Meet Your Designer, Ashley

April 17th, 2020
Categorized under: Designers

Ashley Yates is inspired by the beauty of nature. Explore her floral and landscape designs

It’s not just our couples who have many sources for the inspiration for their unique custom rings, our designers find inspiration all around them and use those experiences to make one-of-a-kind design elements. Designer Ashley shares how her hobbies are an extension of the unique details in her custom work at the studio, her couples’ favorite ring styles, and how you can make your custom ring represent your own passions.

-Finding Florals-

The beauty of the natural world has always been a big inspiration for my artwork. Two of my great loves are spending time in and photographing nature and creating jewelry, so it is exciting when I get to bring those two loves together into the creation of a nature inspired piece of jewelry.

Ashley’s Floral Photography

Floral elements are a great way to bring nature into your design and they can be used in so many ways. Flowers have a beautiful symmetry that I find mesmerizing, and it shows up a lot in my photography. This symmetry and the patterns that flowers create help inspire many of my designs. 

Flowers can be included in a design literally by recreating that flower in metal, or figuratively by inspiring the stone placement of a cluster setting or a halo design. 

You can make the flower as bold as the centerpiece of the design, or you can subtly add it into the details, for example, within an engraving pattern.

-Mountain Meadows-

Including a natural element can be done for the pure beauty of the piece or to symbolize something important. Natural elements are often included in designs to remind clients of joyful moments, places, or people in their lives that have inspired them to commit to each other. A specific element can represent their partner who they are choosing to spend their life with, their lost loved one, a place they met, a culture that makes them who they are, or just a favorite flower that brings them joy.

Ashley’s Hiking Photography

Not all natural designs have to be organic and rustic. Nature is filled with many geometric and symmetrical motifs that have helped inspire many of my designs. You can bring a natural element into your design in a very literal way, by adding a mountain, waves, a flower, or rustic tree bark texture. Just the way nature comes in many forms, how you include it in your design can vary in many ways too.

The petals of a flower can become the inspiration for a halo, or the pattern of a vine can become the band of your ring.

One of my favorite client designs that took inspiration from nature was a piece we created around a one-of-a-kind Montana sapphire with rutile line patterns. Rutile is most often found in quartz and is very rare to find in sapphire.

This sapphire was hand-cut here in our studio, and when a client came in looking for a unique stone, I knew just the one to show him. He fell in love with the stone and knew it would be perfect for his soon-to-be fiance. I knew that a special gemstone like this needed a special home, so I used the pattern of the rutile to inspire the band design. The piece turned out beautifully and was a big hit with the recipient. Clean and bold geometry modeled after the sapphire made this design very modern.

-Animal Friends-

I love when couples have a meaningful animal or pet that they want to include in their piece. It’s totally possible to include an animal element in your design! As a dog mom myself, I totally get the effect that animals can have on us and why people want to include them in the special moments of their lives.

An animal can be the focal point of the design like a few of the feather designs I’ve had the pleasure of working on, or can also be simple accent incorporated into the design. I love the challenge of subtly including an animal detail into a design! 

This owl ring I created with a client a few years ago is another one of my favorites. We added the face of an owl on the side face of the ring, where she will see it everyday, but won’t be obvious to every person viewing the ring. It’s almost like a little secret that only she knows is there.

-Winter Mountains-

Ashley’s Mountain Photography

As Pacific Northwesterners, many of our clients have a strong relationship with the mountains and want to incorporate them into their designs. My first summer in Seattle I went hiking every single weekend, and I still try to get out to the mountains at every chance I get. I just can’t get enough of being in nature and exploring this beautiful part of the world. The mountains and forest inspire me everyday and I love when I get to access that inspiration to create a custom piece for a client.

One of the best parts about creating a custom ring is that you can include a place that is special to you and your special someone. Many of my clients love the mountains and spending time in them is a big part of their relationship. Very often, each couple has a special place and specific mountain range that means something to them. 

Working from your photo references taken on your adventures, it’s easy to personalize a design with a place meaningful to you. By sketching the design and place to scale, you’ll get a visual translation of what that scene looks like in millimetre dimensions on your finger.

Send Ashley your favorite inspiration photo from your adventures to start a custom design. Perhaps you’d like to design with a favorite flower, your local hiking spot, or even snapshots from a meaningful trip!

