Background to the competition
As an approved retailer of CanadaMark diamonds, we were very excited last year when we heard that Dominion Diamond Corporation planned to create a CanadaMark Jewellery Competition.
Every CanadaMark diamond is mined in Canada and is laser-inscribed with a unique tracking number, which allows a buyer to trace the stone back to its mine of origin. This supply chain transparency fits perfectly with our own commitment to ethical sourcing, and we are delighted to offer CanadaMark diamonds to our clients.
For the inaugural CanadaMark design award, Dominion Diamond Corporation decided that the competition should focus on diamond rings, set with one of more CanadaMark diamonds, to a maximum retail value of US$5,000 excluding sales taxes (equivalent to a maximum UK retail price of about £4,300 inc VAT).
From all of the designs that would be submitted, Dominion Diamond Corporation would shortlist just fifteen, and then the winning design is to be chosen by the general public, through a voting process on the CanadaMark website. The most popular ring will be purchased by Dominion, and given as a prize to one of the winning voters.
Initial Design Ideas
We tasked our head of design, Hayley Zierold, with taking charge of our competition entry, and in October last year, she started exploring a number of different design ideas. We were looking for something special, that would show off the diamond to its fullest, and reference the Canadian provenance of the stone, while allowing our craftsmen to showcase their exceptional talents.
After much discussion within the team, we settled on a design that would incorporate a maple leaf on each shoulder to reference the Canadian theme, and makes the most of traditional craftsmanship, including a fine mill-grain edge around a diamond cluster, and a hand engraved shank.
Our chosen design
We decided that the ring should be made in Fairtrade 18ct white gold, and that the maple leaves would be cast into the shoulders of the ring, before being finished by hand. The shank of the ring would be hand engraved, and a cluster of smaller diamonds would surround the central diamond. A delicate gallery of petal frames support the diamond cluster, let in light and encase the central diamond which can be seen through the gallery.
We submitted our entry just before Christmas 2015, and we were delighted to hear in January this year that our design has been shortlisted as one of the final fifteen!
Having been shortlisted, we now needed to create a stunning ring! First, we needed to find the perfect diamond. The design required a round brilliant cut, and based on design and value of the ring, we focused on stones of about half a carat. We wanted a stone that would not look tinted against the white gold, and we wanted it to look flawless to the naked eye. Eventually we settled on a stunning 0.5ct diamond, GIA-certified as G-colour, VS2 clarity, Excellent cut, Excellent polish, and Very Good symmetry. It is an absolutely stunning stone, and wonderfully complimented by the twelve 1.6mm round cut Canadian diamonds surrounding it in our design!
CAD, wax and casting
While we were busy finding the perfect diamonds for our ring, we also moved from pencil sketches of our design to using CAD (Computer Aided Design) to create a 3D model of the ring.
Once our mounters and setters had approved the CAD model, we used a 3D printer to build a wax model, from which we cast the various different components of the ring in certified Fairtrade 18ct white gold.
Mounting, setting and finishing
The cast pieces were cleaned up and assembled by our mounters, to create basic form of the ring, which was then sent to be hallmarked at the London Assay Office, before our setters began their work.
The finished masterpiece
Once all of the diamonds had been set, the engraved details were added by hand, and the ring was given its final polish!
On Tuesday, a courier has whisked the finished ring off to Canada, where it will be photographed and displayed on CanadaMark’s website ready for voting.
Fingers crossed, and good luck to all the other entrants!