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Seeking inspiration: How the spark of an idea can translate into thoughtful jewellery design

Nature’s way

The outdoorsy among your clients may appreciate a piece featuring their favourite peaks.

Nature can be a great source of inspiration for jewellery design. Whether it is a literal representation of a flower, leaf, rainbow, or sunset, or an abstraction of nature’s beauty, there is immense scope for creativity. Some of the finest jewellery designers in the world—past and present—have interpreted the natural world in their jewellery. Lalique, Tiffany & Co., Fouquet, JAR, and Wallace Chan are but a few such artists.

Living on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, I have made rings and bangles featuring individual peaks. Although I now use CAD to achieve mountains motifs, in my pre-CAD days, I turned to photographs of the peaks and traced their silhouettes by hand with pencil, sketching in some of the identifying contour lines. In addition to creating an arbitrary sea level, I scaled each peak such that their individual heights reflected the altitude of the real mountains. Using a photocopier to shrink the sketch to the appropriate size, I had them photo-etched by a machine shop, turned into rubber moulds, and injected and cast. For this kind of project, I invite my clients to choose their favourite peaks—three fit a normal ring and seven or eight fit a bangle. Typically, we cast the peaks in white gold, using either white or yellow gold for the background.

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