gr tourmaline stackable mother's rings

stackable, forged sterling silver tourmaline rings

sterling silver stackable tourmaline rings

rarely do i effuse about an image of my work…always seem to find the one aspect of the piece that i would like to change, one more time on the anvil, but this photo really captures what I love about these silver rings.

i see the watery sparkle of the sea in these green tourmalines set in the buttery texture of hammered sterling silver– i love these rings!

this stackable design lends itself beautifully to mother’s rings, birthstone rings and other custom gemstone combinations.

the square top of each band is approx 4mm and the ring shank or round band is 3mm, which makes for a lovely, comfortable weight.

i want to make platinum bands like these with smoky blue, black and white diamonds.

anyone?

record spindle in 18k gold

18k yellow gold record spindle

record spindle in 18k gold

we all recognize one of these, don’t we?

the spindle required to play a 45 rpm record, right?

music remains my life line, so when a past client contacted me to make one of these for his wife…over the moon, was i. never asked the significance, but it was tangible.

…now the actual forging of this piece, a bit of a real challenge. many a time, i thought, why did i agree to forge this by hand? this could have been a wax carving. but it is truly one of a kind and when his wife rang me personally to effuse…oh bringing that kind of love and joy together is what makes me feel it is all worthwhile.

platinum rolling rings

i made this ring and then called my client and told her that unfortunately i was headed to tahiti with her ring…never to return, so sorry…

handforged platinum rolling rings

seriously, i did not run off with her rolling ring, but i did dig mine out of my old jewelry box. i have an original cartier tri gold rolling ring, a gift from my parents when i turned 16, and i forged a sterling rolling ring years ago. funky rings to create as i have to make the bands a full two sizes larger than the final band–

this ring is seriously soothing. she came to me with her design, one band hammered, one brushed matte finish, and one perfectly shiny. the intention being a ring for her to roll on her finger, calming, soothing, healing.

we all need this ring :)

Help me donate to the St. Bernard Parish Animal Rescue!

finally!

a month ago i wrote about wanting to run a fundraiser to help people in the gulf affected by the bp oil spill and hurricane katrina, people who are struggling to keep their pets.

to me, this is a devastating thought, having to relinquish your pet because you can no longer afford to care for them….and this is happening to so many people in the gulf.

unfortunately, spay and neuter programs are scarce as they are lacking the funds and “no kill” shelters are few and far between in the gulf right now. too many mouths to house…so to speak and so many people out of work are struggling to keep their four legged children.

thanks to all who responded when i asked for advice on this. i had been researching organizations, but not really getting the “feel” for any of them.
(thanks also to those who raised my awareness about the mis-allocation of funds by some larger orgs– i didn’t know!)

one of the kind people who responded to my post had just seen a segment on the Saint Bernard Parish SPCA, a shelter doing amazing work in really challenging times, and after checking them out online, i am really moved by their passion and mission. Please check out

Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard Parish!

not only are they actively working with their community to help people care for their pets in a time of crisis, they are also ardently working to achieve  another ideal of mine when it comes to animal rescue, a “no kill” status in their shelter.

“We will not give up until our shelter achieves a ZERO euthanasia rate for every healthy, adoptable dog and cat in their care. Warehousing animals will not work; less pets born and more adoptions will! You can be a part of the solution, too!”

as a former non profiteer (the jarvis reilly foundation, san diego 2000-2007), i think this shelter  is really making a difference, so

30% of all  jewellery purchased from heather-reilly.com/shop will be sent directly to the Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard !!

all custom commissions (wedding rings, too!), all ready to wear wishbones, om pendants, runes and peace sign jewellery, from now until i don’t know when– 30% of the sale will go to animals in the gulf through the Friends of the Animal Shelter of St. Bernard.

(i just cleaned the studio before diving back in (took the kids east for a grandparent holiday!) and have a few “sample sale” items appearing here over the next week that will be fair game, too)

for lots of us right now, life isn’t leaving much extra to help out the people, animals and organizations who need it in the wake of the gulf oil spill.  i would send millions if i had it already, but as a jeweller who is also a full-time mom right now, i need your help to send anything.

need a unique gift? time to spoil someone you love? early holiday shopping?

include yourself here :) and help me make a difference!

be beautiful and be so well,

heather

PS the direct link to my online store is heather-reilly.com/shop !

