“I love making necklaces and pendants,” says master jeweler Jeff Lohr. “There are more styles than you can count. And I’ve made a lot of necklaces out of rings. Someone may have their grandma’s or grandpa’s ring and they ask me to make it into a necklace.
“For one lady, her husband had passed away, I was able to take their wedding rings and create a double-heart pendant. I cut the rings in half, bent them slightly, interlocked the hearts, and set diamonds in the hearts. I got so many compliments on that design.
“I love taking unusual items to make a necklace. One of my wife’s favorite pieces was built around a potshard. We were on a beach in Belize and she found a chunk of blue-and-white pottery there on the white sand. I brought it home and combined it with reticulated silver to form a one-of-kind pendant.”
Few non-jewelers know what reticulated silver even is! Once seen, however, it is difficult to forget. Jeff explains, “You melt the silver, heating it slowly, and then quench it. You do that again and again and the last time, the alloys begin to separate — the copper from the silver — and you get this beautiful wave pattern.
“You might throw away 10 pieces of silver when you’re doing that. If you take the silver too far, you just end up with a ball. And if someone sees it before it’s polished, they may go, ‘Eewww, uh, okay.’ But when it’s cleaned and polished? You have a piece that looks like waves with a mirror finish and these tiny, unique bubbles and pinholes.
“It’s a true custom piece because you can never duplicate the piece again.”