Creating a Custom Piece of Jewelry

I was proud to be part of an intricate process of taking a family jewel and making a custom piece of jewelry for future generations.   

A client came in and talked to me about one of her mother's heirloom emerald and diamond rings which was going to be handed down to her. She had visions of creating a modern piece of jewelry using all of the components of the heirloom ring.

The first problem we encountered was that the pear shape emerald had a major chip going from the top of the stone through the side and into bottom. We contacted an expert about re-cutting the stone. Because emeralds are so fragile he warned us that it could be accomplished but with great risk to the entire stone. Emeralds are the most delicate of all the major stones and can break during the cutting or setting process. The re-cutting of the stone took many weeks and the anticipation of the final results were continually in our minds. Before the re-cutting process, the emerald weighed 2.81 carat. When the stone was returned it was a gorgeous 2.78 carat. The cutter did a remarkable job of preserving the shape without losing much carat weight. We were all elated with the results.

Next came the process of creating a pendant using baguette diamonds of various sizes with a 2.78 pear shape emerald. The diamonds came out of a ring that was very geometric shaped. The challenge was to translate these to pendant with a curved design, to contour around the pear shape emerald. We discussed the type of metal and I suggested platinum because of the quality of the emerald and to make it a fantastic heirloom piece of jewelry.

Marsha did a number of designs and the client picked a design using 31 baguettes, one round, and the pear shape emerald. We added some filigree wire work to complete the design. The pendant was made in many stages. First starting with the drawings, the wax model, casting of the main pendant, applying hand made prongs to set the emerald, and attaching a handmade bale for the chain. Setting baguettes into the curved design presented an extra challenge, much like putting square peg into a round hole. The final stage of completing the pendant was the setting of the fabulous emerald. Using all of her skills and years of knowledge, it took 5 hours of uninterrupted quiet to get the stone set in the pendant. The final process was the polish and finish of the metal. This was one of the most difficult stone setting jobs of our career.

The project was finally completed and the customer contacted to let them know the stone made it through setting in one piece. The delighted reaction was evident when they picked up the completed pendant. They now have a true heirloom piece of jewelry that will be passed down for generations to come. 

I was proud that my clients picked us for this project. It took a lot of thought and emotion on our part as well as the client. This will truly be an heirloom piece of jewelry for future generations to enjoy.