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New Milton
Hampshire
England

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Workbench Blog

Welcome to my workbench blog!

If you are interested in what happens behind the scenes in my studio and the stories behind some of my latest custom designs then hopefully you will find this fruitful!

If you are thinking about working with me on something unique then I would strongly recommend you give this a read as it details my clients individual stories, form all around the globe!

Three Colours: Blue

FRAN BARKER

jewellery design

This natural Ceylon sapphire ring was designed for another of my Instagram followers last month. Kate knew exactly what she wanted; a sapphire ring set mimosa style to remind her of the film Three Colours Blue, in which there is a mobile of blue beads that is hung in the window to reflect different lights.

Wanting to depict an intensity of colours I opted for natural Ceylon sapphires and sourced some that reflected differently in each light; from a powerful blue to purple tanzanite colours. We opted for white gold to bring out the cool shades and compliment the stones, letting them speak for themselves.

I loved the powerful colours the five sapphires helped create in this ring, enhanced further by the white gold mimosa setting. The ring has since arrived in Australia with Kate who says she is “honoured to own such a stunning piece”. Once again, I’m blessed to have the privilege to work with such fantastic clients! 

ceylon sapphire ring

When Mimosa meets Peacock

FRAN BARKER

Stone setting Fran Barker Design

Samantha contacted me wanting to transform her diamond engagement ring into a statement ring that she could wear comfortably every day blending both the Mimosa and Peacock collections.

With the size of Samantha’s little fingers in mind, the challenge was to make sure proportions were spot on, maintaining its comfort. Designs were sent back and forth and a lot of conversations were had to ensure we had this design spot on.  With Samantha’s engagement ring on its way to me from Washington, I had to search for a large pear shaped cabochon amethyst and then a small sapphire, emerald and amethyst to sit with this and the three diamonds Samantha already owned. The colours needed to be really vibrant, as even the little stones needed to make a big impact.  

Statement Ring

The engagement ring arrived and the diamonds were beautiful. Being able to position all the stones together, meant we could tweak the designs slightly to perfect it even more, ensuring sizing and colours all matched harmoniously.  We decided to go for 18ct yellow gold but keep the diamonds in white gold to help maintain their vibrancy amongst the other stones.

Making this, felt like making a little sculpture. I loved that it had a slight art nouveau feel as this is a style I particularly love. Bringing Mimosa and Peacock together was something I was looking forward to and the result was a piece I felt truly proud of.  

Amethyst Ring

Magpie Kate

FRAN BARKER

Moonstone and Diamond Ring

This beautiful moonstone mimosa set was created for one of my Instagram followers. I've come to know her as 'Magpie Kate'. She fell in love with a moonstone and wanted to incorporate it into a new piece using sentimental diamonds and gold from existing jewellery. 

Loving the two piece rings sets, my client chose mimosa style and wanted to bring together these elements for a one-of-a-kind, multi wearable stacking set. 

Once designs were drawn up and agreed, we decided we needed another diamond for the set. First came the job of sourcing a diamond to match the 2 we already had, to balance out the design. The sentimental diamonds she had were beauties and so I was eager to find one of equal charm, colouring and cut so that they all blended together and looked like the perfect set we were hoping for. Having built a fantastic base of quality diamond suppliers over the years, we were able to match my clients stone impeccably to the point where we couldn't even tell them apart...perfect result! Having already selected a moonstone from my collection, we were ready to rock and roll! 

Gold

Using and recycling my clients own gold is always a fun process involving melting the metal down into a yummy ingot. Once melted down, the process of drawing down into wire or sheet form begins. You slowly watch the metal transform from a stubby little chunk into a refined, shaped wire ready to form either the shank or settings. 

Eager and excited to see the finished piece, Magpie Kate was kept in the loop with all the stages. I was sending photos straight from the bench, as her set was made. Some people like to see this process and Kate found the processes fascinating, always excited to receive more progress shots. As always, I like to leave the grand unveiling until the moment it is collected or received so I was absolutely delighted to hear when she received it, it was exactly what she was hoping for and she was over the moon with the finished result. What I love about transforming old into new is that I can take a ring that's sat in a box and rework the whole thing into a cherished piece that will be worn as it should be, whilst keeping its sentimental value. 

diamond ring process
Moonstone
Moonstone and Diamond Ring