This heartfelt project first began late fall. Sadly, this client’s father had passed away. To honor his memory, she wanted to do something special with his wedding band so she and her family could have something of his to hold onto. And so our conversation began. A photo was emailed with a description of his ring – a classic barrel style band in white gold. He had a good sized finger and the ring was a bit wider than many. That gave us plenty of metal to work with. I suggested pendants and her initial thought was to do four – one for her, another two for each of her sisters and one for her mother. We began to explore the costs and processes in order to refine the ring. We discussed the possibility of incorporating each of their birthstones as well as Dad’s birthstone. We even considered engraving his initials on the back of each disc. After much back and forth, I suggested we fabricate the pendants without the additional costs of refining and casting. Collectively, she and her family decided that they’d prefer to do three pendants with his birthstone only, turquoise the birthstone of December, and forego the engraving. So that’s exactly what we did. I started with some sketches, with the approximate size of each pendant, and to illustrate how we’d set the turquoise stone. Then the ring was cut into three equal sections and thus began the process of heating the metal to melt and shape while it’s still “liquid” enough to manipulate. This is done on and in a charcoal block that is hollowed out for the approximate shape of the piece. The challenge is working the metal without overworking it. So it can be extremely time involved. Heat, manipulate, heat again. Walk away to keep one’s focus and then starting all over again on three separate occasions for three separate pendants. But as with all things in life, hard work and commitment to one’s craft reap the greatest end result. Once the discs were done to our satisfaction, the next steps were drilling for the jump link/bail and assembling the bezels. Finally, the turquoise cabochons were ready to be set. With a final polish and clean up these three lovely, yet slightly varying, pendants were ready to wear. The client was thrilled with the outcome, saying, “Thank you so much for your hard but absolutely beautiful work!” Knowing that this jewelry reimagining helps three lovely ladies keep their father’s spirit nearby? That in itself makes it all worth it.
- White gold with genuine turquoise cabochons on a sterling silver chain
- Client location: Kentucky