Every once in a while, I'm presented with a challenging design. This can arise from many different inputs including the shape of the stone, the expectation of the customer, and my goal for the statement of the design as well as the desired genre, be that style or under what circumstances the finished piece will be worn. All of those elements come into play when I first hover my pencil over a blank sheet of paper.
The piece below was the perfect storm of all of those inputs. First, the stone was unconventional. It is a slice of flint, a softer stone used with steel to cause a spark and ignite a fire. The graceful curves of the stone belie the power of the millions of sparks that are locked inside its highly polished surfaces. The colors of the stone, a combination of creamy tan, grey, and black, make it both cool and warm. I didnt want to overshadow the cream with white gold or tone down the cool grey and black with yellow gold, a natural complement to the tan. My customer added a layer of complication to the process as well. She is, simply put, a wonderful person who extends to me a level of trust and artistic freedom that is as freeing as it is burdensome. Design whatever you want Rick. I know its going to be fantastic. Sigh… the pressure! Those words carry an added weight because this particular customer is always right on point. She is stylish and elegant, understated and confident, all class and home grown. I am honored to have been her jeweler for the past 20+ years.
In the end, the design I came up with used white gold to represent the steel, a bright white diamond at the top showing the spark, and rose gold to illustrate the glow of the embers in under a fire. Originally I wanted the stone at the top to be a fire red ruby but my customer decided on a diamond. The rose gold bar at the bottom, set with a row of diamonds, doesnt touch the flint at all. Both this piece and the frame are supported by a rose gold, back plate with curves that mimic the natural designs in the piece of flint, and are meant to show the slow curvy dance of a flame.
My customer wanted a pendant she could wear casually. I wanted to create something for her that matched her style and personality. She got simple elegance with a little bit of a spark. A perfect match!