new year’s and a pot of gold

happy new year! yes, I know I’m a wee late, but honestly, the new year doesn’t really happen for me until the beginning of feb, after john and I celebrate our birthdays at the end of january.

this year, I am still hibernating a bit but yesterday’s spring weather finally had me boxing up the new year’s bells and moving forward.

been working on a favorite kind of project… the “recycle your old gold” job. making a 4-5 thousand dollar bracelet for under a grand. with the metal and stones that you just don’t wear anymore!

pot of gold

this pot o’ gold will become a solid gold bangle bracelet with a lovely hand forged weight, smooth and shiny texture with only the slightest evidence of the hand forged hammer marks.

not shown in the pot of gold is a tennis bracelet of diamonds. this week, this bangle will ship to my client’s daughter and she will try the bracelet on for size and then take my sharpie and dot along the bracelet where she would like me to flush set the tennis bracelet diamonds.

this will be a classic piece: mom gives daughter a bracelet forged from the gold worn by her mother, her grandmother and her aunt.

history…made economical :)

burl ives, neil young, silver and gold

the kids have broken out ‘rudolph the red nose reindeer’ and once again the song ‘silver and gold’ keeps running through my head.

this has happened every year, even before silver and gold became my career as a jeweler. I have to launch into a good hearty rendition of neil young’s “powderfinger” to get burl ives out of my head :)

but for everyone shopping online, I digress…

a question people always ask about the trinkets: how do I wear my trinkets with my other jewelry?

the answer is ‘silver and gold’, or actually silver and platinum and gold most days.

wearing my 22k solid gold ohm pendant

rarely do I ever take off the emerald cut diamond that john gave me so many years ago. it is my version of my engagement ring. but gold vermeil is my offering this season and I wanted to wear my golden om.

so given the sparkly nature of the season, I am going to wear my golden symbol of calm right next to my sparkly diamond symbol of love. this sets the tone for lots of sparkly silver and gold as the holidays progress

silver and gold….

and now you’ll excuse me as I sing another verse of neil young, burl ives has taken over again.

gold trinkets for my fans at the holidays

when I think of you – my friends, fans and subscribers – at the holidays, I always want to do something you’ll really appreciate, and if possible, something you’ve been asking for— this year, the overwhelming request been gold trinkets at a price you can afford.

so while I haven’t solved the crazy gold market, I have found a way to get gold trinkets (and they are gorgeous, check out his picture) into your hands this holiday season, for gifts or for yourself, gold for about the same price as sterling silver, and whats more, a holiday discount on both! read on to find out how.

gold vermeil trinkets for the holidays

here’s the story:

leave it to one of my custom clients to come up with a solution to the “gold market fiasco”, as I’ve been calling it. a couple of months ago a client came to me with her very sentimental angel medallion in sterling silver. she wanted to have a replica made in yellow gold. it priced out a mere 3k. that’s right, a solid gold replica would be $3000, and that itself was heavily discounted from the “suggested” or traditional jeweler’s mark-up.

ummm, no.

the client actually suggested the solution: how about plating the silver medallion in gold?

well I have always shied away from gold plating. there is so much stuff out there done with sub-standard plating. full of nickel, too thin, lousy color etc. you’ve seen it: the color doesn’t look quite right and within months, you are left with some base metal (of indiscernable nature) “shining” through.

not cool and not worth it.

the universe however, is kind to me. after a few calls to some of my mentors in the biz, I found myself chatting away with a chemist, a woman who has been plating for over 55 years. she plates in 22k yellow gold and will match any gold color desired. the medallion was sent off and returned with the most gorgeous 22k gold vermeil. in the rich color of 18k “european” gold. absolutely stunning.

well, this got me thinking: expert gold plating on sterling would last longer than on base metal. the trinkets are not heavy wear items like rings or watches. her services are quite affordable compared to my costs to fabricate or cast in solid gold. so……

so I sent off a package of solid sterling silver trinkets. peace signs, little wishbones, ohm symbols and zodiac signs… and they too have returned with a gorgeous 22k gold vermeil, again in the color of 18k yellow gold, that you see in the pic above.

