Every creative individual has that spot. The place they go to get inspired, to get through a mental block. For the creative team that designs engagement bands for the brilliant swan crystals Devotion Diamonds has become known for, that spot is Vermont, more specifically the quiet woods surrounding Lake Champlain, which give way to sparkling water.
“You try to bring nature into it and the elements of nature and how things grow and blossom,” Devotion Diamonds Chief Designer Michele Krol said.
As lead designer Krol sketches the ideas that eventually become engagement and wedding bands. She does it all by hand with a pencil.
“Many jewelry designers design in CAD,” Devotion Diamond’s Perry Sporn said. “We don’t start there.”
Krol starts with a rough. She plays with shapes and the feel, always inspired by the Vermont landscape.
“I like architecture, I use the old-fashioned drafting method,” Krol said. “I don’t consider myself an artist, I’m a designer. I love water and a lot of this was done by the water.”
The sketches she’s ready to share adorn Devotion Diamond’s offices. There are never more than 40 engagement styles from Devotion Diamonds at any one time and only a handful of new styles created each year.
“We develop six or seven options on wedding rings,” Sporn said. “The prototyping is an incredible amount of man hours. We’ll go through sketch after sketch.”
Deciding on what sketches to move forward with is a collaborative exercise for the company. Sporn’s lake home has an open door policy and he’ll often have staff over to talk about the designs.
But nothing is a sure thing. Sketches are put in CAD engineering software to create a technical rendering and sometimes the sketch will come back and they realize it can’t be built.
“I’ve learned to compromise on some things,” Krol said. “If it comes out the way I want.”
From CAD, designs go to manufacturing: first a 3D print out, then a wax model and before it’s finished production will see how it takes the stone. There are often changes but the end result is still as true to possible as those first sketches Krol did by hand.
“I love them all,” Krol said of the designs.