STEPHEN DESIGNS BESPOKE RINGS FOR DISNEY'S MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
The handcrafted pieces include a stunning
engagement ring worn by Elle Fanning’s character Princess Aurora and vine wedding rings created for Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip.
Princess Aurora’s engagement ring plays starring role in the film. Tell us about the ring brief and the making of the piece?
The brief from the film’s property master was that the design should look like an antique engagement ring and reference the 16th century ‘quatrefoil' method of stone setting. The stone we wanted for the ring needed to be a pyramid shape. We had several types of stones hand-cut and experimented until we arrived at something that had enough ‘zing’. It's actually set upside down to give it the desired look. All the film pieces have to be okayed by the property master, costume designer and the director, so it’s always quite nervy to try and bring their vision to life. The ring has ancient script engraving inside and was made in yellow gold. It was finished with texturing, polishing and ageing techniques to make it look really old. We had to make several rings to be worn by Elle Fanning, body doubles and stunt people, and also for simultaneous shooting.
You also made two other rings for the film. Can you tell us about these too?
The film’s property master also wanted some vine-like wedding rings. The story behind these designs was that the fairies were going to weave them for the happy couple using vines from the forest. This was a slightly challenging request for pieces of jewellery. I sculpted two different designs, one which had a knot design on the top and then another which was much more 'vine' like and irregular. I experimented with various ways of making these, twisting shaped wire together and forming them, which I wasn't happy with. Sculpting them from wood, again an unsatisfactory result, and interestingly when they were made in wood, they didn’t look woody enough! In the end, I opted for casting them in silver, etching the surface and then hand-painting each one using an airbrush. I was really pleased with the results, as was the property master and director. The painting techniques had made the rings look more like wood and everything was approved.
You’ve made pieces for so many Hollywood films which have been worn by some incredible actors and actresses. How do you feel when you see the jewellery you’ve designed and made up on the big screen?
It is incredibly exciting! When we sell pieces from our store here in London I don’t often see them again. With the film work they are right in front of us on the big screen. We’ve also been incredibly lucky in the fact that each jewellery design we get asked to make features heavily within the film. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is no exception - Aurora's engagement ring is a key part of the story and even features prominently in the film’s trailer. It's wonderful to see your work in lights!
DESIGNS INSPIRED BY OUR MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL FILM WORK