I got my present a bit early this year: I designed a ring some time back, which my husband cast. We had an unsuccessful attempt last year but this year it "took." He made a wax form, then encased it in "investment," a plaster-like substance, and finally poured molten silver into that mold to set it. Our dentist loaned us an incredibly cool centrifugal caster - what a blast!
I LOVE casting - it's fun and a little bit dangerous, and I love the moment when the silver finally starts to melt - it looks like mercury in the crucible. I'm old enough to remember when dropping a thermometer meant a chance to roll the stuff around one's hands instead of a crisis necessitating closing the entire school for two days (this happened recently at one of the area schools).
It happens that my children's names can be written in a continuous circle; they share starting and ending letters in opposite order, so the ring shows their names with no break; turn it a bit and it's part of the other kid's name. Cool, no? And it came out way better than the tattoo I had originally planned based on this structure.
We cast it awhile back, and Hubby finished it off by sawing off the sprues and sanding, sanding and more sanding to make it lustrous and smooth. When he considered it mostly-done he had me try it; I refused to take it off and have been wearing it since (about a week). I love it and hopefully will wear it for the rest of my life.