I love doing custom work - there is a special sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from taking an idea or request from a client, and turning into a piece of jewelry that tells their story. When a request comes from a fellow artist - well, making that kind of piece is truly an honor.
I've purchased a number of wonderful cabochons from Chip and Deborah Allen, including this beautiful Kingman turquoise. They are wonderful folks. I've gotten to know them through the Cabs and Slabs facebook group - and it turns out that they, too, are Texans.
Not too long ago, I had a message from Chip asking if he could send me another piece of Kingman so that I could make a custom pendant for Deborah. I said "of course" and "thank you" because his request is an enormous complement.
Deborah had seen some of my other pieces with Texas cut outs on the back, so she knew that was what she wanted. Because of the size of the stone, I made the cut out almost a full square inch - so lots of the color could show through on the back.
I used the same style as the other piece of Kingman - serrated bezel surrounded by twisted wire - to set this piece, but because of it's size, it needed a substantial bail rather than just a small wire loop.
This style of setting has become something of a signature for me - I love the look that I get when I put a patina on the twisted wire and then give the whole piece a high polish.
The last step before setting the stone is making sure there are no scratches or patina in the wrong places, then I hand polish, both the pendant and a chain that has been oxided to match, with a Sunshine cloth.
I'm really pleased with the finished piece, and delighted to have had the opportunity to make something so special for people I am glad to call my friends.
The Allens are among many of the wonderful folks I have met in my metalsmithing journey - hopefully we'll meet in person on one of their trips through Texas.
Until next time.