Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jewelry Art: Bird in Flight torque ~ Fancy version

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!
"Bird in Flight" (fancy)
click image to enlarge

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.

Although the overall design remains the same, each one is handmade in different combinations of amethysts, freshwater pearls and decorative accents that makes it unique. Yours will be different in details than the one pictured here, but the overall "look" will be the same.

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 patinated by a process that involves careful application of a chemical oxidizer that colors the metal dark grey, and then selectively removing it on the high spots so the bright silver shows through.

This piece currently goes for $1600 in the fancy version shown here, with amethyst and freshwater pearls...but I also make it as a plain silver version (here, and photo above). Check out the earrings I designed to go with it (also to be posted soon!)

I'll have a shopping cart set up soon, but meanwhile just call me personally at the studio to order one: (505) 296-1400, or Email me at: - I'll be in touch!