Thursday, 16 July 2015

What a Pretty Pair

Custom Work Can Be Such Fun

A delightful customer asked me to come up with settings for several lovely stones she purchased some years ago (see post 20 June). I began work on a brooch for her Iolite but I'm dealing with the very demanding job of creating the actual setting (as opposed to the jewelry item) for the stone. My first effort was a hair too big. Cut it down – and made it too small. I feel like Goldilocks :-)

Knowing that a change is as good as a rest, I decided to set that aside for awhile and come up with a pendant to incorporate two more of the stones.

It fascinates me that, when I first began looking at the four gemstones, I instantly felt the zircon and the beryl should go together as one pendant. Before I mentioned that to the client, she said she would like exactly that. Love being on the same wavelength when doing custom work.

First, a Sketch

So, how did I come up with a design? Pretty simple process. I put the stones on my bench, on a piece of soft leather, and start moving them around. When a pattern started forming in my mind, I picked up a pencil to sketch what I pictured. In this photo, you can see the stones very roughly positioned on a piece of reticulated sterling. Beside them, a sketch of a two-part pendant, the parts linked by a very short bit of chain.

Fine Tune the Plan

My next step was to do a sketch, to size, as a pattern for cutting the pieces from the silver.
Oh my gosh, those stones are pretty.

Working in Silver

I made a couple of photo copies of that final sketch. One of many hard-learned lessons – if you destroy the only pattern while cutting the silver, it takes time to draw it again! Then I glued one of the patterns to a piece of reticulated sterling and made the cuts.

Above: the ink marks are to guide me in opening up the back of the pendant. Below: sorry for the fuzzy photo but it gives a pretty good idea of how this will look.