Tag Archives: special occasion

Time for Custom Jewelry?

Officially it’s fall. Are you an Autumn person? Golden, green, and red changing leaves crunching underfoot, yellow mums in yards and sidewalk planters, fresh crisp air and all the apples you want.

Skeletons and mock cobwebs in doorways, pumpkins on porches followed by the cornucopia of Thanksgiving. I may be getting ahead of myself talking about Thanksgiving, as I saw people in shorts only yesterday, but it’s coming! If you are a planner, you might already be engaged in holiday information-gathering. Listening to loved ones, awaiting clues as to what they might like, what might make a nice present. You might even be engaged in some early holiday gift-buying.

Progress photo for a custom pendant set with ironstone by Nancy Lee

Many of my lovely clients have handmade in mind during the gift-giving season ahead. Or, they may have a special occasion and want a custom pair of earrings or pendant for themselves. The custom jewelry process can seem full of mystery. I like to make it easy and fun – it’s jewelry! The process starts with a conversation, and flows smoothly from there. My clients are updated with progress photos taken from my workbench, like the photo above. In the end, you have a one-of-a-kind piece that you can be proud to wear or give.

Custom Ironstone Pendant (c) Nancy Lee

My son never leaves the house without that pendant. It means more to him than any gift we’ve given him . – Curt Boehm, Danville, Illinois

My clients often tell me that the piece I made for them is a favorite, they always receive compliments when they wear it, and (best of all) it’s a family heirloom!
Start a conversation of your own. Click the “contact” tab at the left and I’ll get back in touch with you right away.

Twenty-five years – a family journey

The best part of what I do is to help people bring their dreams to life in metal. Recently I had an opportunity to create jewelry for a special occasion within my own family – a 25th anniversary memento. But I was coming up dry…
The story begins with my younger sisters’ college graduation. She moved from home base in Central Illinois to a suburb of Chicago. A few months after she got settled, our mom decided a visit was in order, and invited my older sister and me to accompany her.  That was November, 1986.
Our visits since then have encompassed trips to Urgent Care, the ER, post surgical care, stories of marriages and children, dinner, deaths, lunches, brunches, cookies and Cosmos, and before you could say John Robinson, twenty-five years had passed.  To my metalsmith’s mind, a journey this terrific deserved a commemorative piece of jewelry!

With weeks turning into days, I hadn’t come up with an idea I was excited about. But that night, just as I was preparing for bedtime, an image of interlocking rings appeared to me. This was it! I quickly sketched it out and fell asleep.

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The night before I was to leave, I started on the intertwining circle pendant. Four pendants to be exact: one for my mother, my two sisters, and me. At the bench, our story unfolded in my hands.  Sixteen circles lay before me, each soldered into an individual, perfect round shape. But something was missing. Life! I grabbed my two-pound forging hammer and tapped dings and dents into each of the rings – bumps along life’s path.
Cut open again, the circles were then able to be linked into groups of four rings and soldered. One ring for each of us, four rings per pendant. No matter what happened we would always be welded together. The following morning, I added a triangular shaped cubic zirconium gemstone inspired by our mom, mother of three daughters, the spark that created us and keeps us together. No time to make a chain, so I threaded each pendant onto a length of white satin ribbon. Packed in tiny handmade paper boxes and little gift bags, I started my journey to Illinois.

That evening, we broke from tradition and had an impromptu dinner at my sister’s kitchen table. Gifts were busted out, and I am pleased to say that the pendants were a hit, sparking stories and emotions that will live with each of us for a very long time. Hopefully, forever!