Sam’s Custom Wedding Ring

Craft & Design

ring finished finger.jpg
MAKE magazine photo editor Sam Murphy is tying the knot this September (congrats Sam!) and she had her wedding ring custom-made based on her mother’s vintage 1901 ring. She worked with the talented Amanda Knox of RedStart Design, designers of fine custom jewelry. The process and the end result are fascinating. Here is Sam’s mom’s original ring:
sams moms ring.jpg
Sam wanted a slightly different variation retaining the classic etching but using red sapphires instead of diamonds. Amanda first made a sketch and then a CAD drawing:

ring-sketch.jpg ring-cad.jpg

The finished ring was then sent to fifth-generation Armenian metalsmith and engraver Hratch Nargizian, who hand-engraved the designs onto the ring. Here’s another look at the gorgeous final handmade creation:
ring finished front.jpg

20 thoughts on “Sam’s Custom Wedding Ring

  1. Anonymous says:

    GORGEOUS RING! Thank so much for the inspiration!

  2. Natalie Zee Drieu says:

    Just beautiful! It’s so cool to see the process.

  3. Gareth Branwyn says:

    What an insanely beautiful ring, Sam! Congrats.
    Isn’t it fun to be involved in designing your own ring? When I got married, my wife and I designed our rings and had a jeweler friend make them. No one had rings even remotely like ours, which we loved.

  4. Mary says:

    Wow, this ring is GORGEOUS!!! May the marriage be as beautiful and long-lasting as the jewelry.

  5. Katie says:

    What metal is the ring made of?

  6. Sam Murphy says:

    Thank you everyone for the well wishes and compliments. To answer your question, Katie, the metal is platinum.
    It looks HUGE in these photos. The metal between the stones, with the engraving looks so sparkly, it looks like diamonds in between the red sapphires.
    It was a very fun process, especially working with Sara and Amanda from Red Start. I felt like I was working in a new medium!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The ring is lovely, and good for you for using a gem other than a diamond. I also have a custom made ring that has an aquamarine, and I love it. Congrats.

  8. blufindr says:

    It’s absolutely gorgeous!
    One random nitpick: Are red sapphires not more commonly called rubies?

  9. Bob says:

    I love the way these stones are pressure set. The detail on top is beautiful … Just want to point out that sapphires come in MANY colors … but when corundum is red it is ALWAYS called Ruby … not red sapphire. Congratulations … best wishes to you and your husband!

  10. Sara says:

    Hi Bob!
    You are correct that sapphires and rubies have the same crystal structure – they are both corundum. And yes, red corundum is called ruby and all other colors of corundum are called sapphire.
    In the last decade it has become relatively common to find sapphires that are heat treated in the presence of other elemental ions (often beryllium I think) to increase the saturation of the color and add a yellow tone to it. This process can turn a dull green sapphire into an intense yellow color, or a light pink sapphire into a saturated red color. Thus the red sapphire has been born – it is an essentially red colored stone, with slight orange overtones. Generally this stone has an amazing clarity (it maintains the original clarity of the light pink stone) that would be exceedingly expensive to match in a ruby, and has none of the pink overtones usually associated with rubies. In the gem trade world it would be misleading to just call this stone a ruby because that implies that its red color is 100% naturally occurring and thus it should cost over an order of magnitude more then the red sapphire. A red sapphire is usually priced maybe 20% higher then the price of the pink sapphire from which it originated.
    I certinaly don’t think you’d be wronge to call these stones rubies; however, calling them red sapphires privides a bit of context to their origins!
    Partner, RedStart Design

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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