By Irina Missiuro
The ring that won the Custom Design Distinction in the 2018 MJSA Vision Awards conveys just that—an atmosphere of tranquility and peace. But, as we know all too well, the road to greatness is paved with grit. In this case, victory entailed some mind changes and revisions. In the end, it was all worth the trouble.
Intuition can be a powerful motivator. Just ask Victor Hararuk of Victor Hararuk Jewelry Designs in Kiev, Ukraine. He was mid-way through a custom project when his intuition told him he was going down the wrong path. Fortunately, he took an alternative route, which led to his win.
His client was a woman who envisioned an elegant ring evoking nature—one that would remind her of the tranquil sky, air, and ocean. At the same time, she insisted on a specific design featuring a perfectly round bezel, straight and clean lines, and a see-through blue topaz. Hararuk adhered to her requests when he made his many sketches. After showing some of them to the client, he began bringing the sketch she chose to life.
However, almost at completion, Hararuk realized he couldn’t finish the model. Doing so would mean he was ready to sacrifice beauty and his own understanding of good design in favor of keeping the job. “So simple… Too simple,” Hararuk remembers thinking about the ring. “No vibrations, no rhythm.” Hararuk wanted his client to be happy with the result, but he also was looking to introduce some originality and an element of surprise. He decided to take a chance by standing his ground.
“Under such circumstances, it’s necessary to find the solution where beauty will prevail, but the client’s ego won’t suffer,” he explains. Hararuk knew that he had to add that certain je ne sais quoi to make the design pop and attain some personality. In short, he needed to supply the missing element—his own point of view. He tore up the first sketch and started over.
Instead of the old round sphere, the ring was now an oval, surrounded by gemstone-encrusted “waves.” To achieve a more natural look, the designer bent the ring’s edges and raised the center stone, which was swapped as well.
Hararuk felt the ring should have a less transparent gem than the original blue topaz. He decided on a 43-carat chalcedony, which was more “cloudy” and “mysterious”: Unlike with the topaz, one could not see through the chalcedony. “The eye stops and rests on the stone, which draws you in,” Hararuk says. He liked that the new stone left some room for interpretation, allowing the observer to pause and imagine what’s beneath the murkiness.
The designer found the new center stone in Kostia Zalitko’s collection. The Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine–based cutter, whose company is called Konstantin Z, “is the best color stone cutter I know,” says Hararuk. He located the rest of the stones (106 diamonds, 1.4 ctw; 202 blue and green sapphires, 2.9 ctw) at the Tucson gem shows.
The new design featured “a very organic combination of simple form and soft lines,” he says.
“No matter how you rotate a sphere [the original shape], you will see the same thing from every angle. The waves, on the other hand, offer a pleasant rhythm.” Once the drawing was complete, Hararuk was very excited to show it to the client. He was also very nervous, considering the new ring’s major differences from the original.
He needn’t have worried, though. The client silently examined the redesign for a while, but ultimately ended the torturous suspense with an exclamation, “How beautiful! This is what I wanted!” She had some reservations regarding whether or not Hararuk would be able to replicate the sketch exactly, but felt more at ease when the designer assured her that the ring would look just as it did on the paper.
The client was so enthusiastic that she wanted the piece “as quickly as possible,” but the process took about a month. When she finally received the finished ring, Hararuk received “a lot of compliments.” Listening to his intuition paid off—both with the client and with the Vision Award judges.