Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jewelry Art: Bird in Flight necklace

Some pieces of jewelry are actually miniature sculptures, and can even stand alone. In the past, these were often called "cabinet jewelry", and while it was meant to be a somewhat derogatory term that implied it was hard to wear, I have enjoyed making a few pieces like that in the past. But then once in a while, on the other hand, a truly successful artwork in the medium of jewelry surfaces - one that forms a symbiosis with its wearer. Such a piece is actually not complete until it is WORN. Seen by itself, it just sits there - but once it is put on, it literally comes to life. This necklace, titled "Bird in Flight" is just such a piece!

It is called a "torque" necklace, because it relies on the torque or springiness of the silver neckwire to hold its shape. The silver is hand-hammered on a polished anvil with polished hammers, not only to shape it, but to impart the "memory" of its graceful shape that clings to the nape of the neck. The position that it naturally comes to rest is actually on the SHOULDERS, not the back of the neck! Thus, its wearer is allowed total freedom of movement without feeling any sort of binding on the neck.

This position results in something remarkable happening that makes it an incredibly flattering piece to wear: First, it exposes the beautiful curve at the base of the neck, where the neck swoops into the shoulders (one of the most beautiful lines on a woman's body).... and, secondly, because the necklace is open on the front, there are no horizontal lines across the front of her throat, so the full sweep of the neck is visible in the front! Perhaps my most flattering piece when worn. The neat thing, though, is that the neckwire is wide enough so that it can be worn on a turtleneck, too.
The "wing" surface is cast from a torch-textured silver piece (in a process called "reticulation"), that emphasizes a rich, furrowed texture that contrasts nicely with the polished silver framework. This textured surface is meticulously hand-finished by a process that involves heating it to red-hot heat and quenching it in acid. This process is repeated over & over, until the silver is a pure crystalline-white color that reflects light in a unique way that can't be achieved any other way.

This piece currently goes for $450 in the silver version shown here, and I also make it as a fancier version (posted here) with Amethyst and Freshwater pearls, as well as Gold versions (gold vermeil or solid 14K). Check out the earrings I designed to go with it (to be posted soon!)
...Just call me personally at the studio to order one:
(505) 296-1400,
or Email me at: - I'll be in touch!

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