One thing that struck me upon reading the story of Rebecca and Kate was the fact that they have been together for 40 years. I liked the idea of tying their long history into the piece, and playing with the idea of something that gets even more precious with time. I also wanted to incorporate their lifestyles and interests into the piece. They lived near the ocean, and they enjoyed going hiking in the mountains. It was important to me to capture their obvious love of nature in the piece.
Since the ruby is substantial in size, I didn’t want to make something for the hand—I thought it would be hard to get away from it being formal and in your face. Instead, I felt a necklace would be ideal, encircling Kate just as Rebecca and her son do. To incorporate their love of nature, I used a rock that Rebecca had found on a hike. She liked it because she felt it evoked the ocean and thought I might be able to use it in the piece. Once she showed me how the stone looked like the ocean when you fly over it, I knew I would incorporate it. Kate has a casual lifestyle, so I wanted to create something that she could easily wear with a t-shirt or a little black dress—a signature piece that she could dress up or down.
I decided to craft the necklace in palladium, which I favored because it’s lightweight but very strong. Plus, the color worked so well with the stone. To honor their 40 years together, I designed the necklace to be comprised of 40 parts (including a link hidden behind the rock). To give the piece a hint of sparkle, I added accent diamonds and rubies sourced from jewelry Rebecca and Kate inherited from family, as I liked the idea of the piece representing the bringing together of two families. A toggle clasp was selected for both comfort and to keep the piece casual and fun. Plus, I felt that, as an artist, Kate would appreciate the handmade feel of it. Artists (and non-artists, too) love having the personal touch of the maker.
Patricia Daunis-Dunning is the co-owner of Daunis Fine Jewelry in Portland, Maine.