A recent custom design commission challenged me to dream up ways to incorporate symbolic imagery into a very special piece. The inspiration? An ouroboros!…
What is an Ouroboros?
While the name might be unfamiliar, this image is one used in countless cultures across the globe—I’m sure you’ve seen it! It’s a snake (or sometimes dragon or serpent) circling on itself, swallowing its own tail.
Rich with layers of meaning, the ouroboros (pronounced OOR-uh-BAW-ros) symbolizes the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Found in ancient texts, alchemists’ writings, artifacts’ carvings, and religious texts from China, Egypt, Greece, India, and more, it’s a symbol that has proven again and again to have deep meaning around the world.
The Design Challenge
My challenge? How to bring this image into a modern jewelry design, for my client, Jessica!
Already a collector of ouroboros jewelry, Jessica wanted a more personal take on the traditional design—something unique to her. She envisioned her custom ouroboros ring with striking blue sapphire eyes, a hidden engraving, and gorgeously detailed overlapping scales, with an overall strong and feminine feel to the piece.
In order to create this unique organic form, I sketched the ring by hand, and then translated it into an initial pencil sketch and a 3D-rendered design shown here. I requested an initial wax model, and when Jessicca tried it on, she loved the design, but wanted it to be a bit heftier. So we went ahead and increased the width of the whole design by 1mm. I was then able to tweak the intricate details of the ouroborus before getting Jessica’s seal of approval, and then we moved the piece into production!
The Final Piece
At the very end, our final touch was engraving Jessica's meaningful custom message inside the ring: FEAR IS THE MIND KILLER. Yes!!
"Cielomar is an incredible designer and working with her on this ring was a pleasure. I own several non-custom pieces from her and knew her quality and design were impeccable, so it was a no-brainer to ask her to design my custom ring. We discussed the idea and she worked with me until she understood exactly what I wanted, made some really great suggestions, and ultimately delivered a gorgeous ring that is full of personal significance. She was very patient with me and I will definitely work with her again. Overall, it was a great experience and I highly recommend her custom design services!" - Jessica