3/4, not fully."
Ellen: "With..."
Matt: "A teaspoon, not a tablespoon."
Ellen: "Thenk yewwww."

I went into the kitchen and figured, if anything, that's the perfect time to ask someone to spend their life with you. It probably comes off as homebody-esque and cliche, but finishing sentences and knowing exactly what someone wants at any point in time while watching one of your favourite shows together... that's pretty much what couples do. It's not a cinematic romance, but it's real and that's what was important to me.

So I came back with my hands behind my back and said pick a hand. She picked one, and it had the fancy frozen raspberries filled 3/4 up with. I said "Pick the other hand", which she did, and I got down on one knee and said "Do you wanna get married?". There weren't candles, there wasn't a song, there wasn't a grand gesture. It was us being us, with a beautiful ring which was perfect.

Looking back I think the ring is like that story. I didn't know what I wanted it to look like, but I knew I'd know it when I saw it. And Allie was such an integral part of that. I wanted it to look vintage, but be brand new. I wanted personality in it, not clean cut. And it's honestly perfect. It's ours, and no one else has it".


If you’d like to talk about a having a bespoke piece of jewellery made, get in touch here.