Come and visit Hillside Studios Open Weekend on the 29-30th September 18
I would love to show you all my workshop space and explain what I do. I have been making myself at home at Hillside Studios since January and it has been the best decision I’ve made.
A lot has changed. Mostly it has allowed me to start teaching jewellery making but it has also been a huge motivation to be around like-minded people whilst also getting away from the dishes and other household chores you think I’ll just get that out of the way quick. Working from home can be hard.
If you would like to come and visit over this weekend to support all of us at Hillside Studios it would be great to see you.
I will have jewellery making experience gift vouchers to sell, perfect for Christmas (I can’t believe I’ve used the C word in September! sorry) as well as a selection of silver jewellery at discounted prices!!.
Make Your Own Jewellery Weekend Special
During the weekend I am offering a special price to make your very own jewellery during your visit.
For up to date info on these mini-workshops please look on the Facebook Event
Will I see you there? RSVP on my Facebook event
Liz Vidal Ceramics will also be offering small workshops throughout the weekend.
There will be lots of original artwork for sale from these established local artists.
Come and book your workshops for the winter for pottery, jewellery and printmaking.
Rosie Musgrave -Stone,
Linen Prints Jacqui Watkins – Printmaking,
Liz Vidal Ceramics – Ceramics,
Aimee Winstone Jewellery – Jewellery
Ruth Molloy – Steel and Painting
Bridget Birse – Garden Design
Jo Whiteland – Batik
Amy Spencer – Writer
Find Hillside Studios, 10 mins from Cribbs Causeway
I hope to see you there.
How to choose an unusual gemstone for your engagement ring
I love unusual colourful engagement rings!
Being a little bit unconventional, alternative and individual I think often shows you have thought more about the design of the ring, has more meaning, romance and sentimentality. Plus, everyone will notice your ring with its glamorous, sparkly, striking gem!
After all, we all think of the typical diamond engagement ring due to De Beer’s “Diamonds are forever” marketing campaign in 1948. Designed to boost diamond sales after the Great Depression, the modern day diamond engagement ring was created. I think we can all think a little outside of box these days, don’t you?
So which gemstone would you choose for your engagement ring? We can be so creative with this.
Maybe you or your partner has a favourite gemstone, favourite colour or flower. Anything that sparks some meaning, fond memories and emotion. Hunting for stones, it’s comparable to sweet and shoe shopping! I love it.
I’m currently designing an engagement ring with an amazing blue sapphire with black roses as her favourite colour is blue and black.
Last year I made a stunning diamond and ruby ring. This year they named their little baby girl Ruby!
I’ve also chosen to have a peach coloured padparadscha sapphire myself. You can read all about it ; designed around the Sri Lankan lotus flower and our travels together around Cambodia.
Are you beginning to see just how personal a ring can be? Amazingly thoughtful, individual, emotional, romantic and will be adored and loved for many years. I could get so carried here.
There are some practical reasons that will help you make your decision.
Each stone has its own hardness which we refer to the Mohs Scale of Hardness and may determine your choice on how to choose an unusual gemstone for your engagement ring.
Diamond is the hardest followed by Corundum (Sapphire and Ruby). If you intend to wear your engagement ring daily, especially if you have a hands-on job you would be wise to choose a harder gemstone. Softer stones such as opal or pearl make beautiful rings but they do have different care needs and certainly do not appreciate washing the dishes or gardening!
Gemstones over the hardness scale of 7 are considered hardwearing. These would include sapphire, ruby, alexandrite, chrysoberyl, topaz and spinel to name a few.
There’s a world of colourful vibrant gemstones to choose from
Stones you see in shop windows show a limited selection of the beautiful rare colours available. Did you know that sapphires are available in a rainbow of colours and tanzanites, garnets and amethysts can be green? There are so many lesser known gorgeous gemstones to choose from. You only need to inquire about so that I can source the perfect stone just for you.
So many options and eye-catching rings to design and make. I’m looking forward to hearing about the next engagement story I get to bring to life.
Alternatively, If you would like to design your ring together with your partner you can always propose with your stone in a temporary ring. Read my blog So you want to choose the perfect surprise engagement ring? for more information.
If you have any questions on how to choose an unusual gemstone for your engagement ring or would like to discuss your colourful ideas it only takes a quick chat with me.
In the meantime take a look at some of my previous commissions or join me on Facebook or Instagram
Speaking of engagements…I get to design my own ring
Now I was going to send this little blog out yesterday but who am I to try to steal the limelight from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle 😉 Congratulations to them, another royal wedding! What I was pleased to see was just how much thought he had gone to, to design an engagement ring that had a lot of meaning to them both; sourcing a diamond from Botswana where they both had happy memories of.
