A Ring of One's Own by Louise Tickle - Part One

by James Newman July 20, 2017

We have amazing customers and Louise, a very talented journalist, we are happy to say is one of them. Louise commissioned a bespoke piece of jewellery with us and recorded her experience.

Check out Louise's blog here: https://aringofonesown.wordpress.com

Eggs and editors

Ten years ago this month a man I’d never met turned up on my doorstep. He smiled and handed me half a dozen duck eggs. ‘A present’ he said. I laughed. I don’t like duck eggs. Nor it turned out, did he. They were prettiest shade of blue.


©HelloMokana via Flickr

‘Tea?’ I offered. ‘Coffee?’ he asked. Turned out he never drank tea. I don’t drink coffee.

We got in the car and headed north up the M6 to the Forest of Bowland, missing two turn-offs because we were talking so hard.

Thirty-six hours later, we were an item.

To be fair, there was a very decent dinner, a steep trek up a fell and a sighting of a rare hen harrier doing its characteristic ‘heather hopping’ on the high moor in between times. (To explain – the man on my doorstep had commissioned me to write a feature about hen harriers. No editor before or since has ever accompanied me on a job: a mutual friend with a twinkle in her eye had set us up).

The decade since has not been all hearts and flowers. Sometimes eggs have got broken. But all told, it’s more than worked out. We have two heartbreakingly lovely boys who we have somehow managed to keep alive and a mostly better-than-functioning relationship. We laugh a lot and argue considerably less than when we got no sleep for three years straight. Sometimes success is just about survival. In whatever form it comes, ten years is probably worth celebrating.

I  first glimpsed jewellery designed by James Newman in Hebden Bridge’s Element gallery when visiting my mum who lives nearby. As she glanced into the glittering glass cases pretending not to choke at the prices, I found myself falling for James’ Islets ring, created from handforged, linked circles of white and yellow gold enclosing tiny, sparkling diamonds.

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©James Newman

There was nothing blingy about it – the whole point of this ring is the delicacy of its design. And six years ago, just after our second son was born, I grinned cheekily at my erstwhile editor and proposed a trip up the M5 to James’ shop in Birmingham to try it on.

We used the Islets ring two years ago, when in a tiny ceremony – just us and the boys – we got married at Haverfordwest register office. Our four-year-old lay on the floor playing  with his Lego train. Our seven-year-old held my flowers and signed the register. We didn’t need to put the ring on my finger. I never take it off.


Over the years the fact that I check out James’ Facebook page regularly for pictures of his newest designs has become something of a running joke between the editor and me. Approaching our ten year anniversary – the last day of March 2017 – I raise my eyebrows and tilt my head northwards as we do teatime.

‘There’s this sapphire’ I begin.

‘Oh yes.’ The editor drains pasta and stirs in the tuna sauce.

‘It’s a sort of bluey green.’


I risk a glance. At least he’s smiling.

‘It’s called a parti sapphire. From Australia. They change colour in the light.’

An eyebrow is raised quizzically.

‘James Newman sent me a snap of it. And a video via Instagram.’


©James Newman

‘It’s really stunning,’ I press on.

‘Righto.’ The pasta is being divided into bowls. At the table the boys are bickering.

‘He’s, er, reserved it for me.’

The editor puts teatime on the table. ‘We’re off to Birmingham then, I’m guessing.’

Still smiling. Phew.

James Newman
James Newman