Custom Made

The Making of: A Sanctuary

A clandestine octopus hidden in a tourmaline, a hand-etched ocean seascape bubbling under the surface, and a finalist at the 2021 Jewellers Association of Australia Awards.

This is Sanctuary.

Handcrafted by our talented jeweller and gemmologist, Velvet, this 18ct yellow gold, rubellite tourmaline, diamond, pink, yellow & orange sapphire, tsavorite & spessartine garnet, amethyst and tanzanite ring (phew!) makes a bold statement.

Here’s a little insight into how she was created.

Velvet's original Sanctuary sketch

Step 1: The Rubellite Tourmaline

For Velvet, the inspiration behind Sanctuary came from the gemstone itself – a 12.76ct oval rubellite tourmaline, measuring 16x12mm.

“The colour of that tourmaline instantly transported me to the ocean; those childhood memories of witnessing beautiful sea life, coral and anemones in a rainbow of colours, uncovering ‘hidden’ ocean secrets on the beach.”

From this feeling of nostalgia, Velvet’s original sketch was born.

This octopus is hand-carved onto the tourmaline

Step 2: Sourcing An Octopus

“While Sanctuary was centred around colour and colour blocking, I wanted the final piece to be really layered and have something a little ‘extra’ that would differentiate it from every other piece of jewellery. It had to reflect those childhood memories of wonder, with unique surprises and hidden details that were only visible to the wearer,” says Velvet.

“I’d also just watched ‘My Octopus Teacher’ on Netflix!”

Next step: Find the ideal octopus sketch, which was then hand carved directly onto the tourmaline gemstone.

Rubellite tourmaline with a halo of diamonds

Step 3: Setting the Diamonds

After the tourmaline was engraved, it was surrounded by a halo of diamonds, which were set on the bezel. Look a bit spiky? That’s because they’re upside down!

“We chose that technique so the rubellite tourmaline gemstone would almost appear to ‘float’ in the middle of the ring; just like the octopus in its sea of gemstones and treasure," says Velvet.

The pattern of gemstones

Step 4: Mapping the Gemstones

With so many different gemstones, it was essential for Velvet to get the pattern and colour blocking of Sanctuary’s band absolutely perfect.

This was initially mapped out on an extra CAD print and wax cast of the ring.

Step 5: Finishing the 'Shell'

The final ring ‘shell’ was completed and cast before any gemstones were set, excluding the ‘spiky halo’ of upside-down diamonds that would eventually surround the tourmaline.

At this stage, Velvet completed the final details by hand – adding a thin plate (or ‘sleeve’) to sit on the finger and cutting out a hole so that the octopus would be visible.

Step 6: A Hidden Ocean Scene

Time for Surprise #2 – a hidden ocean scene, designed and traced by hand onto the inside of the ring.

With this pattern complete, it was time for the ring to be finished and set with gemstones – the final white diamonds (again set upside down for a ‘spiky’ appeal), pink, orange & yellow sapphires, tsavorite & spessartine garnet, amethyst and tanzanite, all designed around the original rubellite tourmaline.

The final step was a hand engraving of Velvet’s ocean seascape.

TA DA. A ring with more hidden secrets than the ocean…

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Should you be inspired by one of our bespoke pieces, please book an appointment to discuss how we can create something special, just for you.

A clandestine octopus hidden in a tourmaline, a hand-etched ocean seascape bubbling under the surface, and a finalist at the Jewellers Association of Australia Awards. This is the story of Sanctuary.