From the bench today: Our customer wanted us to create rustic-style pendants for his wife and daughter using these elk teeth. This might seem like a simple task, but there is much more to it than meets the eye.
First step: reinforce the tooth. you can see how rounded and worn the chewing surface is, but what you can't see is that the root-end of the tooth is thin-walled and hollow, way too fragile to squeeze into any kind of metal setting. So we filled the cavity inside the tooth with epoxy.
Second step: create a wax model of the "cap" as directed by our customer. using several photos of other organic type jewelry (other elk teeth, shark's teeth, etc) our customer communicated the details that he hoped to include in this setting, specifically the one-piece nature of the bail and the cap, and the overall size and ratio of cap to tooth, as well as the distressed nature of the metal surface. Normally we use cad software to create an image and then a wax model, but with something organic/freeform like this, doing it the old fashioned way is the only option! So we wrapped thin layers of soft, flexible wax sheeting, melting it to bind the seams and shaping it to fit like a glove.
third step: cast the waxes into silver, and then clean up the castings and fit them to the teeth. We also called our customer at this point to come and negotiate the exact placement of the tooth into the cap to be sure he liked the positioning before we finalized the fit.
last step: set the tooth into the setting! We also selected a short wheat chain on which to wear the new pendant.
while this project may not suit your tastes, it is an excellent example of the very individualized jobs in which we specialize. every customer has specific preferences, materials to use, budget, lifestyle and purpose, and we do our best to meet all of these criteria.
There are many things that set custom-designed jewelry apart from mass-produced jewelry, but the personal meaning behind a custom piece is arguably the most important difference. As we browse through the picture books that make up our portfolio here at The Art of Jewelry, we are reminded of the story behind each and every piece we’ve made. Most are happy celebrations of momentous occasions and milestones in our customers’ lives. Others are bittersweet - poignant memorials between customers and loved ones who have passed.
I think of this part of our webpage as a forum for sharing the stories and the thought behind the pieces - with emphasis on the painstaking efforts that go into making certain that each piece precisely reflects the emotions invested in it.
With our customers’ permission, here are some of our favorite stories: