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101 N Main St
Blacksburg, VA, 24060
United States

(540) 953-1000

Welcome to Capone's Jewelry.

We specialize in custom jewelry design and repair.  The majority of our merchandise is made exclusively in our Blacksburg studio.

Capone's Jewelry Blog

Filtering by Category: Custom Design

Virginia Gemstones

C. Capone


It might be a little known fact that some gemstones are mined right here in Virginia. We recently purchased some new stones that hail from our beautiful home state, and below is some information about the ones that are pictured above (order is from left to right):
Amazonite - This beautiful blue-green square(ish) stone is mined in Amelia County. In addition to being pleasing to the eye, it is said to enhance intuition, psychic powers, creativity, intellect, and psychic ability. 
Unakite - This mottled pink and green oval stone came from right up the road in Lexington, Rockbridge County. It is typically found in the valleys of rivers after having been washed down from the Blue Ridge mountains. Unakite helps balance emotions and relieve stress.
Rhodonite - The middle stone that comes to a point at the top is a type of rhodonite that originated from Fluvanna County. The stone next to it is a Pink Rhodonite, which comes from the same location. They come in pink and red colors and often contain black manganese oxide veins running through them. Rhodonite is believed to relieve anxiety and is also a symbol of grace and elegance.
Limonite after Pyrite - This distinct gemstone gets its name from its "birth" process and comes from Schuyler, Nelson County. First, the pyrite starts to decompose due to chemical weathering, and the iron in the rock starts to rust. Once the rust has begun, limonite starts to pseudomorph into, i.e. take the shape of, the pyrite. This square stone has a brownish red color with tiny holes, which gives it a distinctively dramatic look. Pyrite is typically used as a shield to defend against negative energy while limonite helps to support physical strength and virility. 

Custom Engagement Rings for a Swedish Couple

C. Capone

We have been fortunate to have a diverse demographic of customers over the years here in small town Blacksburg, VA. Learning about and adhering to other cultures’ customs during the engagement and marriage process is something that we have enjoyed being included in. While wedding and engagements rings are often a universal symbol of love and commitment, there are cultural variations of how they are presented, chosen, and designed. The rings shown in the picture below are ones that we designed for a couple from Sweden.

Whereas the tradition in many cultures is to propose with a diamond ring, the custom in Sweden has been for both men and women to wear simple gold bands as their engagement rings. Afterwards, a diamond ring or another band is typically purchased for the woman to receive at the wedding. Although the bands have traditionally been simple and plain, the look is evolving to include more ornate designs that incorporate individual style and flair.

For these particular rings, the custom process started when the customer brought in a drawing of their own design. We used their sketch to develop a wax model of the ring with hand carvings, which was then cast in 18k yellow gold. There was some difficulty in determining finger size due to differences in sizing and number conversions, but we thankfully figured it out. Next, some milgrain and other engraving details were added around the edges, and two small round diamonds were set in one of the rings. Then the bands were polished, and the couple was ready to start their matrimonial journey. They emailed us the picture from Sweden along with the following thoughtful message:

Dear Faith,

We would like to send our thanks to you for making our rings. We are
very happy with how they turned out and they both fit perfectly on our
fingers. Thank you for making our design come true. We are now happily
engaged and will be married in the summer.

Best wishes from Sweden,

And thank YOU for allowing us Americans to be a part of your Swedish engagement and design process! :)

Custom Design Onyx and Ruby Gent's Ring

C. Capone

We typically don't carry men's rings other than wedding bands in stock. It's difficult because there is such a wide variety of styles that we normally just custom design them. This particular concept was exciting and out of the ordinary, which is always a fun creative process to be a part of.
This ring was commissioned by a local artist and retired professor of Virginia Tech. Donning a ring on almost every finger, he really wanted this particular one to stand out but still blend in with his look and personality. He sports heavy vests, hats, a large bushy beard, as well as silver chains with skull and wing medallions hanging from them. You know, just your run of the mill custom design request!
Having long artistic fingers, we knew this ring needed to be quite large. He deeply admires Native American silver motifs, which he wanted included into the design. Even though he prefers turquoise, it was decided a dark cabochon onyx would hold up better from daily wear and tear. Because he loves the color red and wanted the ring to have its own personality, a small natural ruby was added to the side serving as a talisman for passion and wealth.
A hand-carved wax model was created to adhere to the shape and size of his hand as well as to the proportion of the stones. Having made several original indigenous-inspired designs, Kirk carved the tribal graphics, which were derived from Native American, Aztec, and Caribbean roots, around the shank and bezel. It was then cast in sterling silver, the stones were set, the ring was polished and ready for wear!

