One of the best feelings when you are a jewelry designer is to make something special and meaningful for a client. Recently I was fortunate enough to have that experience again when one of my instagram followers reached out about creating a special piece for her daughter.
Claire had just been in a terrible car accident right before heading off to college (a drunk driver’s fault ) She was making a speedy recovery from broken ribs and bad fractures and was missing her horses. Her awesome mom Amy wanted to surprise her with a special piece of jewelry to remind her just how strong she is.
I was honored to be asked to design something for her and after peppering Amy with questions about Claire, I started sketching out ideas. Although designing a new piece is one of my favorite things to do, I spent quite a long time on this concept. I really wanted to do it justice and create something that Claire would be proud to wear every day.
I kept tossing ideas around but I didn’t want it to be all about the terrible experience – yes she is fierce and unbreakable but I didn’t want her to be “defined” by the accident and having to recount the story and potentially relive it every time she wore the piece.
Instead I decided to focus on her ability to overcome any obstacle in her path. Horses are a symbol of strength inherently, as is the circle, as it is always unbroken. Aptly, her birthstone is diamond – which is so appropriate – since the only thing that cuts through a diamond is another diamond. Claire is clearly “tough as diamonds!” I had some beautiful raw diamond beads that were waiting for the right reason to use them and I think this fit the bill perfectly. Raw and unpolished straight from the earth seemed appropriate for a young woman just starting out in life.
I came up with a layered design of a string of diamond beads on the collar bone with a silver horse leaping over a golden river surrounded by a circle. After sending my lengthy reasoning and rough sketches to Amy for approval, I waited with bated breath to see if I had hit the mark. Happily she loved it so I got to work
I like to carve my horses out of precious metal clay and fire them in my kiln. I feel like I have greater control over the end result that way and I like the more organic, handcrafted look. I hand sawed the golden river out of a piece of 18 ct sheet metal , the circle was made from 16 gauge sterling silver wire which I soldered it all together. Then sanding and polishing till shiny and beautiful. I was so happy with the finished piece and sent many progress shots to Amy along the way.
Even better Amy had me send it straight to Claire at school and face timed with her as she opened it 🙂 I had put a letter in there for Claire too and she sent me a beautiful selfie of her 1000 watt smile wearing the necklace I had made for her.
What an amazing and resilient young woman who clearly gets all that good taste and strength from her awesome mom 🙂
The end result and their reactions made my day. The concept I came up with for her is now one of my favorite designs. Making women feel strong and empowered – This is what it is all about! – This is why I make!
I hope you love it as much as I do