Jewellery reno: Adele's tanzanite beads

Adele has received her second reno project and it's in today's window!

She sent this photo of tanzanite beads, a gift from her husband, to the renowned jeweller Janis Kerman, with a request to make it wearable for her casual lifestyle, and to add interest.

She also had bits and pieces: hoop earrings with small, princess-cut diamonds; a pair of Israeli artisan-made earrings from her sister-in-law; another pair with sapphires; a ruby cocktail ring from her mother-in law. Some were silver, others gold, which Adele no longer wears.

At this point Adele had to make a few initial decisions: whether to use only the 'bits', or invest in some new elements.

My take is that you're likely going to benefit from a few new additions when you are hoping for a piece such as Adele wanted, both to update, and to give the artist some breathing space.

(An average jeweller-designer, given a pair of unworn earrings, kind of plunks them in so they end up looking tight and obvious. The experienced designer will usually make a new element from the existing material to create rhythm and flow.)

Janis sent back a sketch:

That precise, detailed drawing shows the use of old and new material; as Janis says, "It's the balance, not the symmetry". (In a talk I heard her give, she said that in her early days, forty years ago, she taught herself how to draw; she saw that a verbal explanation or basic sketch would not adequately capture her vision.) 

Just like a house reno, this is the stage of a project where you typically pay a design fee, and decide what to add or change, in light of your budget.

Below, the reveal! The hallmark of a Kerman piece is that when an element turns, it is just as interesting and well-finished from the other side; everything's made to move and twist. The violet-blue of fine tanzanite is gorgeous with Adele's hair, the ruby pear-shaped briolettes add a funky texture, the silver and diamond elements and new clasp are cool and current. The piece captures love and family memories; Adele says she enjoyed showing her husband how their family's gifts are now combined.

Left: The necklace, photo courtesy Janis Kerman. Upper and lower right right: Adele off to work in the new piece. She can wear it anywhere!

A heartfelt thank you to Adele and Janis for sharing her project and for showing how to work with a jeweller long-distance—Janis is in Montréal; Adele's in the Northeastern U.S. (Don't be skittish about working long-distance when it means hiring the right jeweller for your style.)

Now, the one mournful note: Janis Kerman has retired and she really means it; Adele just got in under the wire. I will just have to find more available dream jewellers to show you, but worse luck, no?


Laura J said…
What a lovely transformation!
Lovely transformation and beautiful drawing. The necklace really suits your friend.

I had never heard of that beautiful stone. I hope it is sustainable in terms of the environment and working conditions in Tanzania.
Duchesse said…
Laura: Yes, how I would love to see it in person!

lagatta; If worried, you can research practices in the Tanzanian mining industry.
LauraH said…
Gorgeous. Love the colour, the design, everything.
It’s a magical transformation. Wearing that piece would be such a delight each time. I love the drawing too.
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Ms. Liz said…
Outstanding! What a beautiful and wearable necklace!
royleen said…
Lovely necklace, and it is so Janis Kerman! Yes, now you must find another jeweler!
A lovely necklace and a gorgeous colour.

All the best Jan
Jean Shaw said…
what a beautiful example of skill and artistry!
Carol in Denver said…
I have great admiration for this jewelry artisan located in Denver, Colorado:

She has great skill; I've had her work on some earrings I feared would shatter the stones but she fixed them perfectly. She also repaired some other silver pieces for me. Her work is meticulous and creative. She told me she'd work with whatever I have to make custom pieces. The jewelry she made and wears herself is fantastic. Her prices were very reasonable for the work she did for me.
Leslie said…
This is a great example of what a fine artist can do. I have to admit that I thought the necklace would be too small and sweet, based on the drawing. But the shapes, color and textures are perfectly balanced. And, even better, it looks fabulous on Adele.
Adele said…
I am thrilled with the necklace and love wearing it! It took me a while to save up for it, and a leap of faith to send everything to Janis, but through our correspondence she pegged me correctly. I love bold, larger pieces but would not feel comfortable wearing them. She created interesting elements to fit my style.

Duchesse said…
Carol in Denver: It's wonderful when you find someone whose work suits you perfectly, Then you can build a relationship and also be confident about undertaking custom projects.

Adele: Three galleries still carry the last Kerman pieces; ons is here, one in Seattle and one in Australia. YOu are so lucky to get this made.
Duchesse said…
Leslie: You might enjoy Janis Kerman’s site, to see other pieces. This is on the smaller scale of her necklaces but her stlyle is not delicate ( such as Cathy Waterman’s.) Lots of geometric shapes and asymmetry; her earrings are nearly all mismatched.

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