I was delighted when recently a client asked me to create a morganite and diamond pendant for her. She had a significant birthday during the 2021 Covid-19 lockdown and felt very much like giving herself a 'cheer up' gift. She had seen an article in a magazine on morganite and loved the pink hue with peachy/orange undertones.
For those history buffs out there, morganite was named, in 1910, after the financier J.P. Morgan by Tiffany & Co.'s revered gemmologist, George Kunz. J.P. Morgan was an avid gem collector who had made many significant donations of gemstones to The Museums of Natural History in New York and Paris and Kunz wanted to honour this. Morganite is a variety of the beryl family which also includes emerald and aquamarine. As a stone currently experiencing a huge surge in popularity care must be taken in where you are acquiring the stone from and the finest examples demonstrate the orangy-ness as well as the pink. The balance between the colours is very important (amongst other factors) in determining value.
So, how did the process work? Firstly, and most importantly, the star of the show, the morganite was chosen. My client knew she wanted a pear-cut and so she was presented with a selection which I obtained through my stone dealer contacts. As a gemmologist, I am able to assure my clients of the quality and provenance of the gemstone they are looking for. We went through each of them to discuss their individual attributes and she settled on this one, weighing in at over 6cts.
We then started the design process with the workshop, which in this case, is a high-tech workshop who specialise in Computer Aided Design (CAD). My role here really is one of translator. The client tells me what they would like and I have the technical know-how to explain what is possible (or not) as well as the experience to be able to suggest the best aesthetic avenue to tread. The workshop enjoys the interfacing of me with the client as it ensures no misunderstanding or miscommunication between craftsperson and layperson. There will often be multiple conversations to ensure we give the best, most accurate, most thorough brief to the workshop. This stage enables the client and I to develop our relationship, which I always hope will become long term.
Once the initial designs are presented to the client there can be further amendment phases, if required. The next stage is where the client takes something of a leap of faith as the designs can look like there is a lot of metal, with the claws in particular sitting very proud. This is because the computer will send the design to a 3D printer, which creates a 'wax' which is then employed in a lost wax casting technique. The metal casting is then finished at the bench by hand, where the stones will be set and the claw tips shaped, shortened, pushed over and the whole piece refined in the polishing process. Happily, my client trusted that when I said the final piece would be more 'elegant' than a CAD design will ever indicate, and she gave the go ahead.
At this stage, a final decision is made about the metal choice - in this case my client went with 18ct pink gold. The quality of the diamonds is firmed up - in this case they are of top colour and clarity to ensure they still look white, or 'stand up well' to being enveloped in the pink gold. At this stage a final 'render' of the piece is presented to the client and work gets under way.
A couple of weeks later, the client makes her final choice for the chain and six weeks after giving the go ahead the completed morganite and diamond pendant arrives with me for inspection and then presentation to the client.
And who wouldn't be thrilled with this outcome...
I love undertaking commissions for my clients and have several workshops I trust to create pieces of the highest quality, either by hand or by CAD. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing the look on the face of a client when they see, for the first time, a piece of jewellery they have dreamed of and have trusted me to bring to fruition.
Please do contact me if you would like to commission your very own jewel.