"Amend: To repair, correct, or make right."
Sometimes customers ask, "Can you do something with this?" Maybe some stones have fallen out, maybe it's a sentimental piece that has broken, or maybe they have a piece they can't wear and wonder if there's anything I can do with it so that they can wear it again. I am not a "fine jeweler" like you might find in the Diamond District or at BC Clark but as an artisan/craftsman I am very fortunate that my customers have faith in my skills and creative abilities, and I am highly honored when they ask me to work on their jewelry.
Here are five particularly memorable cases:
- Customer had a beautiful bracelet watch, set with crystals and cabochons, and stones had fallen out of some of the links. I was able to match the existing stones and crystals with new ones.
- Customer had a ring that was too big. She didn't care for the setting, but she loved the stone, a lovely chevron Amethyst cabochon. I was able to reset the cabochon into a new Sterling Silver setting, much more appropriate to her style and taste, that fit her finger better. She now proudly wears that ring every day.
- Customer had a Southwestern style belt buckle of sentimental value to her, and some of the cabochons had fallen out. She asked if I could just replace all the cabs. I found some lovely turquoise ones and did exactly that. She is utterly delighted with her "new" belt buckle!
- Customer had a bracelet that had been a gift, that was uncomfortably tight. I was able to construct and add links to match the existing bracelet so she could enjoy wearing it.
- Customer had a vintage necklace of handmade shell beads that her missionary grandmother had brought back from Africa many years ago. It was an amazing piece, beaded in a particular pattern. Unfortunately, the strand had broken so that it was unwearable, and the clasp was fragile and somewhat corroded. Fortunately, she still had almost all of the beads, so I was able to add a few coordinating beads and emulate the original design on a sturdy modern synthetic silk beading thread along with a new clasp. She now has a very special necklace she can actually wear and bequeath to her own grandchildren.
I view these projects as being a little like making a quilt - taking pieces of this and pieces of that and reassembling them. When undertaking a task like this I consider the customer's needs and tastes, balancing their requests and requirements with my own creativity and available materials. In each of these cases and more, my customers express pleasure and delight with the amended pieces I present to them. It's certainly one of the personally rewarding parts of what I do.
Next time I'll take before and after pictures!