We all have our favourites. Even when we're not supposed to! There are a fair few rings I've made over the past ten or so years, and of course there are bound to be some which stand out in my mind as being my favourites. There were a couple of frontrunners which had been in the lead for ages...until yesterday when an outside contender won the race.
A few weeks ago, I went to London (blog post coming soon, but in the meantime you can catch up by searching for #jewelleryhannahgoestolondon on Instagram!) and of course lots of jewellery shenanigans went down.
One of my favourite finds was a loose antique carnelian intaglio of a dragon (below, ring finger). I shared him on Instragram of course, and there was quite a bit of interest. Through conversations with my customers, the dragon - or sea-serpent - came to be referred to as Cecil, and the name Cecil has stuck!
When I got back to my workshop, I showed Cecil to my husband who fell immediately in love. Now, my husband sees a lot of jewellery coming and going and most of the time is fairly sanguine about it all. But there was something about Cecil which stole his heart. Various twists of fate meant that the Instagram sales fell through, much to the delight of my husband!
So, for his birthday yesterday, I made him a custom hand-carved signet ring from solid 9ct yellow gold, with Cecil as the centrepiece. It took me seven hours to forge, saw, file, shape and finally sand down the tapered ring band and setting.
You could say a labour of love, but everything I make is a labour of love anyway! It's not that I have anything against cast rings, but personally I adore the fact that each of my handmade rings is a true one-off. Like when you pick up an antique piece of pottery, sometimes you can see the fingerprints of the maker still in the clay even after the firing. With my rings, I love how you can see gentle undulations in the metal which are formed because I use only my eyes to measure, and a softness of form which can only be found in something which is truly made by hand.
And even though more difficult, more involved and - some might say - a waste of time and more old fashioned, that's just the way I roll.