Silver Memorial Bracelets Honoring A Fallen Hero
As the kids just finished school, the first long weekend of our summer comes to an end, and my inbox is flooded with sales and memorial discounts, I took a moment to pull up a photograph of three bracelets. These bracelets are only three of the unfortunate many we have made to honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Two years ago a Franciscan Brother, David W. Schlatter, from Walter Reed National Military Center called us to make these memorial bracelets. He wanted to give them to some of the staff that were helping US Army Specialist Derek McConnell recover from injuries he received in Afghanistan in 2011. When Specialist Derek McConnell was on patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan he tried to rescue another soldier and in the process stepped on two IEDs, sustaining massive injuries. Over the next several years, he underwent over 30 surgeries to try to rebuild his life but died from complications on March 18, 2013. A tragic loss of a true hero.
Br. Schlatter spoke with Andreas when he called in and helped him design and place the order. He told Andreas the story about US Army Specialist Derek McConnell, his exceptionally difficult struggle to recover, and how devastating his loss was to not only his family, but the many dedicated Walter Reed staff working closely with him. It is a heartbreaking dose of reality, but always an honor to make these memorial bracelets. We received a thank you letter from Br. Schlatter and posted it here as well.
So today, if you haven't done it already, take a moment to honor someone who has given their life so we can have ours. As we spend time with our families, we'll be keeping US Army Specialist Derek McConnell and his family in our thoughts and prayers.
Custom Gold Cuff Links
We get to make lots of jewelry for some pretty amazing people. These particular cufflinks were made as gift for Les Moonves, the president of CBS, to recognize his work with a charity organization called Venice Family Clinic. A California-based non profit organization, The Venice Family Clinic's mission is to provide quality health care to people in need. Each March, the Clinic hosts its fundraising gala to recognize individuals who have made extraordinary efforts to help the Clinic meet the health needs of low-income individuals and families. This year, The Venice Family Clinic honored Mr. Moonves at the event with a token to show their gratitude for his philanthropy. That's where we came in!
Cuff Link Design and Materials
The Clinic contacted us with a rough idea about making cufflinks that included the CBS logo somewhere and a tight deadline of just a few days. Rather than a normal stamped image, we suggested that the entire cufflink be a three-dimensional relief of the logo to make a bold design. Though our cufflinks are typically made of 14K gold, these are iconic CBS eyes were crafted from a beautiful 18K solid gold at their request. We recommended stamping a message on the back as a reminder of the Venice Clinic's gratitude for Mr. Moonves' contributions. Those small messages associate a date and place with the jewelry; reminding the recipient of his contribution to a good cause.
Making 18K Cuff Links
The face of the cuff links is made up of 3 separate parts. Each component of the logo cufflinks were all hand-cut, shaped, welded, and soldered together. Combining polished and satin finishes work to create a nice contrast and depth to the cufflinks. These cuff links came out weighty, something you notice right away when you pick them up.
I really appreciate The Venice Family Clinic's faith and trust in my vision - the end results were beyond everyone's expectations, even my own. Getting to work on meaningful projects for amazing people and charities are constant reminders that I have the best job out there!
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Jewelry Design Elements That Inspire
Sometimes inspiration for personalized fine jewelry comes easily - maybe it's a motivational quote you've loved for years or dates marking important milestones. Other times you may stumble upon a design that is just meant to be. Then there are those instances you may find yourself stumped in an endless feedback loop of jewelry designer's block (I must admit I've experienced this a time or two ). Here is a breakdown of a fun charm to break you out of the block and get inspired!
1 – Quality Designs Made of Quality Materials
I think we can all agree that anything worth making is worth making well. At Metal Pressions, we want our pieces to become lasting heirlooms, instantly. That’s why we only work with the finest materials – 14k solid gold, solid sterling silver and genuine diamonds. Each character is hand stamped by me, meaning that you will own a truly one-of-a-kind piece.
2 – Creating an Emotional Connection
The jewelry people wear is a true representation of who they are. With every item we design, we aim to create an emotional connection with the wearer. Our jewelry is more than just an addition to your wardrobe - it becomes part of you. So much so, that many of our customers have told us they NEVER take off their charms! The key is to pick a theme that means something to you - what keeps you grounded? What inspires you? What/who motivates you to be better everyday? The answers to these questions will immediately connect you emotionally to the piece you're designing. The featured charm is about serendipity, but maybe it's happiness or joy that speaks to you. Decide what matters most to you and go from there!
3 – The Sparkle & Depth Factor
Beautiful charms that stand the test of time have depth that will continually grab and keep our attention. The 14K gold rim of the serendipity charm adds depth, in addition to the contrast of the silver and 14k gold metals. And who doesn’t love a little shimmer and shine? Adding diamonds give life to what would otherwise be blank, negative space - grabbing and captivating attention. Empty space isn't necessarily a bad thing in some designs, but in active designs with lots of varying text a blank spot can stand out like something is missing.
4 – Mixing and Matching
Part of personal style is finding what works for you – blending parts into a whole. On some designs there might be an overall theme you want to be the main focus. For this design we highlighted the most important element/theme with a large stylized font and arranged it in in a fun curving pattern. The remaining complimentary words were filled in smaller simpler fonts to bring everything together.
The bottom line when you design your jewelry is to make something you absolutely love and will cherish for years to come. I hope to be making your next masterpiece soon!
Contemporary Solitaire Diamond Ring
John knew his fiance wanted something unique for an engagement ring. She had been showing him pictures of various styles of "twig branch" engagement rings, but hadn't fallen in love with any. She liked the organic shape but didn't want the bark texture. She wanted a contemporary setting, but with a lower profile, smooth transitions, and a 1 karat center diamond. After creating a rough sketch for her approval, we hand carved the ring in wax. With her final approval we cast the ring in 14K rose gold and set the GIA certified stone.
This one of a kind ring has a non-traditional open bezel. The lower profile setting means there are no prongs to snag on; a specific concern they both had for their active lifestyles. There are lots of amazing engagement and wedding rings out there, but this client chosen to mark the start of a new chapter in life with a one of a kind ring.
What started with a nature inspired twig ring concept and then simplified the details to meet our customers visions. The result is a non-traditional engagement ring shape and setting.
The open sides of the bezel let in plenty of light to highlight the brilliance of the stone.
John was thrilled with the process and result. "You completely blew away my expectations. From the process to the final result I couldn't have been happier. I was always confident that Metal Pressions could make me an incredible engagement ring, but the way they interacted and executed truly impressed me" - John B.