9ct White Gold Cairngorm Quartz Engagement Ring
Last year, I was commissioned to make this gorgeous 9ct White Gold, Cairngorm Quartz Engagement Ring. My client wanted an elegant ring with a Scottish/English theme, perhaps using some Scottish and English stones to represent where the couple are respectively from. I love commissions, especially engagement rings and stone set pieces as they take me out of my comfort zone and give me a chance to practice my stone setting skills. This ring was particularly interesting as I ended up learning a lot about gemstones and got to meet my suppliers in person, which was lovely.
After an initial discussion with my client, I made up some mood boards and sent a few sketches via email, to give an idea of how styles and colours would sit and began looking into the different types of stones available. It was important to use gemstones that we could trace back to Scotland in England. We found Scottish Amethysts, Cairngorm Quartz, Elie Garnets as well as Tayside Agate but didn't have much luck with English stones. We thought about Hematite or Whitby Jet and found out that the Middle of England is apparently famous for Fluorite, but decided that these weren’t quite right for an engagement ring.
In the end, the client decided on Cairngorm Quartz. Cairngorm is the traditional name given to Scotland's national gem: quartz from the mountainous regions of Scotland. Cairngorm Quartz has been well documented from the medieval period onwards and was considered to be a sacred stone. A quartz crystal was owned by many Highland clans, the gem was seen as talisman holding magical, healing properties. We decided on the Cairngorm Quartz since it is found here in Scotland and available in a wonderful range of earthy “Scottish” tones which are all completely natural. I was also able to source Cairngorm Quartz locally rather than online, from suppliers who found the raw stone themselves, meaning there as full traceability from stone to supplier.
I managed to source a 6mm round Cairngorm Quartz from a supplier in Edinburgh- a beautiful Smokey Quartz with grey/brown hues, found by the suppliers themselves from Highland Perthshire. Originally we wanted three round stones but struggled to find the right size, so to sit alongside large round quartz, I sourced two gorgeous, smaller oval quartz from a lovely supplier in Fife, who again had found the raw stone himself in the highlands of Scotlands. The smaller stones were a clearer quartz, with champagne hues which reflected the light beautifully.
The finished ring
To complement the stones we went for a classy, elegant 9ct White Gold band and setting with a bit of a vintage feel. Something simple which would show off the Quartz. Since we didn’t manage to tie in the Scotland/England theme with the stones I tracked down a wonderful vintage ring box from a jewellery shop which was around in Leeds in the 1920s, a nod to where the couple now live together.
I love the way the stones reflect the light, the colours and the hues are forever changing. The white gold band has been left it’s natural colour rather than rhodium plated which I think looks lovely and ties in well with the earthy tones of the Quartz.
Not only was this an interesting commission in terms of learning about stones, it was also, probably one of the biggest secrets I have had to keep. The ring was made for one of my best friends, who said yes by the way, and I can’t wait to make the wedding rings this year!