olympic rings & other custom jewelry musings

a lot goes into designing & creating a bespoke jewelery piece; here are some general thoughts and a recent custom jewelry project by way of example.
okay so let’s say we are designing a gift for your sister.
ideally, we actually connect on the phone and chat, engaging in a dialogue about your sister’s style, personality, lifestyle.
a few questions to get my creative juices flowing….
is this a piece of jewellery she is going to wear everyday, or rather a “special occasion” piece?
…how much wear and tear will this piece of jewelry withstand?
i seem to make a lot of rings (always had a thing for rings) and so…
does she do a lot with her hands? a gardener, a surfer, a blacksmith?
will this be worn with other jewellery that she wears everyday already?
are we adding to this ring later on? (in the case of an engagement/wedding ring combo)?

oh wait, this is for your sister, right…sorry :)

does this gift commemorate an event, i.e the birth of a baby, a wedding anniversary? if so, can we incorporate anything symbolic in the design?

ideally, i like to listen to the answers to these questions over the phone…subtle nuances that help me to free form/brainstorm. from here i can begin to design.
ideas at first, conceptualizing the feel of the piece…

here is a good example.

dean called, wanting to custom design a piece of jewelry to celebrate the birth of their first child, due in a few days. as i listened to him just talk about his wife, i immediately saw a necklace. as a new mom she wasn’t going to be fussing with jewellery, so something she can put on and not have to take off seemed appropriate.
as the mom of two little ones, i immediately saw nursing infant, ripping at shiny golden gems. note to self, sturdy chain with a pendant soothing to the touch.

dean mentioned that they had been married for some time and were excited to become a family of three. this made me think, it would be cool to represent all three of them in the piece…how about three forged yellow gold rolling rings, interlinking circles, attached to a sturdy gold snake chain.
dean wanted to incorporate his son’s birthstones. i want to incorporate stones to represent him and his wife as well. i see these interlocking rings in my mind, “sort of like the olympic rings” and he says, “perfect!” dean is involved with the u.s. olympic sailing team and he and emily spent a blissful time together in china during the summer olympics.
:)
i flush set one side of the center link with imperial topaz, november’s birthstone, and the other side with three white diamonds, graduated size to represent him, her and bambino.

here is the finished piece:

custom olympic ring pendant

here is what she said:

“Thank you so much, Heather, for your beautiful work! I love the three rings — both their style and their meaning. The topaz and diamonds are the perfect combination, too. And the chain makes the whole thing come together beautifully.”
Happy New Year,
Emily

often, someone who finds me on the web, emails…just wants a “quick quote” on a piece that has excited them. sorry, not really possible.
all of the portfolio pieces on my site were designed especially for someone. a unique piece of jewellery is going to have as many custom variables as the person for whom it is being designed.
pretty fun process
be so well
heather

custom peace sign pendant

i make peace signs every week. next to my custom designed jewelry, peace sign jewelry is my most popular request.
 

so what makes this particular peace sign so special?
 
the man who it was made for.
 
one morning a couple of weeks ago, i received a call from a gentleman looking for peace sign jewelry. he had a 60 s peace sign back in the day, is well versed in the history of peace sign, and has a deep respect for custom made jewelry. what makes him so special to me? the grace and eloquence with which he conversed and the profound message he shared.
 
nine years ago my new friend went into the hospital for routine surgery. a grave error occurred and he was given a large dose of a medication, not meant for his condition. the medication went to his brain and emergency brain surgery was performed.
 
his speech is slow and labored, he has difficultly giving simple information such as his address and phone number. and yet, he is so kind and forgiving. his message to me was simple. never, ever, underestimate the power of the brain. in the initial stages of recovery, he could not communicate at all, yet he could understand everything. (bear this in mind if you ever are visiting someone in a coma!).
 
be so gentle with those who seem less intelligent, for inside there may be someone who understands and feels so much more than they are able to express. the brain is so complicated…
 
so when i forged my new friend his 60’s peace sign, i wanted to add something special, to let him know that his message touched me in a special way. i am a cancer survivor, as they say, and i am one of the “lucky ones”, so i wanted to thank him for sharing with me.
 
i forged a handmade “s” clasp and welded it onto the chain. it is a little expression (and we didn’t even photograph it), but he should receive it on monday.
i so hope that his new custom handmade jewelry, forged by fire brings him as much peace as the information he shared with me.
 
peace, love and compassion to all,
 
heather
 


custompeace

Sue’s circle of diamonds

its a beautiful sunny fall day and we’re headed to the park, but i wanted to get this new piece of custom jewelry inspired by my LifeChain project published here because Sue just received on Friday after Thanksgiving and loves it!

its a great illustration of new ways to think about old jewelry.

i’d already written these notes about it, too, so now with a picture, here it is:

languishing in a jewelry box no longer!

from a marriage long dissolved,

the wedding ring made anew through hammer and fire.

