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Design by Gina Pankowski

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon

2: Gina Pankowski

With a nephew that is about to embark on a career in law enforcement, Tim and Jenny’s story really hit home for me. That path can be hard on families, and I was excited to honor it with my design.

To learn more about Tim and Jenny’s life together, I looked into the area where they lived and some of the amazing places that they would have visited. One thing that really stood out to me was that their hometown is the meeting point of two rivers—the Mississippi and the Minnesota. The rivers meet in an interesting Y shape, and I liked the idea of incorporating it in my design as a way to celebrate the part of them that loved the outdoors. They had a great connection to this place, and I wanted the piece to be a true symbol of everything they loved.

I settled on a pendant design because I believe that a necklace is the one piece of jewelry that really embraces the wearer. I created the shape of the pendant to mimic the outreaching arms of an embrace. When Jenny puts it on, this special piece will always be close to her heart. I kept the design very smooth and simple, carving the metal to a triangular profile whose soft, curving ridge enhances the idea of flowing water. I also incorporated a diamond briolette drop to the bottom of the pendant. To me, the briolette’s shape represents water but in a subtle way. The shimmering diamond’s strong refraction will remind Jenny of the times they spent on the water with their children.

I crafted the piece in 18k white gold with a high polish. Personally, I prefer to use white gold with blue sapphires because the white polished surface helps reflect more of their beautiful blue light. I loved that the sapphires were a gift from Tim’s grandfather. It’s a nice gesture, as sapphires are sometimes thought to bring protection and good fortune. Assuming Tim’s wedding band was also comprised of white gold, I think it would be nice to include it in the melt for the pendant, making the piece a true celebration of his life and all that he loved.

Gina Pankowski is the owner of Gina Pankowski Jewelry in Seattle.

Click here to read more about the challenge and to access the work of the other designers who participated.


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