Designing is about solving problems, albeit in a graceful, useful way. Drawing pretty pieces of jewelry is just part of the show which also involves engineering, comfort and function usually with a budget in place. In my second year of college, I wrote an essay on existential psychologist Rollo May’s book “The Courage to Create.” He spoke of creativity being urged on by working within limits. I didn’t fully understand it at age 19, but after 25 years designing jewelry and working with clients I clearly understand the creativity that fountains from limits of materials, aesthetics and budgets. Limits on creativity yield innovation.
I helped a customer with a fantastic necklace featuring a suite of rare pastel Cuprian Tourmaline from Mozambique (article “Torii Necklace Masterpiece, A Labor of Love here). When sourcing the gems for the necklace, we purchased extra smaller pieces allowing for design changes. Since the necklace gems turned out just as we wished, we had an extra nine Cuprian Tourmalines weighing 34.92 carats.
The customer was interested in a bracelet for a future gift and after the expenditure of the big necklace, wanted a break from uber-pricey jewelry purchases though rightfully still expecting innovation, quality and attention to detail. The “problem” was how to make a bracelet with nine gems of different shapes and sizes look cohesive, and design/engineer a visually impactful and functional bracelet within the budget. The concern with functionality was not just comfort – the gems had to be protected for wear on an active wrist.
We laid out the color line of the gems, playing with what colors looked best next to each other and with the adjacent gems. As the wearer rotated the bracelet, a color story would unfold like notes of music. We used open links giving a modern, not at all frilly look, also decreasing the metal weight. Gems in my Icy Pastel Color Palette® look icier in white metal and sweeter in rose gold, so we primarily used palladium for the modern icy look which we sweetened with smaller rose gold links.