Sue sent me her 14k white gold, standard comfort fit wedding band and told me to “hammer all the bad energy out of this wedding ring” and create a circular pendant.

i used a heavy torch on the gold, and hammered it hard into a new kind of circle.

reclaimed wedding ring pendant
reclaimed wedding ring pendant

we decided upon 9 diamonds in varying shades of blue, green and purple…nothing too saturated in color, pastel hues, ocean hues…

from a parcel of over 100 diamonds, i selected these nine diamonds….this took the longest time and i am really pleased with the palette.

when i was all done, the piece was rhodium plated.

a strip of black rawhide looped through the circle (a 14k white gold lobster clasp will be affixed to the rawhide once she wears the pendant for a few weeks and determines the exact length at which she would like the pendant to hang).

i think this is a really sexy, really powerful symbol of rebirth, growth and ultimately an expression of self.

what do you think?

your pot of gold

finally getting a chance to finish writing out this *great* idea, one inspired by my first custom LifeChain client and brought to you by the price of gold these days.

as we were talking about her individual life chain links and materials and watching the LifeChain videos together (on the phone and online…now neatly republished on my very own jewelry YouTube channel, she mentioned how she loved the idea of “reclaiming” old, treasured gold jewelry that went unworn, and her mom did, too.

(you can see me melting down and reforging gold of my own in the third LifeChain video).

could we make something smaller with their old gold? starting with a particular set of gold bracelets….

now if you follow me and my work and follow the gold market, you know i mean it when i say that it absolutely hurts to quote clients the price of a substantial, hand forged, custom gold piece of jewelry these days. especially compared with gold market of only five or six years ago, and especially as the holiday jewelry gift season arrives.

so it is with much joy that i credit one of my dearest clients with this new way of creating a meaningful piece of custom jewelry. remake your old jewellery into something you will love and wear or create a very unique, family heirloom type gift, just in time for the holidays.

your pot of gold

people always ask me (after they find out i’m a jeweller), what to do with their gold “scrap”:

  • old bits of gold jewelry
  • earrings missing a mate
  • bracelets too twisted to salvage
  • kinked chains
  • jewelry missing jewels
  • old wedding rings

…you know the jewelry you will never wear again.

what’s the gold worth? what can you do with it?

real gold and diamonds have real value, but somewhat diminished if just sitting forgotten in an old jewellery box, and just selling off old jewelry that’s been in your life or in your family forever has always put me off as a concept….

but i absolutely love this.

“do you think she could use my gold to make me something i will actually wear, make something i love
using this gold i’ve had all these years?”

instead of just old stuff, what you really have is your own pot of gold, gold that can be melted, milled, forged and transformed into something that will really reflect her style, something that she can wear everyday, a bangle, pendant, ring or earrings– we’ll find out (that’s the fun part, by the way).

find out more about the “pot of gold” transformation in the Life Chain videos or contact me directly here.

The LifeChain, part 7

John is finally back to editing the rest of this series about my LifeChain custom jewelry project from this past summer in San Diego, just in time to help me illustrate that round of new inspiration from one of my fabulous clients I mentioned yesterday– check it out, and check in again this weekend to read about my first custom LifeChain commission!

jewelry studio inspiration found!

a few weeks ago, after getting the studio set up, the house in order and the kids down for a nap, i sat down to work and…. wasn’t sure where to start.

i ended up posting to Twitter that i was looking for a sign, for inspiration, and calling it a night.

last week, looking over all of my work online with John, i found the inspiration I was looking for right where i always find it, where i should have been in the first place: with all of you, my clients, fans and followers. it was sort of an The Alchemist moment, where after some anguish, and sort of useless expenditure of energies, I found what I needed most right here at home.

on my orginal jewelry blog on Blogger we found this incredible testimonial posted last month from a long time repeat client back in San Diego posted as a comment that neither of us had seen– John quoted it right away on one of my main jewlery gallery pages and I’m quoting here so you can read it.

Heather made our wedding ring, then my wife’s 30th birthday ring and she adores each of them.

