Saturday, January 5, 2013

Heirloom Quality

I was recently referred to a new client (thank you, Diane!) who had a healthy stash of gorgeous jewelry from the Edwardian era / 1920s that had belonged to her husband's grandmother.
Upon meeting for coffee, she revealed her lucky inheritance to me, one by one. Needless to say, I was both honoured and delighted at the prospect of 'upcycling' these family heirlooms into necklaces she could wear and enjoy today.
Just look at these rich gold watch chains, brilliant Czek glass, and lustrous enamel and mother of pearl! You just don't find jewelry like this these days, no ma'am!
So, what did I do with it all?
I really wanted to honour the integrity of the original pieces, while catering to my client's request for necklaces that would be whimsical yet wearable enough for every day.
I kept most of the festoon style of this green glass necklace intact, while switching out the focal pendant to this sweet locket. Inside is a photo of the grandmother (whom it belonged to orginally) and her brother as children.
Among the offerings was also this handsome gold pocket watch, and several watch chains and fobs. I decided to use them all in a slightly asymetrical design, and accented it with red Czek glass.
I love the fact that the family's monogram will be carried on in this piece for generations to come.
Finally, a tiny cameo takes center stage beneath a gold crown and enamel buckle. This open-back purple glass had so much lustre, I couldn't bear to break it up, so I just spliced the links into an elegant shape and accented the back of the necklace with repuosse chain and amethysts.
With the exception of a few stones and earring backs (below), I used almost exclusively my client's own jewels! It was a fun challenge, like trying to prepare a meal with a handful of random ingredients. I'm thrilled with the way everything turned out (the food always tastes good when the ingredients are great quality!), and hope my client will enjoy her renewed treasures for many years.
And now for the really big question... What is everyone planning to wear for tomorrow night's Season 3 premier of Downton Abbey? ;)


  1. how lovely! you are truly talented my dear. xoxo

  2. OMG Robyn! These are just so beautiful! I love the purple flower one! But I mean every single one of these pieces is AMAZING!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE! I wish I owned a stash like this to give you!

  3. Beautiful work, Robyn. I love your sensitivity toward these lovely old pieces. I would have tried to keep them intact myself, just as you did :-)

  4. Oh my word!! I think I just drooled on the key board !! Beautiful!! Love the way you kept them intact as much as possible. Your client has some beautiful treasures to wear and/or pass on to others.
    Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

  5. Meant to add - What will I wear to view DA tomorrow evening?!? More than likely, jeans, and a warm pullover type top. Remember, I am not a cold weather person. :D
    Looking forward to the new Season!

  6. Wow - such an outpouring of love on this post! Thank you, everyone! It really was possibly my favourite project so far! As for the Downton outfit, I'll probably be in my PJs by that time, but in my head I will be wearing a rose-coloured silk drop-waist sheath with glass bugle beads and satin gloves. ;)

  7. What a thrill this must have been to work with such lovely old pieces. The new necklaces are every bit as charming. Your talent is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing in your blog.

  8. Robyn you are increadably talented! What an amazing job. I will keep sending you good vibes,and my favorite clients.

  9. Robyn - I love that first necklace of peacock drops and gold and cream stones! All the earrings won my heart - I'd choose one of them for the DA premiere and match my outfit to them. You have such a wonderful talent for designing complicated yet beautiful assemblages! How fun to take on this challenge and create such wonderful works. I hope your client LOVES them and gives you more jewels to work with.

  10. Hi Robyn-your adoring "client" here - received the package of your masterpieces in the mail yesterday - they are EVEN more stunning (if that is at all possible) in person!!! I spent much of the evening planning outfits "around" these works of art :)