When Paul Rose, head of the National Geographic Pristine Seas project, came to Cred with some bits of Antarctic rock and asked us to make his engagement and wedding rings we said ‘YES!-We can deal with the technical challenges later.’
The Pristine Seas project explores and helps to protect the last wild parts of the ocean. Paul has worked in the extremes of the natural world-the hottest, coldest, wildest and most challenging places on earth. He knows first-hand that these places are often the most fragile. The North and South Poles show the effects of global warming faster than most other parts of the planet, and so much of these vital areas are still unexplored and unknown.
Paul was the Base Commander for the British Antarctic Survey for 10 years and was awarded the Queen’s Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he received the US Polar Medal. He even has an Antarctic mountain was named after him!
For his wedding he wanted something unique, that respected and celebrated the natural world he loves. A small piece of Xenolith, containing Peridot crystals from Mount Erebus, was the starting point for his fiancée Joelle’s engagement ring.
The tiny crystals were separated from their bedrock and the best 8 were selected to be cut and polished by hand. A total of 17 facets or sides was painstakingly cut into each crystal to give it shape and sparkle. Every facet needed to be precisely positioned and then polished (a different cutting and polishing tool was used for each process), before they could be set in our Otilia ring. We enlisted the help of Roger Dunkin, Head of Lapidary at gemstone cutting and sourcing specialist Holts in London, to carry out this complex task with patience and skill.
Paul came to Cred because he wanted Fairtrade Gold from Peru, sourced directly from our partner mines. He understood that the connection between people and their environment is not lost or hidden in our jewellery. A Lab Grown Diamond completed Joelle’s Otilia ring, giving it a reduced Carbon footprint.
For their wedding rings Paul and Joelle gave us some “Erebus” crystals from the slopes of Mount Erebus, the only Volcano in the Antarctic. The mottled black obsidian gem is a type of Feldspar. Paul and Joelle tasked us with designing court rings with these crystals randomly dotted around the bands.
We made silver samples of the rings first to let Joelle and Paul try their rings on. The fragile nature of the stones used, meant that once made the rings would not be able to be altered. When they had signed off on the final design, we went into production. The Gold rings were 3D printed with the holes, ready to take the “Erebus” crystals. Roger rolled up his sleeves again and cut 26 long thin cylinders from the obsidian. He used diamond covered electroplated cutting wheels to carve the gems. They were then set into the bands and polished down until they sat flush against the curved surface of the rings.
We enjoy being part of every bespoke ring we make at Cred. We loved the process of working with Paul and designing for his Antarctic rocks. Now he and Joelle can look forward to a lifetime together, wearing their hearts on their fingers.