Tuesday, November 15, 2011
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I love redesigning old jewelry. Here are a few examples:
- Susan’s engagement ring got a major overhaul.
- Heather’s diamond earrings turned up on her engagement ring.
- Terri Berry’s earrings and necklace became new earrings and a ring.
In the summer of 2010, I started thinking about redesigning some of the jewelry MrB gave me before I started my own jewelry line. I finally got to work on it this spring, spurred on by the rising price of gold. It made sense to melt down and sell old metal. Also, because of out-of-control raw-material costs, I needed to cut back on the number of new designs I was creating for my line. That problem with doing that is that store buyers and magazine editors only want to see what’s new. To give those people something to see, I decided to turn unworn jewels into fresh Wendy Brandes looks.
The first piece on my list was a chubby, irregularly-shaped, silvery pearl pendant that MrB bought in Italy in 1998. I always loved the color and shape of this pearl. Here I am wearing it in 1999 with a pair of complementary earrings.
I hate that picture, not just for the terrible hair day I was having, but also because I’m wearing a goddamn black t-shirt! How many decades have I been wearing those? Anyway, here is a closeup of the pendant in its white-gold and diamond setting, right before I dismantled it.
The setting was very pretty and showed the pearl nicely, and I dithered for a while before taking it all apart. I went ahead because, as I’ve written before, it doesn’t do me any good as a jewelry designer to wear designs that aren’t my own. And this was much more conservative than my current taste.
Because it’s common to surround pearls with white or black diamonds, I decided to do something more colorful. I thought purple would look fabulous with the silver pearl, but amethysts aren’t cut in the tiny size I’d need for the setting and I couldn’t find purple sapphires in the shade I wanted. I wound up choosing one of my favorite gems, tsavorite, which is a green garnet that I’ve used for my Marie Antoinette and onyx skull rings.
Once I picked tsavorite, it made sense to do a twisting, vine-like setting to match the rings. Because the setting would obscure the irregular shape of the pearl, I left some open spaces so I could peek inside and see the outline of the pearl. Here is the final result — and November’s Jewel of the Month.
People often ask me if it’s okay to mix white and yellow metals in one outfit. With this design, as with a number of my other designs, I mixed metals within a single piece. The tsavorite is set in blackened 18K yellow gold to give the green more warmth, while the chain is 18K white gold to match the pearl. The best of both worlds!
Because I used my own pearl in this necklace, it’s not for sale, but I’ll happily make you something similar. Holla at me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com if you’d like to place a custom order.