Jeweler creates sparkling addition for Princess Diana exhibit

2013-08-30T11:45:00Z 2013-09-01T21:24:14Z Jeweler creates sparkling addition for Princess Diana exhibitJennifer DeWitt jdewitt@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times

A Bettendorf jeweler from the other side of the pond is creating a royal tribute ring resembling Princess Diana's engagement ring for the Putnam Museum and its upcoming exhibition of "Diana, a Celebration." 

James Revell, the co-owner of Revell Jewelers at Duck Creek Plaza, is drawing on his English roots and his skills as a goldsmith to make the custom piece by hand. While not an exact replica, of course, it will be similar in appearance to the ring presented to Lady Diana Spencer upon her engagement to Prince Charles. The late Princess Diana's ring now is worn by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge and the wife of her son, Prince William.

"Princess Diana's ring was a 12-carat sapphire with diamonds," Revell said, estimating the ring's original value at $60,000 and cost of the stone alone today at $80,000.

"This one — except for the stone's size — is the same. It will be made just as well; it just will not have the same financial value.

"If I made this ring for someone, it would be about $7,000," he said.

The tribute ring, which the museum will raffle off as part of a fundraiser and membership drive, will have a 5.39-carat Chatham Sapphire and be made with 14 diamonds and white gold just like Princess Diana's. The diamonds will weigh a total of 1.23 carats and surround the blue stone. A Chatham stone, Revel said, is a cultured stone made in a lab with "the same chemical makeup of a sapphire out of the ground but man has grown it.''

Museum officials said the ring is a "wonderful addition" to the Diana exhibition, which is on loan from Althorp Estate in England and will make its last stop in the Midwest at the Putnam.

The exhibit chronicles the life and work of the late Princess of Wales and includes 150 items such as dresses, suits and evening gowns and even her famed royal wedding gown.    

"We're so grateful," said Kim Findlay, the Putnam's president and CEO. "It is really gratifying that it is a local business person who has stepped up and said 'We want to be a part of this, I have a talent and ... I want to share it.' "

The Tribute Ring will be on display alongside the Diana exhibit, which opens to the public Sept. 15 and is scheduled to run through early 2014.  After two stops next year — one in the south and on the east coast — Findlay said the collection becomes property of Princess Diana's sons.

According to Findlay, Revell "donated the ring to the Putnam to use in any way we though most beneficial" and the museum will give it away in a drawing to be held Dec. 20.

She said raffle tickets will be distributed to new members of the Putnam, current members who extend their membership for a year, past members who renew their memberships or current members who refer other people who become members.

Revell said he wanted to make the piece to support the Putnam because of the tremendous resource it is, particularly for youth. But the project also will help educate the public to his craft. Along with the ring, there will be an photographic exhibit chronicling the ring's creation from start to finish. "It shows people a little more about what custom jewelry is,'' he added.

Revell, a native of Luton, London, completed his 10-year goldsmith apprenticeship in the United Kingdom before coming to the Quad-Cities in 1999. He and his business partner, Jeff Hughes, opened their original Davenport store in 2001.

For Revell, the ring also is a chance to do something out of the ordinary. He predicts he will have more than 20 hours involved by the time the ring is done. "It's nice to sit and build something like that because you don't get to build something like that.''

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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