Custom Three Stone Engagement Ring and Band Set

C. Capone

One of the most interesting and sometimes complicated aspects of custom design in jewelry is finding a way to aesthetically incorporate old stones or metal into new pieces. Jewelry can hold a sentimental or nostalgic value to a person or family, and while a customer may find an inherited piece of jewelry tired or outdated, they don't necessarily want to trade in the piece for a brand new one. There are not many industries where this type of "recycling" (for lack of a better word) is possible. It is rather gratifying to be able to redesign pieces that the customer enjoys wearing and that still maintain the sentimentality.
We were recently commissioned to redesign an engagement ring for a couple that has been married for some time. They wanted to incorporate the diamond from the previous ring as well as one recently inherited. They wanted a three stone ring, so we had to locate a third stone that would match in cut, carat, color, and clarity. Matching stones can be challenging, but fortunately we successfully accomplished the task! The customers also requested a more vintage-looking piece with the diamonds set as low as possible to the finger. This is the wax of the ring with the stones set in it:

We decided to go with a bezel setting, which is the whole diamond surrounded by metal. While this is one of the safest settings for a gemstone, a drawback is that it can reduce the light coming in, which inhibits the shine of the stone. Therefore, we put tiny cut outs in the sides of the bezel to bring in more light. Since this ring is set in platinum, it is more dense and can better support the diamond with the cut outs, which made us feel more comfortable in doing it. Another way that we were able to integrate the old engagement ring was to remove the part holding the diamond, the head, to make a plain white gold band that would fit nicely next to the new ring. Here are the finished rings:

Custom Engagement Ring for Justin and Sarah

C. Capone

Justin came to Austin with several pictures of engagement rings for his girlfriend, Sarah. He wanted his own ring to be unique, so he decided to have a custom ring made. He had his own middle stone already and wanted side stones to match. He requested sketches before a wax was made. Three different designs were created:

Justin liked different elements of each design, so a wax was created that incorporated a combination:

Since Justin and Sarah live in Charlotte, photos of the wax were stealthily sent to Justin for final approval. We slightly adjusted the size of the band, and because this ring is set in White Gold, it was sent out for casting:

The stones were set, the ring was polished, Justin proposed in the Outer Banks, and Sarah said YES! Congratulations to our best friends!

Making the Steger Award, A Poetry Prize for Virginia Tech Students

C. Capone

For the past 10 years, we have been commissioned by our longtime customer and friend, Nikki Giovanni, to make an award that is presented to the winner of the Steger Poetry Prize. We hammer and forge sterling silver to create a magnifier statue meant for a desk. The design changes slightly each year. Setting the magnifying glass in a bezel is always a challenge - it is equivalent to setting a giant gemstone. A big congratulations to this year's winner! 

Read more about the award below:

Custom Antique Flatware Bracelets

C. Capone

We often have customers coming in and asking us what they can do with antique silverware that they have inherited. Since flatware comes as a set, it is unlikely that you would want to split it up among family members. We recently had a customer who had a set of flatware and pictures she found on the Internet of similar designs. They were her grandmother's, and she wanted a bracelet made for her and her sister. The fork tines were melted and manipulated into heart shapes. While the engraving was already etched on the fork, it can always be added afterwards for a personal touch. Rings can be made out of smaller forks or spoons as well. This is a great way to maintain the sentimentality of a common family heirloom. It's personal yet stylish at the same time!

Custom Design Yellow and Green Emerald Necklace and Earrings

C. Capone

A customer recently came in with an idea for a custom Yellow and Green Emerald necklace for their 55th(!) wedding anniversary, fittingly also known as the Emerald Anniversary. They brought in their own emeralds and their own sketch of the layout they had in mind, which Faith adapted into her own sketch (below). The necklace was to have a minimal amount of yellow gold showing, which is why prongs were used. Additionally, they wanted it to be worn at different lengths, so it was designed so that they could adjust the length to be 16, 18, or 20 inches. A pair of matching earrings were also made. Both the necklace and earrings turned out absolutely stunning!

Faith's sketch

Faith's sketch

The necklace

The earrings