This is Neil and Helen's story, of love and family and dreams that fluttered away. 

This is Neil and Helen's story, of love and family and dreams that fluttered away. 

A story from the jeweller's bench.

TW: Story of pregnancy loss and fertility issues.



Neil and Helen have been together since they were just bright young things, they met working in the Queen's Hotel in Leeds when they were still teenagers, they are still very much in love 30 years later. 

Sadly, when they wanted to start a family, it proved problematic for them and eventually they were told it wouldn't be possible, which was a devastating blow. 

Neil and Helen are a wonderful positive couple, they, and their beloved pooch, Humphrey, enjoy the finer things in life. Great holidays, good food and a nice IPA, life was good but in 2019 there was an opportunity to try IVF and they subsequently found themselves with 3 viable embryos. There were starts and stops on their journey because of COVID19 but finally in 2020 the embryos were implanted and Helen tested positive after a pregnancy test.

Neil and Helen were overjoyed, but devastatingly an early scan revealed that Helen had suffered a miscarriage.

Then the country went into lockdown and everything stopped.

Whilst dealing with their crushing disappointment, Neil and Helen noticed that they were often surrounded by butterflies. They felt that these butterflies represented the three embryos that they had lost, their three little souls that never made it through into being.

Moving forward a year or so and Neil LOST his wedding band and felt quite bereft without it. He and Helen discussed having another one made and Neil decided he would like to have something that marked their journey together, since they had been through so much together. They happened upon a little show called 'All that Glitters' and they watched me portray my skills as not only a jeweller but as a storyteller of emotive stories and they decided that I was the person to make Neil's new ring.

What an honour.



It's a big responsibility to make a piece like this.

I met with Neil and Helen several times and we exchanged a number of emotional emails. The brief was to make a masculine ring which featured three butterflies and told the story of Neil and Helen's journey. Neil also wanted to include the metal from a signet ring that he'd worn as an engagement ring as a nod to their early time together.

I wanted to create something that noted the permanence of their experience. Even though their pregnancy journey was fleeting, the impact was everlasting, I wanted to leave an imprint with the ring I was making for Neil. Literally an imprint.

I melted down Neil's ring with some additional silver added in, this was to be a BIG chunky piece. I rolled it down and stamped in the lyrics of 'Electric Dreams', see the lyrics below, you'll see why this is Neil and Helen's song and why it is so apt for them and their story. I'm warning you now, you might cry.

Rather than solder on the butterflies or carve them into the design I decided to cut them out of the chunky metal, there was a very good reason for this. Everyday as Neil wears his ring the butterfly shaped holes create an imprint onto his skin. When he takes it off, to go to sleep at night, the butterflies can still be seen on his skin, because our experiences never really leave us, we carry them with us, sometimes invisibly on the inside but sometimes on the outside too.

The ring was completed with some 18ct gold plating inside the lettering and the bubbles and the butterflies were outlined in black on the inside. The sheer size and gravitas of the shape gives it a masculine look, but the butterflies and the lyrics tell their story.



Together in Electric Dreams : Georgio Moroder
featuring Phil Oakley

I only knew you for a while, I never saw your smile
Till it was time to go, time to go away (time to go away)
Sometimes it's hard to recognise, love comes as a surprise
And it's too late, it's just too late to stay, too late to stay

We'll always be together, however far it seems (love never ends)
We'll always be together, together in electric dreams

Because the friendship that you gave
has taught me to be brave
No matter where I go,
I'll never find a better prize (find a better prize)

Though you're miles and miles away, I see you every day
I don't have to try, I just close my eyes, I close my eyes

We'll always be together, however far it seems (love never ends)
We'll always be together, together in electric dreams


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