In some part of my romantic imagination I can see myself 150 years ago as crew on an American Clipper Ship. The work is hard, days are long, the food is awful. There are moments after passing the tip of South America and heading north into the Pacific, the ocean is warming, sun on water and waves and the Pacific lies before us stretching to China. This is the sea I see as I look at this ring. I listen to the waves at the bow, can feel the push from the sails and the surge of the ship into the waves. I can taste and smell the salt in the air. I like this ring. I believe this is one of the 50 best rings ever made. Ergonomically smooth, low, natural, comfort-fitting. Sapphire is set east – west. Diamonds trail at the sides like a wake. Sapphire from Southeast Asia, ring handmade in America.
From Sea to Shining Sea Style
Think seaside. Shoulder seasons May and October. The sun is low in the sky. The ocean is a blaze of glittering white sunlight. Further out to sea, the ocean is brilliant blue. This ring is as sweet as any perfect day in spring or fall. 2/3 bezel-set, east-west oval sapphire, low profile. Ends of long oval open to 3 graduated brilliant diamonds, gracefully tapered down each side.
Blue sapphire – Blue sapphire usually comes from Southeast Asia. It’s a color nature feels generous with in this part of the world. We love blue, particularly blue that shows well after the sun goes down. We tend toward a lighter brighter true blue color in all of our sapphire rings.
Diamonds – world sourced, cut in Belgium. Well-cut with a full complement of 58 facets, rating a 3 on our quality cut scale. Nice white color, beautifully matched. Hardness 10.
About the Trade Wind Collection:
Where does inspiration come from? Where do the creative sparks for design begin? For Cross’ new Trade Wind Jewelry Collection, we find ourselves drawn into the story of Captain John Henry Drew, from Gardiner, Maine. Born in 1834, he grew up the son of a Ship’s Carver, and went to sea at the age of 15, eventually becoming Captain of a series of clipper ships, and traveling from New York to China and back home, when that voyage took more than seventeen months.
Instead of carving or knotting or other hobbies that were characteristic of sailors, this mostly self-educated man read books, memorized details from newspapers, and wrote about his journey—his literal and his inner journey. His hand-written and personally illustrated journals tell us of his longing for Maine, for his family, and for “making something of himself”. He is very much like you and me, and it makes his story that much more compelling. He savors apples from home, as tasting better than apples from anywhere else. He imagines the scene he might see looking in the window at home, where his family sits, and he chastises himself for not getting more done at home when he was there.
The jewelry in our Trade Wind Collection is made by his great-great-great grandson, Keith. This young man went to sea as well, at age 18. As part of his service to the US Navy, his travels took him to many of the same places his great-great-great grandfather’s clipper ships visited. Keith also had a hobby unconventional for sailors— he had a fascination for gems and he studied gemology. He studied so that when his service was completed, he could become a jeweler. As Keith traveled the world, he collected exquisite gems, and after leaving the service and returning home, he mastered the art of fine jewelry making.
It is now decades later. We met Keith for the first time in March, 2014. We were impressed with his jewelry, and as we talked further, discovered he had a clipper ship sea captain ancestor and became intrigued with the parallels of his journey in life with that of his sea captain forebear.
The parallels in the two stories are expressed in the jewelry itself—the exotic colors, the flow of the designs, the attention to detail which is something passed down in this family—whether it is to protect the ship, its cargo and its crew, or to create a design that will last and protect its valuable gems, giving the wearer the same pleasure we experience when a ship at full sail goes by. You can’t help but stop and exclaim, “Isn’t that beautiful?”
We were hooked by this story, and by the jewelry. We think you will be too. In fact, we’re posting pages from Captain Drew’s journals from the Voyage of the Franklin in 1868. Take a few minutes to join in the journey, and think of those you love most, and rejoice if they are right there with you.
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