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Design by Susan Wheeler

Celebrating a Life Lost Too Soon

1: Susan Wheeler

I don’t usually design things that are representational, but with the blue sapphires matching the color of Tim’s uniform, I felt moved to design a piece that was symbolic of who Tim was and of the career for which he had such passion. I started researching antique policeman whistles, and I was amazed at how decorative they once were. They had engraving, gemstones, and all sorts of details. Although I originally toyed with the idea of creating a longer style whistle, I settled on creating a more traditional model, which would give me a good amount of space to lay out the sapphires.

I liked the ideas of the sapphires representing the three most important men in Jenny’s life: Tim and their two sons. I placed the largest sapphire on the top by itself, with the two smaller sapphires on either side of the whistle. I wanted Jenny to feel like she had all her family together in one piece.

I’m a clay artist so when I design settings in CAD, I print the model and then add clay to the areas surrounding the settings. I like having a natural texture surrounding the stones, and it’s not something that can be duplicated with etching or engraving. And, for a family that loves getting out in the world, it seemed a natural fit.

Design by Susan Wheeler

Beyond the police symbolism of the whistle, I wanted this piece to be something that Jenny could always wear close to her heart. I also felt that it represents the idea of safety, especially for an active family that likes to get out in the wilderness. Creating a piece that gave Jenny a feeling of safety was important to me.

I designed the whistle in yellow gold because it’s a warm, rich metal. It also mimics the brass often used in the buttons of policemen’s uniforms. The brass of the gold and the blue of the sapphire just created a cohesive look that seems to match the regal look of a uniform. A diamond-accented bail adds a little sparkle to the piece.

Susan Wheeler is the owner of Susan Wheeler Design in Chicago.

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


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