New Ruby Ring

Here you go, my lovelies.  What shall we call it?

I’ll list this later today.

And now I am going to take a nap, because I am le tired.

*Le yawn*

Stones · Studio

New Ruby pendant

Look!  Look at the new pretty!


A 1.52 ct  SI Ruby, set in a slightly Etruscan-looking handforged setting. I’m not sure “Ruby” should be capitalized, but I’ve decided that’s how we’re going to roll at Vaka Design.  Rubies deserve it.

Beautiful Rubies glow.  That, with their color, is what they are prized for (is there any royal crown, in the history of ever,  which doesn’t include a ruby?).  The silky glow for which rubies are famous is caused by tiny threads of the mineral rutile, which  are naturally occurring in the stone.  Rutile is terrifically refractive and highly dispersive.  In common speak?  Rutile does awesome things with light.  Rutile’s natural inclusion in Ruby turns a red stone into a glowing, silky, gorgeous thing.  Thank you, rutile.

 I am really pleased with this, and have several other stones I intend to set similarly. In fact, I’ve decided to have a sapphire pendant in this style be the carrot for the Monster Bling contest.  More on that soon…..

Stones · Studio

Ruby and Aquamarine

Look at the new pretties!

Aquamarine cabochon and Ruby
Aquamarine cabochon and Ruby

I am so excited, and I know just what I’m going to do with these two.  I’m not going to tell you though, because I worry it would be too much for you.  You’d be so overwhelmed by all the potential awesomeness that you would fall to the floor, convulsing,  saying,  “No Katie!  The world can’t handle that awesomeness!  Don’t do it!”  I don’t want to do that to you, because I love you, blogosphere.  You’re welcome.

First, the aquamarine.  3.5 ct, glowy and the loveliest color.  I’ve been keeping my eye out for aquamarine cabochons, and loved this one.   A faceted aquamarine is all about cut and clarity and depth of color, but cabochons are about personality and color.  This one reminds me of the sea, and isn’t that what aquamarines are supposed to do?  A beautiful oceanic color, flecked with tiny swirls of minute black speckles.  It looks like a ladleful of ocean scooped up and turned to stone. Love. It.

The ruby. A 2.18ct Vs-SI Ruby.   My beautiful niece picked this out while I was up north.  She is seven, and after I ran down cut and color basics, I told her my price range and set her searching.  When she came up with this stone, I had to agree it was gorgeous.

(Thanks to Jake for the photo.  I was fixin’ to start swearing in frustration [which is good, as we now know], when Jake kindly took over the Vaka photography department.)

The challenge when stone shopping is finding a good mix of size, quality and price.   If I spent a thousand dollars per stone, I’d have an easy choice to make;  2 carat, thousand dollar rubies are all gorgeous.  But I want the stones I purchase to allow me to keep my prices reasonable, and most people can’t afford a piece of jewelry which holds a thousand dollar ruby.  I want my jewelry to be an attainable luxury.

While some of my pieces might be quite expensive, I want the majority of my collection to be affordable to a woman buying something beautiful for herself.  It may take her several months of saving before she can treat herself,  but she can purchase something of quality and beauty if she wishes to do so.  This means, at least for my ready-to-purchase designs, that a 2 ct thousand dollar ruby is out of the question.

I spend hours and hours searching the stock lists of vendors who I’ve found, through trial and error, to be reliable and honest.

This ruby has great color, but the cut is crooked….

That ruby has a terrific cut, but the color just doesn’t pop….

This one  has a gorgeous cut and gorgeous color, but a visible crack…

This one has great cut and color, but it’s too small for what I have in mind…

The process is a treasure hunt, and one I really enjoy.

After finding the best stone, I need to design the setting in a way which minimizes  the flaws, and maximizes the stone’s attributes. The designer’s job would be a no-brainer if every stone was a perfect 2 ct ruby, and cost was no matter!

This ruby is  lovely, but at 6.5 x 6.5 x 4.95 mm it is quite deep. That 4.95 mm means it will need a setting which allows for its depth, but also remain fairly open in the back.  If I closed in the back of the bezel, it would dramatically darken the stone’s gorgeous color, and that’s one of the best things about this stone, isn’t it?  I need my design to allow as much light as possible, hold the stone high, be sturdy (it’s holding a 2+ carat ruby for heaven’s sake), be comfortable to wear daily (I want my jewelry wearable), and be relatively affordable.  And while it’s meeting all those demands I want it gorgeous, too.  I want the wearer to be unable to take their eyes off it; I want it to be their perennial favorite.

It’s that problem-solving which makes my job so much fun.  I really love it.