Lauren Harwell Godfrey’s career, by her own admission, has been something of a strange trajectory. Her varied interests took her from advertising to the culinary world and onward to leather accessories, until she turned her attention to fine jewelry. In 2017, she launched her namesake line, Harwell Godfrey, with the vision to handcraft fine jewelry with aesthetics informed by textiles, artifacts and ethnic patterns focused on the African diaspora. “These are not only little references, but also an appreciation of the use of geometry, which I apply to my jewelry.” Her gold pieces set with precious gems, hard stones and enamel inlay certainly have a geometric edge.
Lauren’s commitment ring designed for the De Beers Group’s Ten/Ten initiative was inspired by a modern reimagining of her own personal jewelry. The 18 karat yellow gold ring has, as its signature motif, a hexagon that perfectly nestles a round brilliant cut half-carat diamond in multiple hexagonal halos including traditional milgrain detail, mother of pearl inlay and gold framing. Uniform gold spheres flow along the band juxtaposed against the hexagon.
There’s something very lovely about the contrast of a round stone against hard geometric lines in varied materials that all feels a bit less traditional and a little more edgy. “It was interesting to use a halo that was traditionally bridal but by using inlay rather than adding more stones. It is very true to the work that I do,” says Lauren. “I think that in something as special as an engagement ring, details really matter. This ring has a level of simplicity, as well as details that you can cull out.”
The designer has named her Ten/Ten ring Motu, after the reef in Bora Bora where she went on her honeymoon. “The ring is autobiographical,” she shares. “The mother of pearl is reminiscent of the reef and the ocean. The ring has a very bridal color and tone to it and is very wearable.” On the play of geometry Lauren says, “There is strength in the circle and in the hexagon. It reminds me of commitment in an esoteric way. It reflects the continuum of moving forward whether times are hard or wonderful. It’s about the long game and commitment.”
This project has checked a lot of boxes for Lauren,. “It’s nice to have something to work against and that being the price point was a challenge in some ways. This project offered me a chance to make something beautiful at a lower price point.”
During the project, Lauren also learned a lot about Botswana. “The diamond mining process, significance of the Tracr and all the elements that went into this beautiful gem made it such a special project. I loved working with the team as well as the idea of supporting Africa,” Lauren adds. “These diamonds are not just stones; they support people and communities that are involved in mining, cutting and polishing. And it wasn’t just me in a vacuum creating this ring, it was a community of women designers and De Beers; it was a really nice group vibe.”
The Lauren Harwell Godfrey rings for the Ten/Ten project will be sold exclusively on Blue Nile in January 2021.