Our 5 year anniversary was no different, and I was so excited for my wife but didn’t want to ruin our dinner and spoil the anticipation. We were early enough to the restaurant with few patrons around, but it starting filling up quick. Not wanting the extra attention of a full restaurant, I couldn’t help myself.

BIG MISTAKE!!!! She was so enchanted with her new ring I didn’t even recognize my wife…. she was a little girl dreaming of beautiful rings someday and here it was! Sounds cheezy but it was true… we are not ostentatious in any sense of the word but she couldn’t stop herself all through the night from checking out her new ring in more poses than I could imagine a hand capable of!

And yes, it was embarrassing for us second hand / retro fiends, but if you’re gonna go big, go heather.

Thanks Heather for the tripleLindy on my wife’s hands! I will send some photos soon and I hope your move went smoothly.

Love Jason and Kimball and now Wilson!

i always turn to my custom clients for inspiration when i’m working directly with them on their jewelry, and here was wonderful Jason telling me what i need to hear all the way across the country right when i needed to hear it- thank, Jason and all my wonderful clients.

it seems now the beginning of a trend, with another inspiring set of ideas tumbling out of discussions with a different client over the few days after that– these next up here this week.

we have to go looking for the pictures of this ring Jason commissioned for his beautiful wife Kimball– little Wilson, I can’t wait to meet you!

price of platinum versus 18k palladium white gold

one of the questions that people shopping for custom platinum engagement rings often ask is “given the price of platinum, what is a good alternative for platinum engagement rings or platinum wedding bands?”

my answer in a particular alloy of gold that i love to forge: 18k palladium white gold.

palladium is a member of the platinum family, but unlike platinum, palladium is extremely affordable. when alloyed with 18k white gold, we have a metal that is intrinsically as close to the color and weight of platinum as anything one could custom create.

so unlike regular 14 and 18 karat white golds, palladium white does not need to be rhodium plated to create its fabulous deep color and so will wear beautifully over time.

to give an idea of its versatility, color and luster, here are some photos of different custom jewelry i have designed and created in 18k palladium white gold.

18k palladium white gold pendant, ring and bangle

18k white gold anniversary ring
18k white gold anniversary ring
18k palladium white gold engagement ring
18k palladium white gold engagement ring

18k white gold ring

I had a lovely holiday visit this morning from one of my first custom jewelry | engagement ring clients here in San Diego, who brought his daughter to pick up her new 18k white gold ring, custom made to celebrate her high school graduation this spring!

custom 18k white gold ring with marquis setting
custom 18k white gold ring with marquis setting

Custom jewelry can be a great graduation gift –imagine getting to design a keepsake | heirloom yourself (at least with a jeweller like me!) at a time of life when you’re designing so much else for yourself and your future… great gift, Dad!

custom jewelry testimonial

this simple custom pendant design was a huge hit with the woman it was commissioned for, reflecting very well indeed on her man who commissioned the piece from me! scroll down to read his sweet email to me after he presented her with this thoughtful gift of custom jewelry.

Heather–

She loves it! loves the weight of it, the design,the length, everything….

… I presented her with the ingot and chain you made and the response was extraordinary and surpassed all my expectations.

Heather, you truly captured the essence of what I was trying to say with this gesture, to say nothing of the craftsmanship and beauty of the piece in and of itself.

To me that is an example of the difference between an artist and some one who is good at crafting jewelry you are truly an artist and I believe the result was a product of my just getting out of the way and letting you create once my desire and some background information was conveyed.

Thank you so much and congratulations on a job done so very well!

-Glenn Prickett

new jewelry photo galleries up!

there’s a lot of uploading left to do, but all of the basic photo galleries of my hand forged custom jewelry are now up and running thanks to John and the guys at Dutch Monkey who developed the DM Albums plug-in for WordPress that we are using now–> great functionality, DM crew– we’re very grateful!

These galleries, divided into the same groups as my static portfolio site www.heather-reilly.com, are reachable through the links in the header.

We will be filling them with more pictures and identifying captions over the next few weeks, so really this is a “sneak preview” announcement for anyone paying attention right now– check it out and be sure to comment where you feel like telling me what you think!

WordPress for my online custom jewelry portfolio

custom jewelry portfolioafter a lot of experimentation and research into what works best for publishing pictures and information about my custom jewelry work, and what has worked best for my followers and readers, John and I have decided on WordPress as the best foundation for a complete and easy to use online portfolio of past work, from engagement and wedding ring commissions to my ready to wear peace sign, wishbone, and om pendants, soon to be available online here in clean, easy to use online shopping interface.