Marcia Kepler is a cool mom who had a really, really cool idea…
She came to us last fall to discuss redesigning her mother’s ring into jewelry that her twin daughters, who were turning 16, would love. She had a few design goals in mind when she came for our appointment but overall, the session was very much a brainstorming one where we talked through various options and aesthetics that might work. By the end of our session we had a beautiful concept nailed down that I was excited to see some to fruition. And, the final rings (and necklace) did not disappoint.
I recently sat back down with Marcia to talk about her design process and what went into her decision to create these special pieces for her daughters (and a bonus necklace for herself). Read on if you’re interested, and maybe come away with a few ideas of your own…
You came to us with a lovely diamond cocktail ring that clearly meant a lot to you. Tell us about the history of the original ring. Who did it belong to and how did you come to have it?
Marcia: The ring had belonged to my father’s mother, who had given it to my mom, who gave it to me when I was in high school. I remember being excited (DIAMONDS!!) but didn’t appreciate the setting and history until I had kids of my own probably some 25 years later.
What inspired you to create something custom for your daughters?
Marcia: Because it was such a traditional setting, and I had twin daughters, I wanted to both modernize it for them, and ensure they both got a piece of the same history. My mother died seven years before they were born, but I talked about her often to them, and they enjoyed hearing about their “Grandma Mickey.” So I was looking for something I knew they would wear and appreciate at their age, versus the experience I had, where it sat in a jewelry box more often than not.
Readers know that I love this type of idea. I think jewelry is only *truly* valuable when it is worn and appreciated so I am a big believer in creating pieces that can be adapted to a new generation. The story continues in the elements of the design!
Marcia: I agree. Using the diamonds from the ring was a great way to continue its story. I also couldn’t bring myself to give them every bit of the ring, so I opted to keep the middle stone and wear it as a necklace, as I felt like wearing the ring was a way of remembering her, and keeping her with me – and this way all three of us could share.
Was this to celebrate a special milestone?
Marcia: This was their 16th birthday gift from their dad and me.
What were your goals in the design, i.e., how do you see your daughters wearing them and what type of aesthetic did you want to achieve?
Marcia: I wanted to make the aesthetic more modern, and more durable. The girls play a lot of competitive soccer, so they are not prone to wearing lots of jewelry, unless it’s something they love – and it does take a bit of a beating with their activity level. Because they are identical twins, I wanted to make the rings VERY similar – nearly identical at first glance – but have slight differentiations if you look a little closer. The girls have always liked yellow and blue as favorite colors so we ended up adding a sunny yellow sapphire and a Ceylon blue sapphire to honor their birthstones. One likes silver metal, the other gold metal, so it was easy to make them different in that way, but the setting itself was important to me as well, in terms of “same but different.”
Working with you was great, you understood the concept immediately, and with an initial consult and only one small tweak in the CAD review, they came out perfect. The small diamonds from the original ring now “scatter” across each ring. The pattern of the rings is similar, but slightly different – just like the girls – and the setting is the perfect mix of modern, functional, and beautiful. The girls, who rarely wear jewelry on a regular basis, have worn them every single day since they received them.
I love hearing that! How did you give your daughters their rings?
Marcia: We had a 16th birthday dinner party for them with their friend. Once everyone except family and close friends had left, I made a quick speech about the girls and what the rings meant and what they had meant to me as a single ring, and then had them open them. The girls loved them, and a server there helping to start break down the party cried. It was pretty emotional.
You had such a poetic approach to designing your set. Tell us about the meaning behind the rose gold pendant we made.
Marcia: The rose gold pendant is the center diamond from the ring, placed inside a circle, with two other small diamonds sort of “scattered,” again, within the circle. To someone just seeing it, it looks a bit like a moon and two stars. But to me it represents my mom, myself, and my sister, Rachel.
How did you know Alx&Co. was the right choice for your project?
Marcia: I did a lot of online research, and liked the story of how the business came to be – from more of a silversmith, to now silversmithing and ring designing. There was a history there, and it was more personal than most jewelry stores. I found only excellent reviews, and when I walked in and started working with you, I felt 100 percent confident you understood my needs, and could work with me collaboratively to make these rings phenomenal.
Can you describe your design process in one word?
Marcia: FUN! It’s more words, but I wish that I had more money, so I could make more! Maybe next year!
Thank you, Marcia!
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.