So yesterday I was going to announce that several weeks ago I got engaged!
What most people were really surprised about was that I had no idea what I would choose for my engagement ring. I look at engagement rings all day! I have favourites I have made for other people, but I would always want something no one else has, obviously!
I thought I would share with you my design process of designing my own engagement ring
I decided to think of the design first, I love flowers and would love to add some travelling element to the design as we do love to travel.
I’ve always wanted a floral setting and lotus flowers have been a prevalent flower in so many of the countries we have visited with many sacred meanings.
This plant is known to be associated with rebirth. This is a consequence of it supposedly retracting into the water at the night, and emerging a fresh in the Sun the next day
The Egyptians, therefore, associated the lotus flower with the sun which also disappeared in the night, only to re-emerge in the morning. Therefore the lotus came to symbolize the Sun and the creation.
Hinduism: In this religion, the lotus flower meaning is associated with beauty, fertility, prosperity, spirituality, and eternity. Goddess Lakshmi, the patron of wealth and good fortune, sits on a fully bloomed pink lotus as Her divine seat and holds a lotus in Her right hand. It is also mentioned in the Mahabharata that Lakshmi emerged from a lotus which grew from the forehead of Lord Vishnu, and a garland of 108 lotus seeds is today used for the worship of Lakshmi.
The Cambodian lotus is symbolic of wisdom and spirituality, a symbol of purity, fidelity, creativity, and enlightenment.
In China, It symbolizes the holy seat of Buddha. Because the flower rises from the mud and blooms in exquisite beauty it symbolizes perfection and purity of both the heart and mind. It also represents long life and honor.
So off I went to start sketching some ideas for both the engagement and the wedding rings.
Now I have an initial idea of the rings I’m going to make I had to find the stone. Of course, I had to choose a stone that was pretty hard to find and I’m so pleased that I have.
My chosen gemstone
Two and a half years ago I fell in love with a particular sapphire at a trade show I visited and I have been looking for it since. A lovely peachy colour and quite unusual. I had been thinking of this stone ever since I saw it.
Its called a Padparadscha Sapphire from Sri Lanka. A orangey and pinky coloured gem stone which unbeknown to me is the Sinhalese word for lotus blossom!!!
How perfect is that, I really had no idea.
The sapphire is a very similar colour to the Lotus flower found on this island called Gem Island or “Ratna Dweepa”.
Here’s the sapphire I have found, it’s beautiful and I can’t wait to show everyone the final rings.
I hope this may inspire some of you on your unusual engagement ring designs and if you would like to discuss ideas with me please send me a message via email or Facebook.
You can always look at my previous engagement ring commissions here to.
So you want to choose the perfect surprise engagement ring?
And you’re a little terrified! yep, is this you?
I totally get it, You’re about to buy possibly the most expensive gift you’ll ever get and you have no idea what she would really love and treasure. This is the engagement ring she has been dreaming about for years. Worried you’re going to choose a design that your partner doesn’t like?
I see so many of you that really want to put so much thought into the design, creating a ring that suits your partner’s personality and style. You really want her to love it!
Does your partner like to be original, maybe a little unconventional. Worried you’re going to have to settle for something that really isn’t to their taste? Well, I have found a solution!
Have a surprise proposal with the perfect gemstone and design the ring together
Honestly, I have been looking for these little rings for years and I’ve finally found them. Rings that you can hold a stone in temporarily, just long enough for you to propose. Then you can design the engagement ring together.
Choose the stone from me that you would like (and you think your partner would like too), it doesn’t have to be a diamond either, a striking colourful gemstone instead would look fantastic. It will be presented in a quality ring box for you to propose. You can both have the fun of working with me to design your perfect ring together! It will even come with a sheet helping you decide on a style and theme you would like your engagement ring to follow.
Maybe your proposal would spark some theme ideas or their favourite flower, these are just two examples. I’ve even designed engagement rings with a star theme, for a proposal under the stars. It’s a lot of fun during the design process and a fantastic way of having both your ideas incorporated into the final ring. It also makes a fantastic story to tell and a perfect heirloom to leave future generations.
The difficult decision now will be how to pop the question!
Maybe you would like to read How To Sneak Your Engagement Ring Abroad & Propose or take a look at some of my previous custom made commissions for some ideas.
Want to talk more about how I can help you with this dream? Send me a message, I would love to hear from you