How to get from mundane to amazing - all the steps you need to know to redesign your jewelry.

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Behind the Scenes with Suzanne Foster
Part II

My favorite part of being a jewelry designer is working with my clients to re-design and re-purpose their out-of-style or unwanted jewelry. I am always as thrilled as they are when the completed new designs are revealed!

So where does inspiration comes from and how do we put a design all together? A great way to explain things is to use a work in progress as an example so you can see how we work from start to finish.

Project: Phoenix
Our client had out-of-date Jadeite and diamond earrings that truly needed an update. This jewelry was just too dressy and the touches of yellow gold with tiny baguette diamonds were totally out of fashion. The couple were celebrating a big milestone and wanted to make something new. Our original concept idea was to create a pin, and the Phoenix motif seemed like a perfect symbol of celebration and renewal. 


Here's where Tim's years of experience really shined. Using paint and colored pencils, the first round of the design was meticulously concepted. The sketches gave our clients an excellent visual as to how the finished pieces would look.

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The client loved the concept, but decided to go with a simpler design, asking us to create a wearable everyday necklace instead.

So we disassembled the earrings and played around with the loose stones. By alternating the larger and smaller Jadeites and then by adding a pear shaped yellow Sapphire we had in stock, we ended up with a very elegant and simple layout.

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This was more like it! Our client really loved the simplicity; the stones were uncluttered and paramount to the design. The addition of the yellow Sapphire was a hit too, so we kept that element and were able to move on to the next step in the process: a new sketch and conceptual design.


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This idea was a real winner, so we tweaked the design by adding additional stones between the pairs of Jadeite to give the overall design more balance. Two fancy yellow round diamonds with white pear shapes added balance to the yellow Sapphire center.

To give our client a great visual, we laid the actual stones on top of the sketch. Look at the amazing luster of the Jadeite and how the yellow is a perfect compliment.

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What a refreshing change from the original earrings! Although not always the case, you can see there were several iterations before this final design was accepted. Of course, now the real work begins—to work with our dedicated staff of jewelers to create this amazing new piece. I'll post pictures when it's complete this fall.

Next time I'll share three more of our design projects. In the meantime, imagine your own possibilities for items you might want to redesign. There will also be a sneak preview of our Harvest Day open house event. Mark your calendar for the 15th of September between 10am-5pm!