Friday, September 13, 2013

It's My Ring!

When Casey and I got engaged we found the most beautiful, unique antique engagement ring.  Here is what  I know about is circa 1890, from Russia and platinum (those were the first years platinum was used in jewelry).  It houses an old "miners cut" diamond in the center, four smaller diamonds in the clovers, and diamond pave detail surrounding the clovers.  The square edges are sapphire, my birthstone!  It could not be more ME!  Sometimes I like to day dream about whose hand once wore this magical thing.  I loved the ring so much that I chose not to have an additional wedding ring but rather wear the engagement ring as my permanent wedding ring.  And wear it I did, for the past seven years, everyday, fondly...

Here are the official pictures from the appraisal along with a picture from Casey's proposal.

...until recently.  I looked down one afternoon and to my horror, a whole section of my ring was missing! Nooooo!  One of the clover diamonds...gone.  Started hearing my neighbor's voice in my head...he said to me once, "Girl, you put that thing in a safe.  You should NOT be wearing that everyday!"  (His mother was a museam curator. Should have listened.)  No clue as to how, when or where it happened.  I was devastated for about a week.  Couldn't even talk about it.  Slowly I came out of my slump to start looking for a solution.  "We'll have it restored", I say, "I know of just the place!"  Damn.  Turns out replacing diamonds and restoring antique jewelry is pretty pricey.  Also, turns out my daily wearing over the years warped the frame as well. It is in need of serious expert antique restoration and unfortunately that comes with a price tag out of the question for now.  Casey made the point that maybe it would be good to have some sort of "everyday" ring and once restored, my antique ring could be worn for special occasions.  Heart sank, even further this time, at the thought of not having my beautiful ring to look at everyday.  He was right though.  Yep, there I said it.  It is a fragile, very old item and issues are bound to arise if I continue to wear it every day.

If you must look...the damaged goods...

I searched every corner of the internet for something comparable in style but with an "everyday" price tag. After a couple of weeks of that obsessive behavior, I came to the realization that I was looking for my exact ring and the only place that it existed was in my closet, in a ziploc baggie, broken.  Sigh.  But then, a ray of light appeared, in the form of a great idea.  What if I had a replica made?  In sterling silver and cubic zirconia?  But where?  Who would do such a thing and not charge an astronomical fee?  The answer came quick, a little company in Australia started an online-only jewelry business ( to handle requests such as mine.  And at an affordable rate!  I provided original pictures of my ring, they provided me amazing CAD rendered images of what my replica would look like.  It was really an incredible process and their customer service was excellent.  They tended to my concern about choosing an online, oversees company for this project appropriately.  They made themselves available by live chat and by phone as numerous questions arose.  It took about 4 weeks total from start to finish.

I am a very happy camper in the end.  My replica is stunning!  Not only does it look exactly like my original ring but the quality is fantastic and even a trained eye might mistake the materials in my ring to be real stones and platinum.  And best of all, it's my ring!  Its directly connected to the original ring and our engagement/wedding story.  Earlier this week we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, I love you babe and my "new" ring.  It feels like it represents a new chapter for our journey together.  And at some point, we WILL have the original ring restored to its late 18th century glory and it WILL be worn for special occasions.

The CAD rendering from and my finished piece.

Every piece of jewelry holds a story, even if it's past history is a complete mystery.  I love this about jewelry and I am fascinated by the stories people share with me.  What story do you have about a favorite piece of jewelry?

The Launch of Elle Jay | Natural Jewelry Design House

Hello dear and faithful readers of my blog.  I have been busy!  My friend Jennifer Buchanan and I have dived head on into our jewelry making business.  Our logo is below.  Elle, "L", for Lisa.  And, Jay, "J" for Jennifer.

We had our first booth at Roots Retreat Music Festival last month.  It was a terrific, confidence-boosting event!  Our displays came together so beautifully, it really looked like a gallery when all was said and done.  Jennifer did an amazing job of hand building some gorgeous branch displays, mounted in stone. And, we sold jewelry!  Woohoo!  Festival pics below.

We had tons of positive feedback about our earthy-hipster, one-of-a-kind driftwood jewelry.  And it helped us launch into our next goal of having a website and online store.  I am happy to to report, that in just a few short weeks since the festival, we did just that. is now fully up and running, products and all!

Elle Jay Natural Jewelry seems to be taking on a life its own, in the best way.  Last week, we were interviewed by a reporter from the associated press.  That article will hit national outlets by next week.  What a thrill!  To say the least. And such a positive confirmation that we are on the right path. 

We now have our jewelry for sale at Rocky Mountain Gems and Fine Jewelry in Arvada, CO and at Common Threads in Boulder, CO.  We are talking with a gallery in Frisco, CO about showing our work as well.  And, as if all of that weren't enough, we are looking for places to show during the holidays!  Watch our website or Facebook page for up-to-date store and event information.

While my attention certainly has shifted to my own jewelry business activities, I will still continue to post here about other jewelry designers and things I find fascinating in the world of jewelry.