Archive for the 'jewelry' Category

Sea Turtles

This week I’m in Hawaii, in Waikoloa on the big island. I’m surrounded by fabulous friends who love me, encourage me, lift me up and make me laugh. The trip was the fabulous Barb’s idea. It’s exactly what I needed, and I’m excited to share it with Paulette and Angie as well.

Jeri & Barb

Just three years ago Bryan, the boys and I visited the big island. We had an excellent trip, with lots of sun, sand and adventure. We’ve been to Hawaii a few times (we’re very spoiled) but usually Kauai or Oahu. The below picture is from an early trip to Kauai, when the boys were fairly little.


In spite of my amazing friends, it was a little bit difficult coming here this time without Bryan. He loved visiting Hawaii, loved snorkeling, diving, beachcombing, golfing, driving around the island. On one of our most memorable trips, we went scuba diving off the south shore of Kauai, in Poipu, and we were surrounded by sea turtles. We knelt on the sandy bottom while the turtles danced around us in the crystal water.

Bryan and I had a travel ritual. When we’d go places we loved, we’d try to bring home a piece of art to remind us of our trip. We have a particularly beautiful colored handmade paper lithograph over our mantel of sea turtles, symbolizing the life cycle.

When I lost Bryan almost exactly a year ago, symbols like that became important to me. I wore a small gold turtle pendant he’d given me on a chain, circled by his wedding band, on a gold chain for months.

One of the rituals I did to mark his passing was get a tattoo. It was my first one. (My only one!) I chose to take the piece of art we’d brought home from Hawaii, and have it translated to body art. I’m proud to wear it not only to honor Bryan, but also as a reminder to pursue adventure and joy – to dive with the turtles when I can.


Yesterday as we wandered Waikoloa, I fell in love with a turtle pendant. I got it for myself. For Bryan. It’s the simple, graceful sort of thing that I can wear most of the time, and probably will.

I’ll probably do something else to remember him while I’m here as well – toss a lei into the volcano or the sunset surf and say a few words. Still, finding and wearing the turtle necklace completed something for me.

Posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by Jeri
Under: family, grief, jewelry | 6 Comments »

The Rings

Six weeks ago I made the decision to reset my wedding set into a new, custom piece of jewelry as a part of making peace with where I am now in life.

Here they are:

The Rings

The 14K yellow gold ring on the left uses the gold from my wedding set, as well as my 1/2 ct princess cut diamond engagement stone. The ring on the right is new, using a 6mm trillian cut peridot and white gold.

They’re big and eye-catching and will take a bit of getting used to, but I really like them. The jeweler, Blue Heron Jewelry in downtown Poulsbo, did fabulous work.

Posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: jewelry | 5 Comments »

Jewelry Choices

There are many changes and re-adjustments in perception that accompany losing a spouse, and I’m reacting to some of them a bit unusually. (hmmm… insomnia, exercising, more insomnia, ear piercing, a tattoo, etc.)

One thing that’s been hard for me to adjust to is jewelry, the symbolic pieces associated with our relationship.

Bryan was always very generous with jewelry, not only the traditional pieces, but gifts at Valentine’s Day, birthdays and holidays as well. Many pieces have sentimental meaning, associated with vacations, stories, times of our life.

The hardest thing for me, really, is my wedding set. And his ring too.

For the first month or so I wore his wedding ring on a chain around my neck, and then I stopped being so consistent about putting it on and eventually didn’t need to anymore. It’s in a dish on my dresser; I see it every day.

Then wearing my wedding set started feeling strange. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not feeling like a footloose single woman at all — but wearing it and looking at it felt like clinging to something bittersweet and lovely that is gone.

On the other hand not wearing it felt strange too, like I was denying the immense importance of our relationship in my life and the love that I will always feel for him.

So, after reflection, I reached a compromise. I’m having a local jewelry designer recast the gold and reset the stone – plus another loose peridot Bryan had given me Valentine’s day, right before I lost him – into a different ring for my right hand.

As a (very) amateur metalsmith this seems like a really positive choice. I’m going forward, holding on to the important pieces in meaningful ways, and using those materials to create something new and beautiful.

I’m having the jeweler make a set of two, stackable rings, one yellow gold with my wedding diamond set in a white gold bezel, and one white gold with the peridot stone set in a yellow gold bezel. As my taste in jewelry is a bit artisanal, the metal will be hammered, satin finish, not mirror perfect.

They’ll be ready in 5 weeks; I’m excited to see and wear them!

Posted on Saturday, June 6th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: grief, jewelry | 9 Comments »

Jewelry Projects

These are actually from the class I took a couple weeks ago – I completed some finish work on them this weekend. I didn’t think I’d like working in enamel – I don’t care much for opaque enamel. I did really think the transparent stuff was cool, it gave a very multi-dimensional, raku-like effect to the finished pieces.

Green Enamel Earrings
Etched 1.25″ long copper triangles, bottle green transparent enamel over flux, sterling silver ear wires with antique patina.

Orange Enamel Earrings
Hammered, domed 1″ copper discs, sunset orange transparent enamel over flux, gold-filled ear wires with antique patina.

Sandblasted Silver Ring
Wide sterling silver ring, comfort cut, sandblasted finish – made for Bryan.

The projects I’m working on now are not yet ready for prime time; I’m having soldering challenges trying to work in mixed metal. Steps in the learning process…

Posted on Sunday, January 25th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: jewelry | 13 Comments »

Hazardous Freight

I have been ordering hazardous chemicals via catalog lately. Really! This is the tagline: “This item is hazardous and is non-returnable. It can only be shipped via ground freight.”

What in particular? A hydrochloric acid and tellurium solution. And ferric nitrate crystals.

No, I’m not building a bomb in my basement. I don’t have a basement. And I’m not trying to poison my great aunt. I no longer have any great aunts. :( (But not because of my chemical-purchasing habits.)

These chemicals, and many like them, are routine metalsmithing supplies. The craft is more than hammer-finishing pieces and soldering ends together for a secure finish.

The first solution is for applying an antique black oxidized finish to silver and gold – it is one of the few chemicals that will patinate gold, which is quite nonreactive. The second chemical, made into a solution with water, is an etching mordant that will work on silver.

Not surprisingly, many metalsmiths have red, raw, dry, cracked hands. Even though we use nitrile gloves and appropriately nonreactive tongs for work with all the hazardous chemicals – acid pickle & etch, acetone, solvents, cleaners, etc. – we end up washing our hands and our works-in-progress (often with scouring powder) so frequently that we chap and dessicate our hands.

I do work in an adequately ventilated area, and use a breathing mask and/or eye protection when appropriate.

It’s worth it when a piece comes together.

Even if the UPS guy does think I’m a nutjob.

Posted on Sunday, January 18th, 2009 by Jeri
Under: jewelry | 4 Comments »