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My Custom Ring Experience

Yusiro

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
43
Hello all,

With all of you being such a big help in me getting a stone for my ERing - I thought that i would give back by making a post of my custom setting experience. After some research, I found a goldsmith that I wanted to use.

Local Toronto Artist Leif Benner has a small studio in the distillery district (his web page here http://www.leifbenner.com/). I sent him an e-mail and he was very quick to come back to me with a quote and time frame (about 4-6 weeks). What I am looking for is a Split Shank Pave set ring in platinum. Off the shelf I could not find one that I was 100% happy with so I went the custom route.

I visited Leif's shop on Saturday morning. There were a few small showcases with some custom pieces, but not very much. It seemed more than a workshop then a show room. He explained this was because the custom ring business of the wedding season has left him with very little time to make any pieces 'just because' - so anything he is making at the moment is already sold. Showing him the diamond, he immediately questioned "Blue Nile?" - "James Allen, actually" I replied. If I had spoken with him sooner, I would have most likely purchased my centre stone from him. He said that generally his prices for stones are just a little bit higher than those of Blue Nile - with the added bonus of him taking all liability. "If I make a little off the stone and a little of the setting, I'm happy" - he must be quite happy then, as he said that he expects 2011 to have just over 500 custom ring orders.

That said, the first thing he did with the stone was look at it through his microscope to make sure the serial from the GIA report matched the one on the stone (it did, thank goodness).

Generally he said he would discuss what type of design a person had in mind, then would make sketches. Since I came with a pretty good idea of what I wanted in mind, as well as some photo's of similar rings, we skipped the drawing stage. He said I should expect to see CAD drawings of the ring mid to late this week, and we would edit it/work on it from there.

Before I left the studio Leif was kind enough to show me some of the rings that are in process right now - from sketches to wax rings. He even explained the 'lost wax' method of making rings. I put a deposit down and left my stone in his care. I'm looking very forward to seeing CAD images and will post them as the project progresses!
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,480
You must be excited to have started the process... please post pics of the cads when you get them. We love to see ring
designs begining to end.
 

Yusiro

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
43
Hey All,

Well my designer came back to me just now with my CAD drawings. I like them... but I don't LOVE them. I don't know what's missing. My first feeling would be that I would like the edges rounded off, a little more feminine, rather than the squared corners. Any help with this would be appreciated! I don't want to be a pain to the designer... but I'm not 100% thrilled with the design just yet.

For specs - The setting (as is now) has 48 one point pave stones, and my 0.72 carat RB stone.

1.jpg

2.jpg

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4.jpg
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,480
Is that bead set pave?
 

Yusiro

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
43
Yes, it's bead set (as far as I know - he did mention "the pave beads are too big in this rendering")
 

DonnaH

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2011
Messages
90
i thinks all CADS are kind of clunky looking. I know I was freaked out by mine as it looked bulky. my end result was beautiful.
 

CharmyPoo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 10, 2004
Messages
7,007
I know someone who has worked with Leif and I was very impressed at the number of revisions he was willing to make. His CAD turnaround time was also very quick and seems to provide exceptional customer service. However, I don't think the pave workmanship is compareable to Leon Mege, Steven Kirsh, Victor Canera ... or even Maytal Hannah. The prong work is also not nearly as fine and as delicate.

As a split shank lover and owner of multiple split shank rings, I find that the most beautiful split shanks are the ones that flow and are delicate. It starts to look awkward and clunky if they don't get it right. I would suggest you go with cutdown pave to minimize the metal look. Also, have the shanks be more swoopy towards the basket.

Take a look at this ring for inspiration - http://www.micropave.com/index.php/engagement-rings/solitaires/split-shank-solitaire-engagement-ring-leon-mege.html.... I have more photos if you are interested - the setting was originally made for me.

Pics found
LeonWrongRing3.jpg
LeonWrongRing6.jpg
 

Yusiro

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
43
@tyty333 - Now you've got me nervous - is bead set pave a bad thing?

@DonnaH - I was hoping that this would be the case, but wanted to check to be sure!

@CharmyPoo - Wow, those are some nice settings! So far Leif has been great as far as customer service and fun to work with. In terms of workmanship - being an artist myself, I wanted to support my local art community - that's why I didn't go to any of those names. I WILL however use some of the names you mentioned for reference! I agree with you about the delicate flow of a split shank setting - I've given Leif a few suggestions and we'll see what he comes back with. Since my centre stone is just a baby (0.72 carats, RB) it's difficult to have it 'swoop' out to much without dwarfing the poor diamond!

We shall see what Leif comes back with and work with it from there.

Thanks for the help so far all, I'll be counting on you for more as we get more proofs!

Regards
 

Yusiro

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
43
Latest update!

Leif and I discussed things back and forth, thought of a few ideas and limitations and decided to go onto the wax stage. He was kind enough to take a picture of the wax with my stone to see how it is coming along. I have asked him to take another when it comes back raw from casting. I think it's going to turn out really well - he says if all goes well he'll have it completed by later on next week or in the first week of October!

DSCN5305.jpg
I'm glad the stone doesn't look to small next to the ring, I can't wait to see what comes back from the caster!
 

Yusiro

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
43
As Promised, the completed ring!

It was actually done and picked up last week, but there was no time to take a picture when she wasn't here. Of course I left my DSLR at work so iPhone pics will have to do!





Let me know what you guys think!

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photo.JPG

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Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
214
Wow, that ring looks stunning! Please come back with hand shots soon.
 

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,480
It turned out beautiful!
 
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