Bring Your Own Jewels | Designing Eye | Once Upon A Jewel
How Designers Find Solutions:  The Case of the Pearl Gone Too Far

Yesterday, my daughter reminded me of something I’d told her a few years ago, “Our weaknesses are our strengths gone too far.”  It’s so satisfying when your kids are of the age they begin to suspect you may have some wisdom after all, isn’t it?

Photos of design process for pearl, aquamarine, sapphire, and diamond pendant


Designing is all about solving challenges.  Sometimes a gem I am designing around is just a bit “too much.”

But, there’s always a workaround – learn how we approached one challenge below.

I can also help you with turning your unworn jewels into new favorites.  It starts with a simple conversation.

A client asked me to turn the roundish baroque pearl purchased at a gem show into a simple pearl pendant.

The baroque pearl had a gorgeous round shape – lovely curves that were just too exaggerated to easily set into a simple pearl pendant.

A more elongated pearl would sit more gracefully by itself on her neck (photo below).

So, we waited a bit and let the answer come to us.

Bulging pearl held next to sketch of pendant


Lo and Behold…

…within our period of pause, the client sent me an aquamarine cabochon she had purchased from her gem-cutter nephew and asked what could be done with it.

Eureka!  That changed everything!

Using my “Law of Odds (if you prefer video) we now had three elements we could use in the pendant:  the pearl, the new aquamarine sugarloaf cabochon and some sapphire/diamonds we rescued from her unworn jewelry.

(Earlier, we had scraped some of her unworn jewelry for refining, and applied the gold value to a credit towards this new project – I can do that for you too.)

The aquamarine’s sea-blue and its rounded shape played PERFECTLY with the pearl’s shape and ocean birth.  The addition of her blue sapphires and diamonds further reinforced the “mermaid magic” design concept.  

Check out the concept sketches below.

Concept sketch with three view of pearl, aquamarine and diamond pendant

Tell me what you think of this design solution!  

Consider how this pendant can be adapted to other uses:  a big bead on the bottom, or coin, or beach rock or…. and a top also of something with dimension.


Our dear client had a new pendant to wear through the Christmas holidays. 

Pearl, aquamarine, diamond and sapphire pendant with evergreen tree background
Pearl, aquamarine, diamond and sapphire pendant worn by woman with blue top
Front view of pearl, aquamarine, diamond, and sapphire pendant worn by lady
Cynthia Renee Bespoke Pendant in 18 karat white gold featuring 20×21 mm Baroque Pearl,
9.31 carat Aquamarine sugarloaf cabochon, and Blue Sapphire and Diamond accent

See Cynthia Renée's custom jewelry design portfolio here.


Discover how your jewels can be a guide to personal transformation.

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