Design Thinking

My problem: Making a custom made ring

The problem was I wanted a Green Lantern ring of my very own. Now you can get green lantern rings online but many of them are made out of plastic or other cheap materials and are not of very high quality. That’s why I wanted something a little nicer and needed one custom made. But I don’t know anything about making jewelry so what was I to do?

In comes Miranda Scott. Miranda and her friend Talia own their own business, Alchemy House Jewelry, where they make and sell their own jewelry as well as taking custom orders if someone wants something specific. They also teach classes if someone wants to learn how to make their own jewelry.

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After I decided on the design I wanted, as there have been different variations on the green lantern ring over the years, I told Miranda what I was looking for and off she went to work. A few weeks later I had my ring.

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I sat down and did an interview with Miranda to find out a bit about her and her business and what goes into making these pieces of jewelry.

The Interview

What got you interested in making jewelry?

I started with beads, arts and crafts in high school. I did craft shows. The metal arts guild of Canada website helped me to discover schools. I went to York to study and I discovered silver smithing/ metalsmithing at George Brown College.

How do people approach you about making jewellery?

People email or come into the shop, my works been featured or I’ve posted on, buzz feed, when geeks wed and reddit.

When people approach you to have something made what kind of information do they give you?

They tell me their budget, which tells me what kind materials I can use. They tell me what kind of design they want. When I ask them questions I try to use terminology that people will understand like art nouveau or retro or modern.

Do you have to do further research?

Not so much research, but working independently to figure things out and refine details.

What kind of preparations do you do?

Sketching, wax mock-ups, colour renderings. I like to experiment try different things and see what works.

What does the process involve?

Setting the stones, polishing the metal. We use files, torches for saudering. As well as using drills, hammers and saws.

Do you ever have to make alterations?

Sometimes. I can fix the size, but I won’t change stones.

Are there any finishing touches you put on?

Polishing the jewelry, and putting the jewelry into Craft paper boxes for the customer.

Do you have anyone that inspires you?

Todd reed, Barbra Henrick, Michael David Sterling. I draw inspiration from these people. I like looking at stones they like to use and using those stones in own work.

I hope this gives you better idea of who Miranda is and what kind of work she does. As well as telling you a bit about the design process and how you can approach thinking about design. Both Miranda and Talia do awesome work. If your interested in buying some jewelry be sure to check out their website, you can find it here:

 http://www.alchemyhousejewellery.com

All images except for Green Lantern ring photo are from alchemy house jewellery’s website and used with permission. Green Lantern ring photo belongs to myself.

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