Friday, January 3, 2014

Birthstone Jewelry

I have a problem. Correction: I had a problem. See, I’m super sentimental and family means the world to me. So the idea of birthstone family jewelry is right up my sentimental little alley. My problem is (was) that most birthstone necklaces and birthstone bracelets are, imo, either: 

a. gaudy, tacky and/or cheesy
b. run-of-the-mill (a serious problem when it comes to something that should be totally unique)
c. way out of my price range

In a worst-case scenario, all three problems apply.

A few years ago I came up with an exciting alternative to the typical birthstone jewelry options. When my mom and my mother-in-law both lost their only living parent in the same year. I wanted to do something extra special for them for Mother’s Day that year to commemorate the family they came from and family they created. So I came up with the idea for family birthstone bracelets. The Life Story bracelets were a big hit, and you can read the story here.

Recently I had the opportunity to experiment more with my concept for custom birthstone family jewelry. A good friend of mine told me she wanted to give her mom an extra special piece of jewelry for Christmas. Her mom doesn’t wear bracelets, so we dreamed up a necklace alternative.

This is a sketch that I texted to my friend when we were dreaming up the perfect birthstone necklace idea for her mom.

My friend’s mom has seven kids. Yes, that's right. Seven. And, it just so happens that none them share the same birthday. Holy multi-colored-birthstones! At first I was a little concerned about how we were going to incorporate all those colors and make the necklace pretty enough that my friend’s mom would actually want to wear it. I am very picky about the jewelry I make, and I’m only willing to attach my name to pieces that I’m 100% happy with. But I love my friend, and I’m always up for a challenge—so I took the job.

I designed, shaped and hammered this pendent myself. That’s just how picky I am. Everything's gotta be juuuuust right.
This piece was so much fun to design. I adore custom pieces! For one thing, I get a sneak peek into people’s stories and lives. In this case, I learned that my friend’s mom has many fond family memories that involve the beach. My friend’s mom grew up going to the beach her whole life and continued the tradition with her own family. To commemorate her parents (my friend’s grandparents) we attached a tiny seashell at the back clasp of the necklace.

The semi-precious stones strung along the sterling silver chain represent the birthdays of each of the seven kids. The charm on the pendent is for the birthday of the only grandchild. There’s only one grandchild in the family right now, but with seven kids . . . buckle up because there's sure to be more! New birthstones can be added to the pendant as the family grows.

My friend and her mom on a walk at the beach a few months ago. Seriously. Anyone who bundles up in winter coats to go the beach must really love it.
Custom heirloom birthstone jewelry can be anything you want it to be! When I made a birthstone Life Story bracelet for myself, I incorporated antique beads from my grandmother’s old jewelry into the piece.

This is me with my mom, sister and niece. Hooray for family!
If you’d like to create an heirloom piece of birthstone jewelry that captures your family’s story, please contact me and tell me everything you’re dreaming about. I’d love to work with you!