Commissions

On this page you can see some examples of special pieces of jewellery that I have made for people. It is a lovely personal thing to do and I am very fortunate to be able to make things that have such special meaning. If you have some stones or existing jewellery that you no longer wear, why not have it made into your own special piece. Do use the contact form or give me a call if you would like to find out more.

Swallows Brooch

 My client had a jewel that she and her sister wanted made into a brooch for their step-mother. Their father had found the jewel on the road where he lived in Spain, "Avenida de las Golondrinas" (Avenue of the Swallows). When he died the daughters found an old envelope with this stone in and they had always loved the story of him finding this treasure on his daily walk. 

I did not meet the girls and the whole commissioning process was done over the telephone and Facebook messenger.

One of the sisters sent me a picture of the jewel from which I could see it was pretty big! About 1 cm in diameter and very sparkly!

We chatted about her dad, where he lived, about his daily walk and I came up with an idea for the brooch.

The initial sketch

I sent the sketch with the following notes:
To be made of silver, approx size 5x4cm with your stone set sparkling on the ground with the swallows flying overhead and plants along the way and maybe a few pebbles of gold and silver on the ground along with the gem. To make this would be £xxx let me know what you think.

Cutting out the swallows

The response came back: We love it!

Once they had said ok to the design they paid a deposit of 50% and I made a start. The first thing I did was to cut the swallows out of sheet silver with a saw.

Making the setting

Here I have made the pebbles out of different coloured gold and made a setting for the stone.

The stone ready to set

The stone next to the brooch. The siver was oxidised which gives it the dark appearance.


From the Old to the New

Recyling gems and making a new piece

One of my customers came to me with a few old rings that she had. She never wore them because she did not like their old fashioned style. Bewteen the rings she had 13 diamonds and quite a bit of high carat gold. She wanted something made in a contemporary style that was suitable for everyday wear, but also a bit 'special'; after all this piece was being made to celebrate her retirement. She wasn't a fan of yellow gold and so we decided that the value of the gold from her rings would be set against purchasing 18ct white gold to make a ring and bangle set. In additon to her diamonds she commisioned me to source and have set some sapphires into the ring.

The original ring
The white gold ring with diamonds and sapphires set into it

The ring and the bangle were made from 18ct white gold. The were then sent off to the Assay Office to be hallmarked. Following that the surface of the gold was given a frosted finish before the stones were set. She was delighted with her new bangle and ring set.

The white gold bangle with the diamonds set all the way round.

50th Birthday Birdie Ring

A pink tourmaline as the birthstone (October), a little gold disc with a 50 and a special little bird with a diamond and gold disc. This playful ring was commissioned by a mother for her daughter's 50th birthday. The daughter already had quite a collection of my jewellery so something special and unique was needed!


Lotus Flower Necklace

This lotus flower necklace was a special top secret Christmas commission. The Customer bought me a green amethyst trillion that he bought in India. I had great fun with this one as the stone is set in gold, but no ordinary gold - it was the gold from the clients old tooth crown that I melted down and made into square wire for making the setting. The Stone was irregular in every way and provided all sorts of problems, it was a good challenge! The chain has gemstone beads in colours to reflect the Indian flag: the orange - carnelian, the green - green agate, the white - white moonstone and for the Ashoka Chakra in the centre - blue iolite.

Here is what he had to say about it:

"My wife and I are delighted with this commission so beautifully crafted by Cathy; she took the outline of an idea and after patient careful consultation with me, turned it into something very special that my wife treasures enormously as a memento of our visit to India".

 

See some of the processes in the commission below.

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First sketches

After our initial chat I drew some quick sketches to make sure that the customer understood the concept and to show the colours of the stones that I was going to add into the chain

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Gold

This is one of the pieces of the gold as it was presented to me. Dental gold is high carat, but is very difficult to work with because it is made from an alloy that is harder than that usually used for jewellery.

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Making the setting

I melted the gold and made two different profiles of wire:. square wire approximately 1.2mm which I used for the 'basket' and claws for the stone, and some wider, thinnner pieces that wrapped around the stone.

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The stone and the petals

Here is the stone sitting in its setting, and the two sections of the lotus flower which have been cut from silver sheet.

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Checking the stone fits

Once the flower and the setting were assembled I checked that the stone fits. It was very irregular and so only went in one way. Once I was happy with it, the pendant was sent off to The London Assay Office for hallmarking.

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Stone set and chain made

On return from the Assay Office the flower was oxidised - this made the silver go black, the oxide was rubbed off and remained in the indentations on the petals. The stone was then set in place.

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Hand-made chain

The chain was made from wire that I rolled down to a square profile. The ends of each link were carefully flattened and a hole drilled in each. The individual parts of the chain were joined by the different stones that represented the colours of the Indian flag.