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  • alisonberthelsen


Updated: Jun 10, 2021

A lovely lady got in touch with me during lockdown about a special gift for her son's upcoming 21st Birthday. She had some family jewellery she was hoping to use....

The client had a broken pair of garnet and gold earrings which, in the picture she sent me, didn't look particularly special or appealing. However looks (photographs) can often be deceiving and I always reserve judgement until I see the items in the flesh.

Now, anyone that has attempted to photograph jewellery will know what a challenge it is. The above picture may look simple, but I can tell you its any thing but!

So what did the original photo look like?

Much like how most people would take a snap. On the nearest surface, lighting bright - but limited, and a bit blurry. Most cameras and phone cameras aren't really designed with close ups in mind. So much is lost, especially with jewellery. It's reflective too. Often you will see hints of yourself or your surroundings glaring back at you in the image.

But to be fair, it was just a snap!

Having received this image, there was no way to tell how lovely the stones could be.

The client came for an appointment last week. She had ideas from sketches I had already sent through. We had a very productive meeting, and quickly settled on a design she felt happy with.

Within ten minutes of the appointment ending, I had the Garnets out of their original settings.

Wow, they were lovely. Looked a hundred times better than I had seen in the image!

Due to the way lockdown has affected trade (random is probably the right word) I cracked on with them straight away. Felt very enthusiastic. Always good to strike when the iron is hot!

You will see the 'freed' garnets second image in from the left. I think that the beauty and colour of these baguette garnets is clearly visible in their new home of the cufflinks.

This is a collage image I sent to the client to show my work in progress.

It shows many (but not all) of the stages of the process.

It starts with the cut piece of sheet silver, running through just a few images of a process called reticulation (over heating of the metal to produce the leathered look - it takes many heat applications to achieve), milling silver for the bezel setting, creating the two box system for each bezel setting, soldering together, setting of the stones, misses out polishing - but shows cleaning up the mess of one of the polishing stages.

And yes, I am always filthy and covered in waxy smudges by the time I am finished, no matter how hard I try not to be.....

Ultimately, I am very pleased with how they have turned out. And thankfully the client is too!

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