Princess Diana would be so proud. Not only did Prince William give her heirloom ring to his new fiancée, Kate Middleton, when he proposed in October, but the late Princess Diana is still a fashion icon inspiring new trends.
Kate’s engagement ring, which once belonged to Diana, is an oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Jewelers say sapphires are now "back in" thanks to the revival of Diana’s ring.
While Robin Critchell, a long-time Krombholz Jewelers client, says she wasn’t necessarily influenced by the royal family’s crown jewels, she did recently repurpose an old sapphire ring.
Critchell’s sapphire was set in quite a contemporary setting, but she wanted it to reflect her love for estate jewelry instead. "I designed it to actually look older than it really is," says Critchell.
She was inspired by another piece of estate jewelry she had that featured a blossom of diamonds with intricate filagree ornamental work. Critchell brought that in to Krombholz, along with photos she clipped from estate jewelry magazines.
She worked with Brad, an estate jewelry specialist at Krombholz, and Lee, owner and designer at Krombholz, to design what she calls the "perfect piece." Once Lee had the sketches, magazine clippings and ideas from Critchell, he developed a CAD design, short for computer aided design. Then, he made a wax model to help Critchell visualize the design.
Once she approved, the ring was designed and Critchell got to experience her favorite part of the custom design process: the big reveal. "It’s exciting because you have a visual in your mind of what it’s going to look like," says Critchell "but you never know until you open that box."
When asked if it was the "perfect piece" after the big reveal she said it definitely was, and she’s already plotting her next repurposing project at Krombholz. "Every project," she says, "is like a new member of your family coming into your jewelry box."