Meet Your Designer, Michelle

April 18th, 2021
Categorized under: CAD Designers, Designers

With her efficiency in CAD, Michelle brings a wealth of jewelry fabrication and process knowledge to her clients as they embark on a custom jewelry design. In her personal creative endeavors, Michelle’s voice and fantastical style in her hand-fabricated metal clay work are additional facets of her individuality as a designer. For those new to the world of jewelry, Michelle revels in helping clients discover and bring to life their own visionary works of art, personalized to suit their style.

Hands-On Jewelry Creation

Metal clay was my entry into (un)traditional metalsmithing and jewelry making. As an artist, jewelry has been a method of expression for me. A way to channel how I am feeling or a story to tell, similar to art journaling but on a smaller and wearable scale.

Metal Clay Jewelry

I love experimenting and seeing different ways I can take a technique and give my own spin on it. If I had an artistic superpower, I would say it is the “mash-up”. I love combining and collaging contradictory and possibly contrasting design elements together to tell a story. 

As a designer, my goal is creating a piece to not only express a client’s design story or style preferences, but also to create a functional piece to fit their lifestyle.

Custom Ring Designs at Green Lake

Combining CAD and Sketching

Usually my process starts with fairly conceptual hand sketches and I use CAD to help me with drafting patterns and for a better understanding of scale.

Flowing Ring Designs

Dramatic sweeping curves and precise twists are aided by the CAD process. Below are a sampling of rings from Michelle ranging from classic to organic that have a unique flow to their design elements.

Coordinating Couples’ Sets

What better way to personalize your wedding rings than to have elements of their designs play off each other into a coordinating couples’ set! From complementary engraving patterns to similar natural elements, or locally sourced gemstones, there are so many ways to make your new jewelry have a meaningful pairing. Below, it’s fun to see how different elements of the design contrast so each partner still has individuality and a style that captures their fancy.

Floral and Vine Designs

Personalized floral rings are some of our favorites in the studio because they have such personalized stories. Design No. 142100 is inspired by a climbing rose, and was featured in our best rings of 2019! Design No. 130188 features edelweiss blooms in the gallery and shoulders of the ring.

A Unique Floral Solitaire

This unique solitaire design by Michelle features a Montana sapphire with a floral cut making it a unique ‘rose brilliant’ shape. At Green Lake, we make 3D scans of each gem so when the ring is built it is designed to perfectly surround and fit the gemstone. This scanning process is especially important when gems are an unusual shape like this custom-cut sapphire! See how Michelle’s initial scan of the sapphire was then incorporated into her final CAD model.

Custom Collaborations

Designing with clients, Michelle gets to take their initial inspirations and help them hone in a style and profile that will fit their lifestyle. Below are just some examples from Michelle of how an initial idea can iterate into strikingly unique jewelry designs!

Swirling Vine Sapphire Rings
Nature Inspired Pear-Shaped Engagement Rings

Perfect Fit Shadow Bands

Finding a matching wedding band to an engagement ring can be a challenge, but not at Green Lake where our shadow bands are just as customized as our engagement rings! A blend of Michelle’s excellent CAD work and collaboration with our wax carvers mean your wedding band will be a beautiful fit when it’s completed.

In Michelle’s Metal Clay Studio

Exploration of sculpting and texture stamps.

Diana’s Garden Pendant

Amethyst pendant of fine silver with woven seed pearls.

Photo Credit: Sara Ray

Metal Clay Process


Rainbow obsidian, fine silver. Sculpted bail,

“May your words flow freely as ink”

on a bezel cut with electronic paper cutter.

Inspired by Inktober project.

Mermaid Earrings

Modular earrings with client opal quartet.

Garnet Flame

A rough garnet is held in this unique pierced pendant design.

Furl Ring

Deer antler points, fine silver.

Published in Metal clay calendar for RAW (Ring a week) project.

The antler points were naturally shed and given to me by someone who used the larger part to make pool cue furls. The points were too small for their use.

Ursula’s Curse