After I decided to feature the beautiful oval spessartite garnet in the First Piece, I moved on to procuring gemstones for the first three pairs of earrings.
I settled on a very unusual pair of 9mm round cranberry red tourmalines. These are really amazing! such rich, wonderful and truly one-of-a-kind color! I thought they would be especially nice with the 18K yellow gold and dark wood inlay. At this point, I have not finalized the color for the radiating smaller accent stones, but I am leaning either towards bright contrasting orange spessartites, or a more tonal route with cinnamon zircons. Since I'm using 4mm rounds, I can proceed with creating the framework and inlay and decide on the stones at the very end of the manufacturing process.
I redrew the final working drawings several times, refining the proportions, petal shape, and placement. I want all the flowers to be clearly the same "species" but to vary the way petals the way they vary in nature. The First Piece design was simplified further with a long gold tear drop extending from the tip of the bottom petal. The 7mm round blue zircons will have 3mm rubellite tourmalines around them in the medium size earrings. Another version will feature blue sapphire around the center zircons for a study in blue hues.
I created the rules for the collection as well. The shape of the ear-wires will have a front curve and lever back, and the thickness of the gold walls holding the wood will all be 0.9mm. The petals in the wood inlay pieces will be flat and 4-5mm thick. I also decided to work through the metal framework in CAD ahead of the wood inlay. I will be able to use the CAD file to generate a template for cutting the wood. The final pair of earrings in this first series will feature 4mm center stones and be only 20mm across, so the petals will be made entirely of metal, with no wood inlay. The petals will be peaked in shape and hollow in the back for light-weight earrings. This slight departure in petal shape will pave the way for other variations while keeping a cohesiveness to the collection. The eighth petal in each piece is placed in a different location as I previously planned. After the drawings, scale and specs are written, I then bag up the stones to stay with the drawings for the duration of our construction process.
The next blog post will show the CAD images! At that point, final design tweaks will occur and then we are off to the races! At this rate, I am thinking I can have a few pieces ready as a "collection preview" for the trunk show I am presenting at The Russell Runway Show on March 23rd in Great Falls, Montana during Western Art Week.