“Setting stones seemed so typical. Everybody makes jewelry with stones. Why not call attention to all the other beautiful things in the world?”
This year, I celebrate 15 years of my goldsmithing practice. In January of 2001, I took my first jewelry/metal Arts class, and it was love at first sight. I will honor this by celebrating a piece and story from each year.
I love working with heirloom quality family jewels, and it sweetens the deal when the customers ring choices aligns with my design aesthetic. I was honored and excited to work on Mary's engagement/wedding ring with some super special antique rose-cut diamonds and lovely blue sapphire center stone.
Mary’s family had some pretty special jewelry, and she sent me this ring so we could work with the center sapphire. Once receiving it, I examined the diamonds, and had seen nothing like them before. They were rose cut, yet they were not uniform, all were uniquely shaped and faceted in a way I’d never seen before. I asked my local antique jewelry expert for some advice, and the findings were astonishing. The ring was perfectly hallmarked stamped, telling us the ring is from 1854, from the City of Birmingham, England. Which makes since why the diamonds are so unique, they were all hand-cut, over 150 years ago!
Mary and I chose one of my designs which suited her aesthetic, moderns style, and love for white gold. I carefully removed the stones from her heirloom ring, and hand-made new custom settings.
The final ring is made of 14k Palladium White Gold, with an antique sapphire and contains some of the most unique rose-cut diamonds I’ve ever seen! It's so fun to give heirloom jewelry new life, so it will make it's way out of a jewelry box and on a finger for many decades to come.
We had 2 little diamonds left, and a rings-worth of gold, so I created a sweet pair of earrings for her mother-in-law as a thank you present for donating the antique ring to a new generation of the family! I melted down the gold and set the remaining diamonds in them- a great way to use up those last few special family diamonds!
Sometimes I forget I'm from paradise....
I've heard many friends and colleagues complain about dreading their annual trip home for the holidays: dragging their feet back home to the bitter cold east cost, sitting through dramatic family dinners, or some other variation of dreary situations.
I feel very luck that home represents none of this to me. I cherish my time with my wonderful, strange and alternative family, in the always soul-nurturing island life back in Hawaii.
I was born on the Big Island, and just a few years later, we relocated to Maui, where my father built us a home to suite the whole family. Nestled on a remote gulch, the property overlooks lush green views, a babbling stream, and just a nip of an ocean view. Our family planted the property with a macadamia nut orchard, garden beds & edible landscaping, a large variety of tropical fruit, garnished along the way with several varieties of flowering orchids and bromeliads. I'm happy to still call this property home.
Every year I take some time off after a busy holiday season to recharge my batteries and get some contemplative time in near the Pacific. It is 360˙ beautiful. From our family property, the views everywhere you look, to the love my friends and family show, this place is brimming full.
This season, I had a particularly nourishing trip home, as I decided to adventure and get some well-needed time to myself on long hikes and and a variety of trails around the island (hiking is one of my favorite pastimes). I dove head-first into the wonder which is Maui, and wow, I forgot how wonderful it is....
These trips home a feed my art practice, reminding me of why I have such a strong connection with nature. From the green, lush rain-forest where I spend my days, long afternoons spent in the kitchen fiddling with things from the garden, to wandering around our yard filled with interested flowers, tropical fruits and permaculture tidbits planted by me and my family, it's no wonder I've always got nature on my brain....
I love home and it loves me back....