Tagged philosophy

A Design a Day – Day 147

Tonight’s design, the last in my “Gate B3” series, is also a fitting reminder since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner:

Pencil on Paper Heart Brooch Sketch by Joana Miranda

In the spirit of reaching out to those we love and care about, I wanted to take the opportunity to call my reader’s attention to a wonderful blog post by Chris Guillebeau entitled The Smallest Man Builds Cages for Everyone.  Sometimes we all need the reminder that true empowerment comes from helping others.  In his post, Chris quotes Hafiz, a Sufi poet from the 14th century, saying:

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the

I plan to keep trying to drop more keys and build less cages, and along the way I’ll keep posting my vision of beauty for all to enjoy!

A Design a Day – Day 126

Today’s design is entitled In Paradisum.  For those of my friends playing the Fauré Requiem at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra with me this week, you may recognize the elements that inspired this brooch: delicate and otherworldly flute-like sounds coming from the organ, the undulating lines of the violas and cellos, and over it all, the ethereal sounds of the soprano voices.

Watercolor and Gouache Gold and Diamond "In Paradisum" Brooch Rendering by Joana Miranda

For those of you not familiar with this 7th and final movement of the Fauré Requiem, here is a link to a performance.  The text (translated from the Latin original) is as follows:

May angels lead you into Paradise.

At your coming

may martyrs receive you,

and may they lead you

into the Holy City, Jerusalem.

May the chorus of angels receive you,

and with Lazarus, who once was a pauper,

may you have eternal rest.

The bunch of diamond dandelions in my brooch represents human souls.  Fragile and as vulnerable to the currents of life as the feathery “cotton” on a dandelion, our souls can take flight and touch others in a profound and lasting way.

Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands; A Look at Innovative Pairings

Gold, Platinum and Diamond Engagement Ring Designed by Joana Miranda
Gold, Platinum and Diamond Flower Vine Engagement Ring Designed by Joana Miranda

I was contacted recently by a custom jeweler/designer colleague who wondered if I had any design ideas for ways to deal with creating a wedding band to pair with a previously purchased engagement ring that has an unusual side profile.  As this jeweler pointed out, it is tiresome to have to make weird-shaped wedding bands to fit around an engagement ring.  As Design Associate for David Liska Custom Jeweler, I saw the creation of quite a few extraordinary engagement rings.  Because of the elaborate nature of these rings and their cost, the bride-to-be sometimes chose not to have a matching band created.   This is certainly one option to consider.  Sometimes the engagement ring is so spectacular that anything next to it would be “gilding the lily”.   A good example is this ring design I posted recently in my A Design A Day – Day 28 blog post:

Watercolor and Gouache Pear-Shaped Diamond Bypass Ring Rendering by Joana Miranda
Watercolor and Gouache Pear-Shaped Diamond Bypass Ring Rendering by Joana Miranda

Because of the bypass ring design, fitting a wedding band to this ring would be problematic.  Also, I think that adding more metal to the bottom or top of this design in the form of another ring would make the overall effect look unbalanced.  If a client wanted this ring and a wedding band, I would suggest that they wear the wedding band on the opposite ring finger.  The great thing about that, is that a plain gold or platinum wedding band looks simple and elegant, and can be dressed up later with gemstone or diamond eternity bands…a woman can never have too many rings!

If you love the idea of wearing your wedding band with your engagement ring, then often the best option is to choose a ring side profile shape that is straight, or one that has the stone sitting high enough up from the band so that the profile of the gallery doesn’t prevent another ring from sitting flush with it.  Good examples of this are these two ring sets by Martin Flyer:

Martin Flyer "Flyerfit Micro-Pave Diamond Halo Setting" Ring Set
Martin Flyer "FlyerFit Micro-Pave Diamond Halo Setting" Ring Set
Martin Flyer "FlyerFit Micro-Pave Diamond Setting" Ring Set
Martin Flyer "FlyerFit Micro-Pave Diamond Setting" Ring Set

When I designed my engagement ring, I knew that I wanted to have a very simple band to wear with the engagement ring.  I designed an intricate, lacy, floral platinum and diamond vine as the primary visual element in my engagement ring, and framed this vine between gold and millgrained platinum bands.  Designing a matching millgrain/gold band to compliment the engagement ring was a breeze.   A short time later I purchased two white gold, diamond and citrine eternity bands.   The thinness of these bands allows me not only to wear them stacked on my other ring finger (and still be able to play the viola comfortably!), but, depending on my mood, I mix up the ring combinations of all four rings:

Flower Trellis Engagement Ring (with Complimenting Diamond and Citrine Eternity Bands) by Joana Miranda
Flower Trellis Engagement Ring (with Complementing Diamond and Citrine Eternity Bands) by Joana Miranda

My feeling is that an engagement ring should be beautiful enough to stand on its own, as should the wedding band.  There are no hard and fast rules for having to wear the two together.  Most important is that these rings remind you daily of your commitment to another human being and to your life with that person.

For more great online resources of jewelry designers doing bridal jewelry, please take a look at my previous blog post entitled Love is In the Air- Tips for Engagement Ring Shopping and Proposing.

Bring It? Bling It! Musings On Clear Expression

The other night as my husband and I watched Food Network’s The Next Food Network Star, a show we’re both following with interest, I was irritated to hear my favorite finalists promising to “bring it” in the next challenge as they bemoaned their lackluster performances.   Maybe the show’s fast pace doesn’t allow for full sentences, or perhaps the contestants are at a loss for what they really need to improve next.  That got me wondering…are we a culture so harried that we have to abbreviate everything we say?  And if speaking takes too long, is thinking also on the decline?

Signet Ring by Joana Miranda
Signet CAD Ring by Joana Miranda

I spent a long time being a “mouse potato” this evening as I perused the Urban Dictionary on my laptop in search of answers.   While I don’t “DWT” or even “text”, don’t own an iphone and therefore don’t feel the need for “apps”, I’ve joined the ranks of “Tweeters”, “Youtubers”, “Facebookers” and “Bloggers”.   Maybe the pot IS calling the kettle black.  (My bad!)

Chain Maille…this kind won’t bring you bad luck.

Chain Maille Chandelier Earring Rendering by Joana Miranda
Chain Maille Chandelier Earring Rendering by Joana Miranda

Chandelier earrings are one of the big trends in jewelry this season.


The economy is at its worst since the 1930s.

I decided to embrace both facts and designed these earrings featuring the same kind of chain maille that was popular in ladies coin purses of the 20s and 30s.   While historians find it hard to imagine what woman carried in these small purses, my guess is that the few coins that were to be had at that time were treasured…proof that good taste and a sense of style are not limited by money.