Saturday, January 21, 2012

Remaking a family heirloom

Jewelry designers are often asked to redesign outdated jewelry by making something completely new from the stones and metal.  However, in this case I was asked to reproduce a family heirloom- a rather large diamond brooch.
Mimi Favre

Several identical brooches were made for the family nearly a century ago. I was told the design is a stylized side view of a blooming rose to honor a family members contribution to the founding of a prominent Garden Club and design of a famous garden. Several generations later, my client desired to replicate this special heirloom for his family.

Mimi Favre

We decided that rather than make a replica of the original large brooch, a pendant adapted from the design could retain the significance and still honor the original design. The original brooch is approximately 2 ¼” in diameter.

Pendant models-Mimi Favre©

 I began the process by printing a reduced image of the pin to approximate the pendant. However, simply reducing the size by percentage does not yield a template. This photo shows two potential widths of the finished piece. Two handmade models are placed along side  reduced images of the original. 
Pendant model -MimiFavre©

The adapted design needs to be strong enough and wide enough for stones to be set and retain the subtle curvilinear form of the original. Providing visual information to a client is essential in the design process. 

Platinum and diamond pendant. Mimi Favre© 2011
Platinum and diamond pendant. Mimi Favre© 2011

Platinum and diamond pendant. Mimi Favre© 2011
The finished pendant is made from platinum and is approximately 1 1/4" wide. Platinum chain is attached at the sides.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tourmaline and Pyrite Necklace

 The American Gem Trade Association sponsors The Spectrum Awards contest to promote the use of colored gemstones in fine jewelry.  
This necklace is my entry in the 2012 AGTA Spectrum Competition. 

Green tourmalines with pyrite beads. 18k gold.  ©Mimi Favre 2011.
 The necklace features two cushion shaped green cabochon tourmalines and faceted pyrite beads.  Pyrite isn't a gemstone--it's iron. However I loved the warm metallic color and used it as a compliment to the two large tourmalines. The larger 22 carat tourmaline is a fine mint green color with flash of aqua. The smaller 10.9 carat square tourmaline is strong blue-green. 

Pre-stringing- spacers, clasp, center pendant. ©Mimi Favre 2011.

I was sifting through my collection of stones not entirely certain of what type of jewelry to make. However I knew that I wanted to use the two large tourmalines. Combining the mellow gold pyrite with the cushion shape cabochon tourmalines suggested a vintage color combination--like a vintage piece from the 1920's.

Tourmalines 18k gold. ©Mimi Favre 2011.
 The somewhat irregular hand faceting of the beads suggested to me that the settings also needed a hand applied textural element. I created settings for the tourmalines in 18k gold which have a deliberately unrefined sawtooth edge and prongs. Five strands of varied size pyrite beads form a flat ribbon affect. Stringing was a bit challenging because each line had to be a different length to fit the contour of the human neckline. I added 18k gold spacers also with sawed texture and set with smaller square tourmalines to guide the five individual strands. 

Tourmaline and Pyrite Necklace © Mimi Favre.

Finished Necklace is 18-19"(not including pendant).