Our hearts break, simultaneously expanding, ushering us through a terra incognita where emotions and meaning can be more powerfully expressed by symbols.
Creating custom jewelry is a process of transforming the emotions of the spirit into the substance of a jewel which is then worn and balances, heals and completes us.
That is how I approach creating custom jewelry, whether the client realizes it or not.
Jewelry symbolically carries chords of meaning as a tangible expression of our life’s
feelings and passages.
It all Matters
In every custom jewelry job, I listen to my clients’ stories. They matter and layer bit by bit to create a mythical jewel.
When my daughter, Thea, was in third grade there was a nationwide school event called “Take your Daughter to Work.” Since I regularly flew to Manhattan to conduct business, I took Thea to New York City with me for the day.
We visited my dear friend Dick Greenwood on 47th Street who took the time to mesmerize Thea with a tray of fine opal.
Opal became Thea’s favorite gem.
A Heart-shaped World
My sisters, daughters and I look for heart-shaped rocks when we travel, and I have piles of them in the corners of my home. My daughter has warm memories of hunting for heart-shaped rocks with my mother and I on Omaha Beach, in Normandy.
For us, the heart-shaped rock is a symbol of my mother and a message from beyond the grave.
Luckily, there is an Orange Opal Orange is Thea’s favorite color. A favorite activity of her childhood was juicing fresh oranges from my parents’ trees.
Orange “fire” opal is found in Mexico and is often seen in a freeform shape reflecting the shapes of the volcanic gas bubbles it forms in.
When I was shopping with my opal goddess pal last February, I happened upon a piece that had a free form heart shape.
Suddenly I wanted to give Thea this orange opal heart.
Having it All
This orange opal encapsulated all I wanted to symbolize:
~Opal, her favorite gem of memories;
~Orange, her favorite color;
~Heart-shape for my family’s obsession with heart-shaped rocks symbolizing mother love;
~Play of colors in the opal reflecting the spectrum of life’s adventures and emotions.
Handing off the Heart
I set it simply, in 18-karat yellow gold with a textured yellow gold plate behind the opal nodule for a few reasons: so it’s uneven bottom would lay nicely on her chest, and the opal would glow, even when worn over various colors of fabrics.
I inscribed the back, “You are Our Sunshine 2019,”after the song Thea led us all in singing at my father’s wake.
The chain is adjustable so she can wear it with a variety of necklines. I know we’ve used these convenient chains with some of your projects.
Epilogue: The Never-ending Story
I found that in the confusing process of breaking away, one’s child can’t really think of their mother’s heart – or they’d never leave. Another example of diving into the furnace to reform as something new.
She has alchemized and I am often awe-struck by the woman she’s grown into. I wanted to give her my heart that jagged summer of partings and found it was already beating deep inside her.
May glowing hearts light your way.
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