Behind The Scenes - Tahitian Pearl Pendant

April 04, 2022

Behind The Scenes - Tahitian Pearl Pendant
Last Autumn, I got a request from R to create a pendant for her daughter in law E, for Christmas. R had a Tahitian black pearl that she wanted to set in a pendant. 
The Tahitian Black Pearl Elena had to design a pendant from was 10mm in size
When I got chatting to R, I quickly realised that this had to be a very special design as it would be in memory of her son M, who had passed from this life suddenly and unexpectedly just a few short months earlier. 
M had bought this pearl for his darling young wife E and had intended to get a bespoke piece of jewellery created around it for her.  R wanted to surprise E and fulfil his wishes. 
M was an Irish musician, who loved more than anything his beautiful wife and their young son. 
The pearl was 10mm across and E wore mainly small jewellery, so it was a challenge to come up with designs that didn't look too big. 

 

Some initial ideas for the bespoke Tahitian Black Pearl Pendant.
After many sketches to and fro, R and myself settled on a base clef, with birthstones (  M's + E's son's  and  M's ) on the two dots, with the beautiful pearl set in it's centre. Down the body of the Base Clef, M's name in Ireland’s ancient language Ogham.
The sketch of which we based the design of the Tahitian Black Pearl Pendant.

I cut the Base Clef from silver sheet and chased it to create a more three dimensional piece.

The three dimensional base clef cut from silver sheet to create the basis of the Tahitian Black Pearl Pendant.

On top of the two dots, I soldered 18ct gold tube settings for the gemstones, and I created a setting for the pearl complete with centre spike to secure it in. 

18ct gold tube settings for the gemstones on the Tahitian Pearl Pendant.

It was nerve-wracking drilling the pearl, but it had to be done. Then I drew on the Ogham writing in pencil, and engraved it into the silver using hand engravers. 

The Tahitian Pearl set onto the bespoke Irish designer pendant.

Jump ring soldered on, gems set, and all polished up. I lightly patinaed the piece, to bring up the Ogham writing ( the black goes into the engraved lines and shows them more clearly). 

The Tahitian Black Pearl Pendant lightly patinaed to show the Ogham Writing on the Pendant.

Last thing to be done was gluing in the pearl. Again, I had to be very careful to ensure no air bubbles got into the glue, and that it was a tight fit. I also was petrified that I would scratch it. 

The finished Tahitian Black Pearl Pendant sitting on the bench in Elena's Jewellery Studio.

Mercifully all went well and it looked lovely as a finished piece. 

 

A closer look at the patinaed effect on the Tahitian Black Pearl Pendant.

R and her husband collected the piece on Christmas eve and yes... there were tears... mine too, as it was so sad that M lived such a short life...

A look at the fron of the bespoke Tahitian Black Pearl Pendant handmade in Ireland by Elena Brennan.

 

After Christmas E sent me this beautiful message.  

Elena, you have created the most beautiful and precious piece of jewellery with the black pearl my husband had brought many years ago from the Cook Islands. 
 
Thank you so so much.. 
 
It is absolutely beautiful and so perfect! 
It'll be treasured forever and it'll be a family heirloom some day 
Thank you for putting so much thought and work into it. From the shape, the birthstones, M's name in ogham  It is so precious.
 
You're incredibly talented. 
 
Many of my friends have asked me about it already and keep on asking. 
I love telling them about it and what it means... The story behind it.. 
 
Thank you so much for creating such a beautiful and meaningful frame for my precious M's pearl. 
E
A look at the Tahitian Black Pearl Pendant from the back and front.
A closer look at the design of the bespoke three dimensional pendant by Irish Jewellery Designer Elena Brennan.




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