I LOVE them, and I’m particular. they are so rich, so warm and so pretty, and sooo affordable as my holiday special offer to my subscribers, fans and friends–

so here’s the deal

because they are experimental, I only have a few of each trinket in gold: peace signs, ohm pendants, wishbones and all 12 zodiac signs. I’m not sure if they will be part of the line yet, but John is going to make new items in the online store for them anyway, and we will send out a private link to them to my email subscribers only on Thanksgiving morning, along with a discount good for 40% off all trinkets in the online store. (yes its been a good year, thanks to all of you :)

the gold trinkets will retail for $135, the sterling silver ones remain $117, so at 40% off, gold trinkets will be $81 each and the sterling trinkets will be $70 each. they will arrive to you prettily packaged for the holidays. two pieces of rawhide , black and natural. cut long so you can tie the rawhide at any length.
delivered in one of my silver, gold or black organza pouches.
super simple, super sexy, super grateful.

the discount code will be good until December 15, but when the gold trinkets are gone, they’re gone for delivery this holiday. (if you really like them, I will add them permanently to the line next year.)

get yours early

now if you know you want one (or more, for great holiday gifts!), you can email me now to reserve yours and I will get back to you and handle your purchase personally. new subscribers will get the code, so tell your friends who love your pendant to sign up here, this is their chance to get the best deal I can do outside of morning television ;)

as always thank you for your support of me and my work, and have a fantastic holiday with your families this weekend!

more soon,


yellow gold ring with rolling white gold diamond band

yellow and white gold rolling rings

a rather challenging ring to fabricate! the base is a yellow gold, forged concave band. a forged white gold band, studded with diamonds, rolls atop the yellow gold band.

my client, a most lovely woman with a real eye for design, had been looking for a jeweler to realize her vision. apparently, many a jeweler had turned her away! indeed, this was a challenging commission, but in the end, a most satisfying one.

my rust studio ROCKS

the view from my new studioredding, connecticut has to be one of the most beautiful places in all of america. I am absolutely in love with my new home here with the wild turkeys, the deer, and the really large sounding bullfrog in the boggy pond (are there big bullfrogs here)?.

moving in the midst of a hurricane is always an adventure, but we have settled in so very beautifully and my studio absolutely, positively ROCKS… check it out, even my furniture and artfully neglected rusty anvil match the cool rusty toned (ahem) linoleum. I can’t help but make beautiful things with this vista.

the jewelry studio in Redding

I finished this sweet little sapphire and gold ring, right before I sent the studio off in the moving truck, all hand made 18k yellow discs soldered together with a lovely deep blue sapphire bezel set in rich warm gold. I’ll have to find the picture, as its a great example of what you can do when you melt down gold and start anew. sweet, little and rather unique, my friend beth’s design for her sister in law who just gave birth to a boy, a sister’s “push present” if you will :)

~ looking forward to receiving sue’s “disco” gold earrings to melt down and create anew. dig out that old gold. gold is good right now, brings some of this sun with you as the days get cooler ~

and I do so love melting it down into molten…

be so warm and dry


olympic ring birthstone necklace

swimming in the ocean

i am an ocean child.

the kids and i have just returned from a three week holiday. first in old lyme with my mom, the kids learning to swim, being crazy little fish with their cousins. then off to the water’s of newport with my dad at the new york city yacht club’s summer residence at harbor court, newport, rhode island and ending with our pittsburgh cousins in stone harbor, new jersey.

oh yes, and i have also fallen in love with redding, ct, a delightful little town in fairfield county. life is really very good to us and i could not be more grateful for the ocean, my family and the serendipity of running into old friends.

and my jewelry always looks better with a tan :)

before i left for our beach holiday, i finished this gold birthstone necklace. three forged gold rings with hammered texture, three bezel set birthstones, with the birthstones representing mommy, baby and daddy, rings forever linked together, but able to move freely.

olympic ring birthstone necklace

this piece was so much fun to forge and here is the cool part:

mom and dad had a courtship during the china olympics as dad was a coach for the us olympic sailing crew and she joined him there while they were dating. i didn’t know about the olympic connection, however, when i designed this necklace, the three rings just came to me while i was chatting with him about her “push present”. the image of three rings, forever joined, but able to move freely.

this is why i like to talk to you all before i design for you :)

be so well and stayed connected, change is afoot!


olympic ring birthstone necklace

3 gold rings pendant

olympic ring birthstone necklace
when he called asking for a gift for his wife who had just given birth to their son, i immediately saw three gold interlocking rings, with topaz for the baby’s november birthday and diamonds to signify his wife and himself.
here is the funny part: he coached a usa olympic sailing team and she accompanied him to china for the olympics.
another pendant that feels good to play with.

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.

18k palladium white gold diamond set

18k white gold set, brushed finish

the color achieved by alloying 18k white gold with palladium is so hard to describe, but this photo really seems to capture the color and depth of the metal.
this necklace, ring and bangle bracelet are an early set that i made when i was just learning to forge and shape new alloys.
nowadays, i like to play "metalsmithing snob" and refuse to work in any other white gold alloy.
regular 18k white gold uses nickel as a bleaching agent, as gold is really yellow and needs a whitener. many people are seriously allergic to nickel. it is curious to note that EU has laws that govern the use of nickel in jewellery sold in Europe.
regular white gold is a pain in the ass to forge. it fire cracks when you heat it, quench cracks when you cool and stress cracks when you hammer it.
not fun.
palladium however, is lovely and malleable, white and tarnish resistant. it does work harden faster, but since it is not inclined to fire, quench or stress crack, i consider this an advantage.
i hammer my metal to be solid and dense, no stress fractures please.
finally, this alloy needs no pesty rhodium plating. what you see is what you get, lovely deep white gold color. and no nickel rash.

oh and yes, this necklace, bangle and ring went to one very lucky girl.

