I was approached by one of my very dearest customers about making something special for her mom, since her mom's birthday was coming up, and then it was Mother's Day, and then it was her parent's 40th anniversary and the whole family wanted to mark such a wonderful season with something special.
She said she wanted something geometric around 1 1/2", in 14K with a certain collection of gemstones. Feminine, nothing too modern. Otherwise, she didn't want to give any other specific instructions because she wanted to see what I came up with. The photos below show my initial sketch (which she said was too round), and you can see how it grows up and lengthens. We also played around with the stones and their positions.
Since the stones are all birthstones for her kids and grandkids, we were debating whether to include a stone for her and her husband as well. Very quickly, I suggested moving their stones to the clasp, since symbolically, the clasp supports the whole of the necklace and holds it together, just like my customer's mom and dad do for their family. *So SWEET!*
The following photos are the stone setting process, the clean up for the prongs and then the clasp completion.
Also, did this lady luck out on birthstones or what? I love that we were able to make a rainbow from them. Of course, my customer's mom LOVED the piece. There were many happy tears and the whole day was such a perfect reprieve from the stress of the pandemic. Here's the finished piece one more time:
And, for fun, here's my favorite shot from this process:
How's that for a process shot? What you're seeing is the clasp, hanging out of a potato that I used to protect the chain during soldering (I sliced it in half, dug a channel and then pinned it back together with toothpicks). I wanted the security of a soldered clasp, so I needed to heat the entire piece with flame. This means there's more heat spread and a greater effect on the surrounding metal. Heating a chain can be risky, since it tends to be thinner gold wire and is susceptible to damage before the soldered join is complete. Enter the potato: it protects the chain by absorbing the heat from the flame and keeps the chain cool since it had just been pulled from the fridge. This is a metalsmithing trick that is as old as dirt, and for that reason, my favorite kind. So much more fun, I say!