Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Gorgeous client Serena (owner of my IDGAF necklace, among other pieces) recently contacted me with a special request. She wanted a pendant made in memory of her beloved dog, a bullmastiff named Daisy. Daisy died from lymphoma this March, aged seven.
Serena emailed me:
“We had Daisy since she was six weeks old. She was our princess! Spoiled rotten her whole life. Even though she was large she still thought she was a lap dog.”
“She loved food and cookies more than anything! She was more stubborn than a mule and did what she wanted when she wanted. She loved her family very much too! She was a very good guard dog and family protector. I still miss her every day!”
This kind of custom order gets me all verklempt, especially because one of my first mechanical rings was made in memory of my Pekingese, Mr. Chubbs, who died in 2006. The Victoria buckle ring looks a little like a dog collar, doesn’t it?
Inside the ring, there’s a space where you can inscribe a name. You can see Mr. Chubbs’s name in this photo.
Serena, naturally, wanted a daisy design in honor of Daisy the dog — a pendant about the size of a nickel, she said. She already had a diamond for the center: the remaining stud from a pair of earrings Serena’s husband gave her for Valentine’s Day seven years ago. She wore the earrings constantly until one of them went AWOL during a vacation. I do like to do redesigns of old jewelry or gems, and it seemed particularly appropriate in this case to use a stone that had sentimental value.
The next step was to determine what kind of daisy Serena had in mind. A cute, Pop Art, Mary Quant-style daisy? An abstract daisy? Or a realistic daisy, like this Marguerite daisy?
Serena chose the realistic daisy, and I got to work with my favorite goldsmith. In order to get exactly the right texture and positioning for the petals — while still getting the polish perfect on every visible surface including the backs and all of the petal edges — my goldsmith made each 18K yellow gold petal separately, polished them and then attached the petals one by one to the center setting for the diamond. That setting is 18K white gold, which enhances the whiteness of the diamond. The necklace was done in three weeks.
I took the “nickel-sized” request seriously, as you can see.
In interviews, people often ask me to define “luxury.” This summer, I told Marissa Stempien of JustLuxe.com, “Luxury to me definitely means it’s fine workmanship … The ultimate luxury [is] a luxury that doesn’t necessarily have to scream its name or be explicit.” This daisy pendant epitomizes my definition, and, as such, will forever be on my list of all-time favorite designs. At first glance, the piece seems simple. A lot of people might look at it and assume it was stamped out of a big sheet of metal by a machine in a couple of minutes. It takes a discerning eye to see how much work went into making this a top-quality piece. (Or you can just hang out with my goldsmith, who amused me by saying repeatedly about his own efforts, “This is very, very, VERY good work.”) I’ve always loved making jewelry that is best appreciated and understood close up, but this piece proves that a design doesn’t need to have secret compartments or hidden gems to qualify as “covert luxury.” The fine craftsmanship is enough. It’s like getting a classic, white, button-down shirt made to measure. To the world, it’s a nice white shirt. To the wearer, it’s a commitment to excellence.
Serena, I hope you enjoy this necklace forever — which would be a lot longer than I enjoyed my original Mr. Chubbs ring. I can’t believe I’ve never told the full story of that ring on the blog, but I don’t see it anywhere, so here goes. Shortly after I made the buckle ring, I visited a Los Angeles store that carried my line for several years. The manager REALLY liked the ring and convinced me to leave the original with the store as a sample while I made another one to replace it. After I got over the trauma of leaving the ring behind, I got practical and said, “Look, if someone wants it that bad before I send you the new ring, you can polish out the name and I’ll make myself another Chubbs ring.” While the new ring was still in the works, Lindsay Lohan came into the store. This was in 2006 or 2007, before things really went downhill for her. She’d bought several of my designs, including the Medici poison ring, at this store. Lindsay was very taken with the buckle ring. The store manager said, “We’ll polish out the name for you,” but Lindsay said no thanks. She wanted it immediately and would take it as is. So off she went with a ring that said “Mr. Chubbs”! I got a lot of pleasure out of this. Mr. Chubbs was a very quiet dog. He spent most of his time, especially in his later years, snoozing under the coffee table. I felt like he’d been reincarnated as a party animal. I pictured him living her glamorous life: going on shopping sprees, posing on the red carpet, dancing on tables, getting pulled over for driving under the influence — all the things young Hollywood types enjoy. I imagine that the ring was lost during one of Lindsay’s many (mis)adventures years ago, but I think Chubbs had a lot of fun while it lasted. Thanks, Lindsay!
Oh, and another famous gal wore my second-ever buckle ring: none other than Miley Cyrus, back in 2009, during her pre-twerking Hannah Montana days.
If you’re out in the Los Angeles area, you can purchase my third Victoria buckle ring (I’ve only made four) at Broken English Jewelry in the Brentwood Country Mart. If you want to order a different custom design in honor/memory of a pet or person, holla at me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com.