With the release of the Wedding and Engagement Rings Collection, I asked designer Betsy Cross some questions about her design process with the hopes of learning more about what goes on in her amazing, complicated, and talented mind while working on a new collection. And maybe get some of that talent by osmosis??

Read on to learn more about her path to inspiration for this collection including her meditations on love.

designer Betsy CrossDesigner Betsy Cross

Q: This collection makes me feel:
BC: Proud.

Q: Which ring are you most proud of and why?
BC: The Spero Ring. I tried to really challenge the norm with changing the overall diamond shape (by combining two diamonds with a specific shape to create a new shape) and with completely unusual/original "prongs" with which to set the diamonds. I absolutely love how it turned out and how it stacks with the others.

betsy and iya Spero ringThe Spero Ring

 

Q: Many rings match and fit together in a multitude of really interesting ways, I could see someone adding to their set over time, like an anniversary... was this what you had in mind when you designed them?
BC: As with past collections, I don't really work from a logical place like what you describe. :) Which seems like such a smart idea—in fact, my life would probably be easier if this is how I worked. Instead, I go off of intuition/feeling. I like the concept of things fitting together and have played with the concept many times before (read: you + me collections); the symbolism is strong for me and I always need a strong jumping off point to get started on a new collection. I spent a lot of time thinking about and meditating on love before I jumped into this. I wanted the rings to properly represent the kind of love that I have experienced in my life and my favorite kind of love: one of interdependence. The idea of two (or more) parts being wholly their own and coming together to make something brand new is fascinating and inspiring to me. This time I took it further: what would it look like if every single ring could fit together?? And they all do... I mean, it would be the craziest stack in the world if someone went for it, but it's an option. ;) So while I think it's wonderful that this collection can work that way—adding layers as time passes and relationships strengthen—that is not where I started.

 

Q: This is the first Fine jewelry collection for betsy & iya, what inspired you to make this leap? Did you need to acquire new skills or do special training to complete the rings?
BC:  I diiiid, actually!! I just didn't realize at the time that the training and exploration I was practicing would take me here. We are always making leaps at b&i, it is baked into our DNA. Every single new collection feels like a leap to me (some bigger than others)—a brand new process or new concept or stretching our skills beyond what I thought was possible, or presenting something that flips a traditional way of building something on its head, or new shapes and ideas that I haven't seen in the world (well, I guess I'm always trying to do the last one). To be able to make this collection, I had to learn stone setting. I took a workshop 2 years ago and pretty soon after, I started in on light custom work that eventually involved a lot of wedding/engagement/commitment bands. As with many things in this business, I launched myself into it, practicing as I challenged myself to make things I never thought I could make. I gained confidence through the work we've done with amazing custom clients; and with more and more interest around custom work from our wonderful customers, this just felt like the natural next leap.

Betsy stone setting by hand

 

Q: I think the Omnia Ring is stunning with its unusual diamond and little ray hand-carving, can you explain a little what you were thinking when you created it?
BC: It reminds me of a horizon, something light, beautiful, positive, and promising. I always like to challenge what's seen as "normal," so I wanted to incorporate this beautiful shape of diamond (half moon) in a simple and unexpected way. Typically, you see these types of diamonds in pairs, flanking one larger diamond (or diamonds) in the center. I wanted to see what it would look like if this shape became the focus.

Omnia diamond engagement ringThe Omnia Ring

Q: Of all the colored diamonds, why did you choose white and black?
BC: Simple, beautiful, classic, and slightly different.

 

Q: Was it difficult to decide which rings would fit together and how? What was your thought process is working through this design step?
BC: I started with one and a few shapes (like the half moon and baguettes) that I knew I wanted to incorporate and I sat down for a sketching session and it all just flowed out. Of course, this was after I spent a lot of time thinking/dreaming/meditating on love.

bridal ring set by betsy and iya

 

Q: This is a small collection, 8 rings (with a couple variants), was it difficult to limit yourself to just 8?
BC: YES!!! But this is always my dilemma. :) Don't worry, I already have several that I'm ready to add to the collection when the time is right.

original sketches fine collection rings

 Thank you, Betsy! 
- Helen G.

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