From Simple Diamond to Elegant Earring

by Jane Becker on August 5, 2019

One of the things I love the most about living in New York City is that there is always something to do or somewhere to go.  It is impossible to be bored here.  As a result, the people who live here tend to be very busy and are often pulled in many directions.  Many of my clients are professionals on the go.  I was contacted by one such attorney a few months ago.  She has a thriving practice and is married with an active son.  In turn, she is athletic and enjoys going to the gym.  She contacted me at the beginning of the year in reference to creating a pair of earrings with diamonds from one of the first gifts her husband ever gave her.  With this in mind, she wanted a hanging earring that could be worn from day to evening with a very secure clasp.

Over the course of several months I sent her many different photos, designs, configurations, and inspirations for how we could make these earrings.  The diamonds were an unusual size so we couldn’t just take a pre-made setting off the shelf.  After some email exchanges, she chose a design and we went through the process of creating a custom setting; from 3D model to final product.  Once we had a model, I picked out some smaller diamonds that had to perfectly match her princess cut gems in order to enhance their brilliance.  And of course – I didn’t forget to make them very secure so that when she’s running around the city there is a lower risk of losing an earring!

Tip:  When storing your diamonds do not throw them all in a box – diamonds will scratch other diamonds – and gold – which will make your jewelry less brilliant!


From Beginning to End

by Jane Becker on July 8, 2019

Over the course of my career, many of my clients have asked me about the process of creating a piece of custom jewelry.  I often tell them there are 8 to 10 steps in the creation of any custom piece, and I thought I’d share them with you today.

One of my clients gave me a bag of jewelry that she was no longer enjoying.  In the bag, there was a beloved citrine earring which had lost its mate.  After a long discussion with her about the types of jewelry she likes, we settled on the look of a heavy 18K yellow gold pendant design.  We are using the checkerboard faceted oval citrine from the earring, as well as some smaller diamonds that I removed from the jewelry that was in the bag.  Once I removed the diamonds and gems I sold the rest of the jewelry for her, which covered the entire cost of making the pendant. 

Next I drew up designs based on our conversation.  I took that sketch to my model maker and he took my drawing and reproduced it in a 3D wax model, which could accommodate her stones.  The reason for creating a custom setting is that when you are using stones from a lot of different sources they may not all be the same exact size and shape and a pre-fabricated setting might not accommodate your gemstones.

I approved the wax model.  Now this particular client wanted to be involved in every single step of the design process, so for her I wanted to cast the model in silver so that she could approve the actual design as seen in metal.  Casting it in silver would be much less expensive than in gold for this step of the process.   Once she approved the designed, I had it cast in 18K yellow gold.  

Next we had to find an 18K yellow gold chain.  Finding an appropriate style in 18K yellow gold, which was 18 inches long, and at the right price point, was a challenge.  Most of my suppliers had 14K gold, and when I did find an 18K gold chain it was very expensive.  Fortunately I did find one supplier who met all these requirements.  In addition, my client wanted to be able to have the option to wear it at either the 16 inch or 18 inch length, but didn’t want two different chains.  I was able to add a jump ring at the 16 inch mark so that she had both options.

One of the final steps was to create an 18K yellow gold bail to attach the top of the pendant so the chain can easily flow.  I bought a length of 18K gold round wire to create a bail, and took it to my jeweler who created the handmade bail for the pendant.  Then the center gem and the diamonds were set by my diamond setter in to the pendant.  Then we wanted to put a matte finish on the pendant, so I brought the pendant to a polisher and he did a final cleaning and polishing and created a matte finish on the surface.

Finally I found a pretty box to deliver the product!

Tip:  A matte finish is best for pendants, earrings, or bracelets.  A matte finish will wear away on a ring if it’s worn often.  There is upkeep involved in keeping matte finish on your favorite pieces of jewelry.



What to do with Grandma’s diamond

June 3, 2019

One of my friends contacted me because she wanted take her Grandmother’s diamond engagement ring and create something she could wear everyday.   One of the prongs on the ring was broken, so she could either repair Grandma’s ring or come up with an entirely new design.  Since she prefers contemporary styling, and Grandma’s ring was classic style, […]

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Bear Hug

May 6, 2019

This unique bear hug ring (below left) was created for my client’s wife, his “beschert.”  He wanted to give her something for a special occasion that you wouldn’t  find in just any retail store.  Since he likes to give his wife stuffed bears he thought that a bear motif would be fun.  He showed me this image of two […]

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Valentine’s Day Every Day

April 1, 2019

I was commissioned to create two unique wedding bands.  Most couples will try on different rings to see how they fit before they decide to commission me to make a ring.  In this case the couple tried on several bands, and as soon as she tried on a ruby and diamond ring, he told her […]

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Black Diamond Ring

March 4, 2019

A good client of mine recently acquired an 18K white gold and black diamond ring.  This ring was originally inspired by the Sex and the City movie, where Mr. Big presents Carrie with a black diamond engagement ring.  My client loved the diamond, but wasn’t really enamored with the style of the setting. Because I’d […]

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Unique oval engagement ring

February 4, 2019

Most of the engagement rings I make are with round brilliant cut diamonds.  This is the most popular shape of diamonds.  But sometimes I get introduced to a couple who want to put a twist on the classic engagement ring.  This is one such story. I heard from a lovely couple who were told “talk […]

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To sell, or not to sell…

January 21, 2019

To sell, or not to sell, that is the question. I’m always asked “should I sell my jewelry collection, or should I keep it?”  The answer is not that simple.  Is it something that reminds you of a loved one?  Or is just a piece of jewelry that you haven’t been enjoying for many years? […]

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New life for Mom’s and Grandma’s rings

January 7, 2019

As an appraiser I’m invited to many events to learn about different techniques in appraising jewelry as well as art.  While I was at one such event, I met a lovely gentleman who mentioned to me that his wife has diamond rings that she inherited that she is no longer enjoying.  One ring was from […]

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Unique Dog Tag Pendants

December 3, 2018

A while back, one of my very good customers contacted me in reference to creating this unique necklace for her.  One of her sons is in the U.S. Army and she wanted to keep him close.  With that in mind, we designed these unique, custom-made dog tags.  The pendants are made in white gold surrounded […]

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