I loved Abby’s story of growing up in Iowa and preparing to leave her home behind for the wonderful opportunity to travel for work. I wanted to create a ring inspired by her interests and her life in Iowa—something that would remind her of home. While keeping this in mind, my main objective was to design a wearable piece that fit Abby’s style: minimal, modern, and simple.
To achieve a look that captured the simplicity that characterized Abby’s fashion sense, I looked to her scientific background for my vision and used the DNA double helix form to influence my ring design. One continuous line wraps around and twists into a contemporary shape to hold the center stone. Two small channel set diamonds are positioned beneath the sapphire, serving a functional purpose of holding the ring together and adding a bit of sparkle to be seen from certain angles. The result is light, dainty, and current.
Knowing that geology was one component of Abby’s degree, I found inspiration for her ring’s details in the geology of her home state. Iowan land was under water for much of its billion-year long history, and the continental plate on which Iowa sits wandered around the globe, gathering sediment layers that hold clues to its intriguing past. On the winding shank of Abby’s ring, I set jewels graduating in intensity from deep purple to light violet sapphires and finally to clear diamonds, mirroring the subtle color changes of sediment layers. The side profile of the ring is also hand-engraved in an undulating pattern to reflect the way sediment layers are seen in a cross-section of Iowan earth.
I chose to cast the ring in platinum, knowing that the engraving would endure the test of time because platinum’s natural patina can be beautiful and it doesn’t require rhodium plating like white gold. Given the sentimental value of the center stone, I also felt platinum was the right choice to hold it most securely.
Considering Abby’s environmental career, it was important to use sustainable materials. If possible, I would reuse the platinum from Abby’s mother’s brooch, and if not, I’d use recycled platinum so that no new metal would be mined. The accent sapphires are sourced from Montana, where they are natural, untreated, and mined responsibly. The accent diamonds are sourced from Canada, where they have strict environmental standards.
Chelsea Knights is a designer with Mark Schneider Design in Long Beach, California.