In my job as a jeweler and entrepreneur, most of my days are filled with administrative tasks, answering e-mails, ordering supplies, fulfilling orders and making the jewelry I offer in my Etsy shop. I love my job and feel very lucky to do something that fills my heart with so much joy.
But once in a while I get to work with a customer one-on-one to create a unique piece of custom jewelry. Over the past few months I had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite people who contacted me and told me a secret: he and his wife were expecting their first child in May. And would I be able to make a super-secret-gift, something really special, perhaps a locket? Was that something in my 'wheelhouse?' Not only was I blown away that they were expecting, but he used the word 'wheelhouse.' You can see why I love these people, yes?
After jumping up and down and hollering with excitement, we got to work. Knowing their love for travel, my Compass Necklace immediately came to mind. I also really like that compasses represent a journey, and that bringing a child into the world with your life partner is truly an amazing journey.
Here is my original silver compass necklace:
He decided to choose a London blue topaz gem for the center, since his wife loves teal blue, and some of the other pieces I've made for her have London blue topaz so it brings a lot of things together. He also wanted the bail to not be so busy. And he didn't want it to look like a locket.
That was a challenge: how could I make a locket that doesn't look like a locket? I decided to do a rivet hinge from the top, and to create a frame inside that could hold a photo. You can see my original thoughts here, to see if it would even work:
I switched the bail to a more simple and clean one and I created a frame using a flat sheet of silver cut into an oval the same size as the compass part, with another oval silhouette that I hand cut (think of the letter O). Sandwiched in between was an oval made from flat, square wire to create a lip between the ovals-- so that a picture could be held in place. All told this necklace has 4 layers of sterling silver!
I did a lot of filing to make sure everything fit together seamlessly, riveted the two parts together, oxidized the silver and set her stone and voila. A locket that doesn't look like a locket:
The back was engraved with a special message, and he presented it to her the night before she brought their baby into the world.
I'm so honored to have made such a special piece of jewelry to represent this once-in-a-lifetime event, it was worth it to see him smile when he came to pick it up. I wish the happy family a beautiful life together! Congratulations!