ALL THAT GLITTERS
Over the years, I have been commissioned to create jewelry for all walks of life, including certain individuals with tails, or let me rephrase that, customers’ pets. There are more than one of my four legged clients gracing our dog park who are sporting sterling silver or diamond studded 14 karat gold dog tags. Now, don’t get any ideas about attempting to relieve one of these cute canines of his or her bow wow bling. One in particular happens to be a very large and ferocious German shepherd and, unless you are immediate family, you can expect to lose a few fingers or an appendage in that enterprise.
Years ago a woman had me shorten her set of very expensive cultured pearls to twelve inches. A few days later when she came to pick them up after the alteration, I mentioned there was no way that they would now fit around her neck. A second later she reached down and picked up her extremely well behaved French poodle which was waiting patiently on the floor. I stood there stupefied as she placed her dog on the top of my showcase and fastened the necklace around “Natasha’s” neck. I can’t tell you who was smiling more, the owner or the pooch. It was an act of kindness for years of loyal service.
There has also been a diamond tennis bracelet that became a cat collar. Sure, it may seem a bit extreme to you, but there is no doubt in my mind that some folks really love their pets on this island.
Kind jewelry? I will admit it. Sometimes I’m commissioned to create jewelry once completed, that I am embarrassed to deem downright ugly. It’s what the customer requested and, as long as they consider the piece “beautiful”and I get paid, it’s a transaction.
Kind and gentle jewelry, in my practiced eye, must have clean and simple lines that are appealing or kind to the eyes of the beholder and the wearer alike. It should be a joy to wear, require little maintenance and reflect timeless design features.
Jewelry created to be pierced through various body parts, such as tongues, eyebrows or belly buttons is definitely not kind or gentle. I’m not against such things. I have two daughters who confronted me in the past with, “so why can’t I? You have tattoos!”And against my advice, they did the deed anyway.
I even carried pierced jewelry and supplied it to my daughters’ girl and boyfriends when it was stylish seven or so years ago. Nowadays the piercings are more extreme and in places I care not to mention. I no longer carry pierced jewelry, also known as body jewelry, except earrings, of course.
Last week a couple of teenagers were disappointed with that fact. I told them to look at my customers to their left and right and see that the average person in my shop was over 65, and most Grandmas aren’t exactly looking for ear plugs, nose or belly button rings!
Now back to a happy, calm place which is where I happen to be as I write this column. I’m sitting on a balcony with a cold red stripe and a Cuban cigar overlooking Bloody Bay in Negril, Jamaica (Not a cheerful name is it?) “Everyting ‘ere is i-ray, mon!) (translation…Everything here is all right man!) A rest and relaxation vacation birthday gift from my wife! Ok, now back to the business at hand.
Besides sitting here in the Caribbean, nothing makes me happier than creating a piece of jewelry that is clean and simple, especially if a single diamond or colored gem stone is involved in the design. If the stone is beautiful in itself, let it remain so. The setting or metal holding should be minimal to let the gemstone shine. To quote a Pink Floyd song, “shine on you crazy diamond.”
Some sea-life jewelry can be considered kind and gentle. Dolphin jewelry from the Hawaiian designer, Denny Wong, has a soothing and graceful air about it. It is undeniably the best selling jewelry in my shop, a gold and diamond crab with movable claws, or a sterling and gold star fish or sand dollar that appears to have just washed up on the beach.
These are all pieces that portray an enjoyable sunny day at the ocean’s edge. Presenting them to a loved one on a graceful neck chain or for a sun bronzed wrist reminds the wearer of a memorably “wasted day on the shore,” well spent.
I firmly believe that jewelry was originally designed to adorn women. From the scraggly cave man to his woman, to a king for his future queen, man presented gold and gems during courtship or simply friendship. Nothing makes a bigger impression to the apple of a man’s eye than gold or diamonds.
I’m convinced, that goldsmithing was the “oldest profession”! Call me crazy! How do you think a man got a woman’s attention in the first place? Bling or gold comes to mind.
Jewelry can also be presented as an act of kindness, as well as an act of love and affection, to enhance a woman’s beauty and at the same time, it makes the woman who wears it feel more than just special. Guys, commit random acts of kindness!
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island with over forty years experience creating and repairing fine jewelry. He welcomes your questions about “All That Glitters” 239-394-9275. Andrea and Richard and our staff at The Harbor Goldsmith would like to thank everyone who made our grand re-opening at Island Plaza a huge success and most of all Davide’s Italian cafe, his staff and especially his Mom, who worked so hard providing the exceptional food and refreshments to the hundreds of friends and customers who attended to wish us well. Once again, thank you.