On the Bench
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In Honor of 婆婆

One of the things I enjoy most about jewelry-making is the flexibility that the process lends—both in terms of design elements, as well as in choice of materials. Say you’ve been admiring that turquoise beaded necklace a friend recently wore to a party, yet you’d really prefer wire-wrapped round beads to knotted oblong ones. Rather than purchase it as-is with design qualms, why not approach a jeweler who can custom design and fabricate a piece that meets all of your tastes. You’ll be likelier to re-wear your necklace time and time again with no regret, rather than lament the expense and leave it ignored in the jewelry box.

My grandmother (婆婆), Sai, for whom my business is partially named after, passed away last winter. Following that time, my mother and her sisters took possession of and split the jewelry collection she had amassed over the decades. The collection ranged from special occasion jade and yellow gold pieces to more quotidian costume jewelry. Among the items my mother chose, was a double-stranded necklace of pearlized, rosy-toned, round beads complete with a flower crystal box clasp. However, one of the strands had come loose with so much wear, and the clasp’s tongue was no longer functioning well. Some of the beads had also experienced quite a bit of wear and some of the coating was coming off. In honor of Sai’s memory, I wanted to meaningfully (and economically) gift my mother with a re-invented version of the necklace re-utilizing my grandmother’s original beads (the ones that had remained in decent condition). To complement the rosy hue of the beads, I wire-wrapped them into a single opera-length strand with 14k gold-filled wire and interspersed some delicate gold-filled beads throughout. I took the largest of the beads available, and transformed it into a small detachable pendant. I did the same with the crystal clasp, removing the tongue component, and converting the remainder into an alternative pendant to wear on the strand.  The detachable nature of these pendants lends versatility of wear.  Now my mother is able to accessorize her outfits with a restyled necklace and matching earrings that still honor her own mother’s memory and their shared simple, yet elegant taste.

003 SaiLin Designs - Custom Work - Sai Documentation

Arranging the good available beads in preparation for wire-wrapping | © 2015 SaiLin Designs

001 SaiLin Designs - Custom Work - Sai Documentation

Beginning the wire-wrapping process | © 2015 SaiLin Designs

004 SaiLin Designs - Custom Work - Sai Documentation

Wire-wrapping progress | © 2015 SaiLin Designs

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