Every now and then a jewelry reno project forms in my mind. This incubation stage is essential, as I consider my criteria and the wisdom of investing in custom work versus selling the item.
Actually, the pair of earrings I wanted to work with was itself a reno. When we decided to marry, in the mid-'80s, Le Duc gave me an emerald stud earring instead of a ring. That was the Madonna/Flashdance/punk era when a single earring was in vogue.
You can just make it out on my ear, at a wedding-rehearsal dinner at Le Duc's parents' home, August, 1986:
|The first earring, 1986|
|The second pair, ca. 1995|
I wore those for about 15 years; however, they now felt too formal, and languished during the time I've lived in Montréal. But the emeralds are as sentimental as my wedding ring, and I longed to wear them. But every time I put them on, I felt they were wrong. Le Duc said, "Well, you know who to call."
I sent them to our longtime jewelers (who had made the second pair), Pam Chandler and Don Collins of Artwork Gallery, Toronto, with a few requests: no additional stones or change of metal (alternatives that would drive up the price), simple enough to wear with jeans, but with enough presence to go dressier.
They had many ideas, but most intriguingly, suggested making two pairs of earrings, one from the pearls and diamonds, another using the emeralds.
The decision of whether the diamond/pearl pair should have two or three links consumed a half-hour of discussion. And that's what you want from a jeweler. If you get a perfunctory "Sure lady, leave them with us", flee!
I rounded up some old gold jewelry, which we applied to the cost of the new gold.
Below, a photo taken in the design phase; you see one finished diamond/pearl dangle at left and at right, the partially-finished new emerald earring with its quatrefoil in the wax stage.
|In progress, February 2014|
The finished emerald pair on my ear:
|Finished new pair, May 2014|
The evening in 1927 when playwright Charlie MacArthur and actress Helen Hayes met, he poured some salted peanuts into her hand and said, "I wish they were emeralds"; love at first sight for both. Many years later, on an anniversary, he poured emeralds into her hand and said, "I wish they were peanuts".
I relate to his words; these emeralds are the symbol of both new and enduring love, and infinitely more than the jewels, I treasure the man who gave them to me.