The shape is one of my favorite - a long teardrop. The symbols you see on the outside were carved as a decorative element (no significance, other than their decorative properties). The concept was to have the decorative symbols be flush with the surface and highly polished, while the background would be carved away, and textured.
I also wanted the background to be a different color of gold. Originally, I thought of gold-plating the background, but eventually came to the opinion that it might look richer if it were "depletion-gilded", an ancient process where the piece is heated to red-hot and quenched in acid repeatedly. This piece went under the torch at least 40 times to buld up the gold on the surface of the background, giving it a nice contrast to the polished surface.
This same design can also be done in silver, with different stones featured in the center. A large amethyst would be striking! It will be very dramatic also with an oxidized, dark patina in the background.
If you think you'd like to have a piece similar to this one, or a variation of it, please give me a call at the studio directly at (505) 296-1400 - I'll be happy to accommodate you personally. Or if you'd prefer, drop me an email at David (at) StewartArt (dot) com, and I'll get back to you right away!
DESIGN, PHOTO AND TEXT © DAVID LLOYD STEWART - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED