Finding Inspiration with Marcia Budet

Marcia Budet didn’t set out to be a jewelry designer. Although she grew up collecting rocks, crystals, and hematites, she wound up pursuing degrees in architecture as an adult. Upon graduating with her master’s degree, Budet celebrated the occasion by making herself a special ring. After a colleague encouraged her to enter the ring in an international design competition and it won an award, she embarked on a new career as a jewelry designer.

Although she originally had no intention to change careers, she enjoys incorporating her architectural expertise in this new medium for her. “I like a healthy amount of symmetry manipulation,” she admits. Her Trio Ring shows this, with its combining of two asymmetrical sections and open space.

“I like a healthy amount of symmetry manipulation.”

The ring was designed to complement her Trio Earrings, which were inspired by a technique she developed for a project she completed while studying architecture. Titled “From a Cell to a Monastery,” it entailed creating a building with a continuous surface—a 3-D space fashioned by folding. Budet wanted to present the evolution of a nun’s cell to a religious complex, which comprises a church and eight cells. “This is later embodied in the metal being the continuous surface that folds and creates the space for the stones to be set in,” she says. She applied this idea to the earrings, which look like a section that was cut out of the building, as one would see it from a side. She used a smaller scale of that earring module to design the Trio Ring.

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The ring showcases what Budet considers to be her design style: classic, with a bit of rebellion thrown into the mix. “It needs to look clean but be edgy,” she says. When she designs, she first thinks in color.

“I need to see the color first, before I decide anything.” As she contemplated the Trio’s Ring design, she saw the color pink as adding the idea of femininity to the piece, disrupted with negative space— an unexpected element that adds airiness and lightness to the design. “I wanted to accentuate the daintiness and charm,” says Budet.

She settled on rhodolite garnets for the ring, pairing them with moonstones that help neutralize any color they’re paired with. “I wanted to add an element of feminine delicateness and pair colors that didn’t compete with each other,” she explains. “You can’t really make one item stand out if all items are loud, so I have to be strategic about it.

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Marcia Budet, New York City
“You can’t really make one item stand out if all items are loud, so I have to be strategic about it.”

Although she chose to make the ring in 18k to add value for the client, she opted to rhodium-plate the settings to enhance boldness. “Rhodium adds an edge. Diamonds pop out more,” she explains.

Budet wanted the stones to appear as if they are floating. The diamonds act as accents, reinforcing the continuity of the metal band and echoing the inspiration. The diamonds’ lengthening of the shank shows the band’s transition from gold to stones and symbolizes a series of other evolutions—Budet’s transition from architect to designer, from silversmith to goldsmith. Yet the ring’s band is open-ended, leaving space for whatever comes next.

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The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. "More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry," says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.
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