Christmas present feedback | 22 karat gold om pendant

Yes, I am still finishing the last few jewelry orders for holiday gift giving in the studio and have been pressed for time with holiday preparations for the kids, in-laws visiting, etc– but this email I received today is too good to wait!

I love getting feedback like this on my work (for obvious reasons) and sharing someone else’s words is the best way to share with you why I love my work and why I love working with my clients.

It just arrived and it is beautiful! I can’t wait to give it to her, she will love it.

Thank you for rushing the shipping, I do appreciate it. I also enjoyed talking to you and will definitely keep in touch…
I’m still having trouble seeing snow on the beach (it just seems wrong) and we did get over a foot! The next day the sun was out and it was the coolest sunset with the water and snow all lit up in a golden glow. I hope you, John, and the kids have a fantastic Christmas and New Year! Good health!

Thank you Mark and all of my wonderful clients this holiday season- it is truly my pleasure to get to know you and create for you at this special time of year. I wish you all a magical holiday and fabulous 2010!

22k solid gold ohm pendant

top holiday gifts? handmade jewelry, of course.

*scroll to the bottom for this year’s special holiday shopping offer for my subscribers!*

the studio is starting to get busy with orders and questions about holiday gifts and gift ideas, so i thought i’d write quickly my holiday gift ideas for you before getting back to new custom jewelry projects and photos.

my holiday gift guides

we’ve re-established my online shop for my handmade jewelry: each of my handforged peace sign jewelry pieces (including the earrings!), rune symbols and wishbone necklacesthat have been my top holiday gifts in past seasons.

online payments for my shopping cart are securely handled by PayPal, where you can use any major credit or debit card as well as your PayPal account.

this year i’m pleased to add a new series of pendants in time for the holidays: the ohm pendant designed for my fellow yoga fans and practitioners.

like my other handmade jewelry, the om pendants are made one at a time on my studio and are available on different chains and lengths to order. my current favorite combo is the 22 karat gold om pendant on rawhide, a nice juxtaposition of purity, luxury and simplicty.

gold ohm pendant on rawhide

in time for christmas?


one of the reasons i recommend the pendants is that they are simple enough to finish and ship quickly, even at the last minute. I usually ship for the holidays up until December 15 or so by my usual means, USPS priority mail with insurance and tracking.

doing any holiday specials this year?


every year i do a special holiday discount offer for memail subscribers, and this year i’m extending it to my Facebook Fans as well.

this year, its called Gold Friday:  you can save from $60 to $260 on all gold jewelry in my online shop this Thanksgiving weekend only.

so join me on my Facebook page for handforged custom jewelry or sign up for my list below before midnight on Thanksgiving, and I’ll email you the special code along with all of my longtime clients, friends and fans first thing on Gold Friday morning! (screw Black Friday– there, I said it.)

14k gold engagement ring

14k gold engagement ring with sapphireI love this ring– its always so nice to see engagement & wedding ring clients a few years later, and the rings, too.

I made this ring in 2004 before I went to study jewelry in Italy, and just saw it again for a little clean-up while I made them an anniversary ring to go with it!

Here’s the original white gold ring with a central sapphire flanked by little diamonds.

 yellow gold ring with diamonds

and here’s the 5 year anniversary ring in yellow gold with three white diamonds.

the first zodiac sign!

its finally time for the zodiac signs!

the pot of gold idea i wrote about last time is a recent idea that will serve for a long time, i think, but i’m probably more excited right now about the zodiac symbols, handforged sterling silver pendants in the style of my peace pendants or ohm pendants.

my zodiac signs are the other way around: an old idea I’ve really wanted to do for a long time, just recently getting an opportunity to come to fruition, starting with this custom leo pendant. this is one of my most successful jobs ever, because i got it just right for a very thoughtful client.

leo zodiac pendant in yellow gold with sapphire

this note form Mark shows exactly why this was such a successful project for me, because my work for him was such a perfect gift for her.

Hi Heather,

I just want to let you know that I received – and love – the Leo pendant…. Thanks, also, for the personal note that you included….

… turning 21 is a big milestone for us. I wanted to mark it with something special and nothing off-the-shelf would’ve adequately expressed the occasion.

Thank you for forging my feelings into something that will mark and enrich us for the years ahead.

Warmest regards and best wishes,
Mark Morgan

i’ve always been moved by this piece and this testimonial, and as a true to form aquarius, have wanted to share it with everyone else.