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I LOVE creating for happy occasions!  As much as creating memorial jewelry means to me, creating for a happy event like a birthday is special.  One mom asked me to create something special for her daughter’s birthday.  My first reaction was “Of course, I’d LOVE to!”, then she told me how much her daughter loved llamas.  I have created many unique pieces, from a phoenix to guitars, but llamas are an entirely different animal.  How do you make a llama??

The mom also wanted to incorporate her’s and her daughter’s birthstones into the piece.  The first challenge was how to make the piece strong enough to avoid bending, but delicate enough to be wearable.  The second challenge was that the mother’s birthday is in May with an emerald birthstone and the daughter’s is August with sapphire, both fairly expensive stones, especially finding ones large enough for the piece.  How could we create a piece that was affordable, durable and delicate all at the same time?  The daughter prefers silver, but since we wanted the design simple, I had to use a harder metal.  The final design was created out of stainless steel, one of the hardest metals to work with.  It’s stiff and hard to bend, but the benefit is that it’s hard to bend.  Once you form it the way you want, it is likely to stay that way.  It has the same look as silver, but with a more brushed finish.  Many jewelry designers use silver coated or filled wire to keep costs down.  For me, I’d rather make a little less on the piece, keep it affordable, and the owner have a piece that will last, not tarnish or show a different color if nicked.

Most people are familiar with traditional birthstones and don’t realize there are alternatives.  Many of the other options like Hebrew, Italian, Arabic birthstones are the same as the traditional, but they offer some other possibilities.  One of the alternative birthstones for Aug (the daughter’s birthday) is sardonyx, an alternative for May is agate and one that is alternative for both months is cornelian.  All of these stones are more affordable than the traditional sapphire and emerald.  With that in mind, I used all three stones, one for each of them and one to bind them together. I also created 2 loops in the design to string the sterling silver chain though. With the weight of the stones and the shape of the piece, the two loops allow it stay balanced when worn.

Her mom sent me a picture of her wearing it and said she fell in love with it.  It looks so cute on her.

llama necklace

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