2022 flew by in a blink of an eye. Maybe when you turn 40, time flies faster?
In all honesty, turning 40 isn’t that big a deal; 40 ain’t 50, or 60, or 70, or… you get the picture. But still, I splurged on a pricier gift for the hubby when he turned 40 in March last year. And since June 2022, he’s been asking me what I want for my birthday. The first thing that came to mind? I wanted to go on a holiday. Desperately. I’ve not gone overseas for 5 years now. But with 2 young kids, and a particularly picky one, it was a challenging request.
What was my alternative? Nothing really. I am content with all the material things I have in my life.
I kept telling him I didn’t want or need anything, but he was adamant to get me something.
He initially offered to get me a watch, but I am not into watches. Yes, not even the expensive ones. Since I started using a mobile phone, I can count the number of times I’ve worn a watch with just 2 hands. So, I told him that it was pointless getting me a watch that I would likely never wear.
So what else did I want?
Sparkly gems of course. And naturally, I went back to my gem whisperer – Madly Gems. It’s been 7 long years since I got my engagement ring, so many things have changed. Madly Gems has expanded and moved to Ann Siang Road. There’s now even an experience center which educates you about the gemstones you might soon fall in love with. It was fancy and I loved that I got to see the roughs these sparkly beautiful gemstones were born out of. I know fully appreciate the phrase “diamond in the rough” or in this case “gemstone in the rough.”
But all these fancy upgrades aside, it was nice to catch up with Maddy who made time to help me with this new project and milestone in my life.
Fun. This is the part that never changed, the fun I had during the process of making my second bespoke ring. I’m more experienced now and I’ve been following Madly’s other bespoke projects and gemstone teasers, so I have built a mental library of what I like and didn’t like.
I’ve always seen other jewellery with bi-coloured gemstones and went “ooo, that’s so pretty” so I knew I wanted to see one up close when I was browsing Madly’s collection. While I was looking at the display cabinets showcasing different types of gemstones, two bi-coloured rectangle tourmalines caught my eye. So, I definitely wanted to try that on to see how I really felt about it once it was on my finger. The end result, while it looked good in the display cabinet and I love the dual tones, neither one felt right on my finger. It could be the cut, could be the colours, regardless of the reason, that was not it.
With this new ring, it was a slightly different experience as well. Why? Because instead of looking for just one rock, I was looking to create a story piece. Something that represented my family. A family that has grown from two to four.
This time I didn’t have a design in mind for the ring. I had specific gemstones I wanted included in the ring – the birthstones of my two sons. My eldest was born in February so I was looking for an amethyst to represent him. My youngest was born in October, and I could go with either opals or tourmalines.
Initially, I considered removing the Tanzanite from my engagement ring, but I still love my ring and I didn’t want to risk any chance of damaging it if I decide to reset it. So, I decided that I wanted to be able to stack the ring with my engagement ring to symbolise how they came into my life. Also, that would allow me to wear both rings together for a fancier occasion or to wear either ring individually. I also no longer have a fondness for large chunky rings.
With these parameters in mind, the hunt began.
What I learned:
- Small Amethysts are hard to find as they are usually found in big roughs and there’s a lot of wastage if jewellers were to cut them into tiny pieces
- I liked Tourmalines more than opals because they have a bigger variety of colours
- Tourmalines come in various colours and the bright blue ones are called Paribas and are very expensive. The brighter and bluer the stone, the more expensive they are.
- I always thought Topaz gemstones were always yellow or orange, but I was mistaken, they’re commonly blue! Yellow, and especially orange topaz stones are the rare and uncommon ones!
- If I wanted to stack the rings, then I cannot choose stones that are too large, or the rings when stacked will become too chunky.
- It’s also the first time I saw a cabochon up close. That is a gemstone that has been shaped and polished, as opposed to faceted, so it kinda looks like an opal.
- Your ring will get more and more comfy as the day passes because in the morning there’s water retention. I personally think that you should base the size on the comfort level when in the morning. But that’s just me.
There were three stones that really caught my eye while looking at Madly Gems’ collection of Tourmalines and Amethysts.
But they were all too big to be made into a stacked ring, so we went back to drawing board with smaller options.
Don’t knock ‘em. They may look tiny, but you can see differences in some pieces if you look close enough. And tiny gemstones are great supportive pieces that enhances a design and helps the jewellery become complete.
I did fancy the mid-sized tourmalines from Madly Gems’ collection. Two were in main competition for my heart. The round Tourmaline is bluer in it and so costs more than than triangle greenish-blue stone. But more expensive doesn’t always equal better. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?
Truth be told, I was surprised that I liked the triangle stone with more green than blue as I am big on blue. Plus the bluer stone was so shiny. But I ended up loving the shape and colour of the triangle Tourmaline more. What’s your preference?
We also ended up having a look at Aquamarine and Topaz stones too – my birthstone as well as my husband’s.
Once we picked out the gemstones we wanted to use for the ring, it’s time to design the ring. I am a very visual person. I really appreciated how quickly Madly Gems’ designer Hae Min came up with a design based on my feedback. Plus, to be able to see it on their iPads it really helped me decide there and then whether I loved the design or if certain aspects of the design didn’t impress me.
Voila… The birth of a new ring. Or at least an idea of one.
The process of creating my 40th birthday ring started in late October, so I know it would be impossible to collect my ring by my birthday in November. Bespoke rings take at least 2 months to craft from scratch and more for the complex projects I’m sure. I tried to be patient but I have to cop to it that I was always asking the poor Madly Gems team for updates on my ring. Now, even though I knew that most jewellers make it a point to only do one reveal, when the piece is ready for collection (this is so as not to spoil the surprise), but they kindly gave me a sneak peek…
Luckily for me, Christmas came early for me as my ring was ready to be picked up in early December, just before Christmas.
And here it is.
I love my new ring. Some days I wear both stacked together. Some days I wear them individually, one on each hand. Some days I wear just one ring.
My favourite right now is to wear the family ring on its own. It’s not too loud. I love the colourful playful design. And it reminds me of my family.
In fact, even before I saw the finished product, I started a new project with Madly Gems using the red packets I got from friends and family for my 40th birthday. But that deserves a post of its own so stay tuned.
What do you think? What is the perfect birthday present to celebrate a big milestone? Are you a fan of bespoke jewellery as well? Share your birthday shenanigans with us in the comments below.
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