A bracelet I particularly enjoyed making this year was in response to the problem of a customer’s existing necklet and bracelet set that was worn beyond repair. The set was made from yellow, rose and white gold links, woven in an intricate pattern. Unfortunately, the edges of the pieces were fractured and worn and it was breaking apart. The set had huge sentimental value, having been given by her late husband. The challenge was to use the gold to make something that was robust and able to be worn all the time.
At the drawing board, I sketched out a variety of bracelet designs that could be made from the gold and hopefully would be pleasing and of comfort for my customer to wear. The design chosen was the ‘pebble bracelet’. It seems very fitting to me, as there is something timeless and contemplative about a having a moment with pebbles. Surely I can’t be alone in this, considering the many pebble stacks left on a beach at the end of a sunny afternoon – they are not made in a mindset of haste and impulsion!
For the chosen design, I would make miniature coloured gold pebbles, stack them and link them together. It would mean that the three colours of gold would remain separate and add contrast to the new design.
First I took the old necklet and bracelet apart link by link. To make sure nothing flew off and disappeared onto the floor, I used a big tray underneath and three dishes for the links, one for each colour of gold. Once I had the gold sorted, I melted small quantities into a domed shape indentation in a charcoal block. This made a perfect pebble shape. A stack of about 4 or 5 gold pebbles seemed the right amount. I soldered them in place, making sure the colours and sizes were random. Some yellow gold was drawn into wire to create the links that connected the pebble stacks.
I was pleased to be able to use the original clasp in the new piece. I partially hid it inside some of the gold pebbles by creating a hollow for it to fit into. I was delighted to hear when I spoke to my customer recently, that she wears the bracelet all the time.
Bangles and bracelets originated in response to our need for basic things such as protection, identity and to symbolise special events and memories. They still fulfil this role. I like their universal nature and variety. Perhaps even watches and smart-watches cross over into the genre of bracelets and bangles? In whatever form, wrist-wear is certainly a perfect way of expressing personality and story.