I always enjoy custom making jewelry for my customers and I enjoy the challenge of trying something new or different. But if I am to be completely honest I really like it the most when the customer already likes my style of work and wants me to do something for them that is reflective of that because that is what is most fun for me.
A few months ago a couple who are one of my oldest (in terms of being customers not in terms of age!) customers came in with a pile of diamonds. His mother has been in the process of selling off and passing on her collection to her three children and she had given them a platinum necklace with approximately 360 .15 ct. diamonds in it. The children decided they were each going to make up some jewelry with it to wear at her upcoming birthday party for themselves, and I believe some of their children as well. So my customers had 119 diamonds (almost 20 cts. in total) that they wanted me to play with. They didn't ask me to use all of their diamonds but as many as I thought would work in the suite of jewelry they were commissioning from me. They wanted a pair of earrings, a bracelet, a pin/pendant and a ring. They also picked out some beautiful blue sheen moonstones I had gotten recently to use in the earrings and one for the bracelet.
We discussed general parameters and ideas for the pieces. For the earrings I wanted to do a larger version of something I had done years ago for another customer with a lot of dangling diamonds. The bracelet I thought should be done as separate, unique links with the diamonds on them. For the pendant we looked at a piece I had out in the case with a moonstone in it for a general idea. The ring was a bit different though in that they looked at a regular design I do (http://spirerjewelers.com/gallery/rings/Capture_00115.jpg) but they wanted a waving row of diamonds set into it. Because everything was being hand built from scratch this was a huge job in terms of my time. I started with the earrings and had them look at them before moving on to the next jobs. While I had a pretty good idea of where I was going on the pendant and bracelet, I had no idea what I was actually going to do for the ring until I actually began building it.
What I was happy about with this job (besides the fact that I just really enjoyed making them and the results!) was that I was able to tie in all of the pieces in different ways so that they were both a set but unique items. While you can't see it in the photos there was a distinct stripe of orange through the middle of each of the moonstones (especially visible in the one in the bracelet). This led me to think about things in terms of two sides/designs. So on the bracelet I took the square pieces and cut them in half and set them each up a little differently. If you look closely at the pendant you'll note there is a distinct design shift midway (diagonally) through the piece. The diamonds in the ring created two distinct sides. although the design on either side was similar. I wanted the customers to be able to enjoy them and look at them and see different things going on each time they did. After all that plain old Tiffany style engagement ring is going to look exactly the same no matter how many times you look at it. You'll never see anything new. But no matter how much time you spend with one of these pieces they'll never get boring.
The four pieces are pictured here. I managed to get 103 diamonds into them which I thought was pretty good. They were picked up this morning and I'm happy to say my customers were thrilled (and they said they would write a comment here so I'm hoping they will back me up on that!) Okay, okay so not all of you are fortunate enough to be given 120 diamonds to play with. But even if you only have a few I'm always happy to make something up for you!