Feelings can be so raw and hearts so tender that words are clumsily inadequate for expressing them.

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.

Owl Queen

Jewelry symbolically carries chords of meaning as a tangible expression of our life’s

feelings and passages.  

I packed a whole enchilada of emotion into a pendant I created for my oldest daughter as she graduated high school and left home last summer. It’s a simple jewel, full of meaning, which might inspire you in creating something for you, or yours.

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.

Thea in third grade
heart-shaped rocks

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.

heart-shaped orange opal

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.

18-karat yellow gold with a textured yellow gold plate behind the opal nodule

Epilogue:  The Never-ending Story

Hearts do carry a lot of feeling, don’t they? I wanted to remind my daughter she had all of my heart and I hoped she’d carry the warmth of my heart next to her. Breaking away from your parents, especially in a family with a strong single mom and two daughters, is a tough and scary thing.


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.               


I can help you create jewelry that is a symbol of YOU!   

Contact me on how we can start.

My oldest daughter Thea

I would love to work with you in creating your dream jewel, recreating your unworn jewelry int new favorites or hunting for your dream gem.  Take the next step by scheduling a no obligation video call with me here or email me directly.

To see more of Cynthia’s custom jewelry design work, click here.  

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