-Around The Sound-

I’m lucky enough to work with a super talented team of crafts people that can bring these location-inspired designs to life, whether by carving the scene into wax or by manipulating fine filigree wire by hand to create the scene. Even though jewelry is a very miniature scale, we can include small details in the design that make it unique to a specific place.

Ashley’s Kayaking Adventure Photography

-Designing at Home-

Three-Stone Rings

One of my favorite designs to work with is the three-stone style. Symmetry is one theme that has always been present in my artistic expressions. Since three-stone styles inherently incorporates a symmetry into the design, they quickly became one of my favorite styles to work with.

Adding side stones to a design can elevate it from a simple classic feel to a more unique and substantial piece.

Another thing I love about three-stone designs is that they can span the range of styles. They can be antique with trillion side-stones accompanied by ornate engraving, or they can be modern and streamlined with a bezel-set trio of geometric stones. They can be classic and timeless like an emerald center with baguette sides that accentuate the linear cuts of the center gem. Orientations of the side-stones make for distinctive variations too.

Finding the right accent for the center stone is key to a successful three-stone design. Some center stones call for a gradual and graceful tapering away from the stone, which can be provided by trillion or pear cut stones.

Another way to make the center diamond stand out as the focal point is adding small side stones to create a framing effect. This helps keep the focus on the center stone and even opens up the opportunity to flow into additional diamond accents.

The addition of another color to the mix is a popular method to build off the center stone to create a trio of gemstones. A pair of beautifully matched blue sapphires makes these two designs, with a similar color feature, feel so very different.

Three-Stone Sketching With Inspiration From
The Green Lake Jewelry Gem Lab

1.51 Carat Round Diamond

Center diamond – STR103196N
Excellent Cut | G Color | VS1 Clarity View this Diamond

0.31 Cwt Pear Cut Diamonds

Side stones – APX55023

A pierced ring design builds off the mix of geometry created with a vertical arrangement of a round brilliant center and two pear shaped diamonds. This unique north-south orientation of the diamonds creates space for unique elements, like rose gold floral patterns and tapering diamonds with milgrain accent, to descend down the shoulders of the ring.

2.04 Carat Pink Sapphire

Center stone – AGI96200A
View this Sapphire

0.77 Cwt Step-Cut Trapezoid Diamonds

Side stones – MOR11042C

This classic and understated three-stone sketch plays with subtle details to create a perfect design. A curved taper of the platinum band builds off the framing of step-cut trapezoid side-stones and highlights their brightness, while pointed rose gold prongs heighten the blush tones of the gorgeous sapphire center.

0.94 Carat Old Mine Cut Diamond

Center stone – APX37653B
View this Diamond

0.30ctw Antique Oval Diamonds

Side stones – DNR154260A

A vintage-inspired ring calls for matching antique diamond cuts to build off the old-world scroll engraving pattern of the design. Edged in milgrain, this trio of diamonds share a more oblong shape because they weren’t created using modern lapidary (gem cutting) techniques. Their bold antique facets yield bright flashes of color when they are hit by the light, making this three-stone design especially sparkly.

Create Your Own Unique Ring

Find a gemstone in our gem gallery to start the foundation for your three-stone ring design.

Art Deco Designs

My background in Art History has helped to shape many of my designs. Inspiration comes from all around us, and studying the art of the past has always fascinated me and provided an endless amount of inspiration. 

One time period that I love to explore is Art Deco. I love the geometric designs that are quintessential to the Art Deco time period because they create a great framing to showcase a center stone. 

Creating Beautiful Wedding Sets

If you have a beautifully unique engagement ring you can’t just pair any
old straight band, you need an equally unique shadow band to go with it! 
Adding a shadow band can help accentuate the design of the ring and build a beautiful set that looks like it was made to be together forever. A shadow band can be created for any ring, whether we made or you inherited it from your grandmother. 

A shadow band doesn’t always have to be an echo of your engagement ring, it can also pair with design elements of your partner’s ring, like this nesting mountain band set.

Unconventional Designs

Some of the most unconventional ring inspirations are the most fun ideas to create! Two favorite designs that come to mind were created based on a brussel sprout and a neuron motif. Both of these rings inspirations were very special to their individual couples and had a lot of meaning in their relationship. Taking something literal from the world and translating it into a ring design is one of my favorite parts of this job!