Commissioned pendant - back view

Bespoke, handmade jewellery for special occasions.

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We love our mineral and rock inspired jewels here at Mandana Oskoui Contemporary Jewellery, but what we enjoy creating just as much, are bespoke pieces that are hand-crafted for special occasions, especially for you.

I was recently contacted by a bride-to-be looking for a unique gift for her sister; who was to be the matron of honour at her upcoming wedding.

My brief was left pretty open (which is great as it allows for a wider scope for creativity design wise) with the basic guidelines being:

  1. The piece designed was to be a pendant on a chain, made of silver.
  2. Her sister’s favourite colour is purple so a gem than colour must be incorporated.
  3. Her sister loves hearts so it needs to be featured in the design somewhere.
  4. Two of the sister’s favourite pieces of jewellery are her heart shape diamond engagement ring, and an oval locket that carries within it an old family photo of her grandparents.

With the guidelines, some background info and the budget established, I made a trip to some of the fabulous gemstone suppliers I work with to look for the perfect gem.

After searching through tray full upon tray full of purple coloured gems, I decided that amethyts would be the best choice for this piece. I found amethyst gemstones of many different colours, clarity, carat weight and cut (and believe us when we say there were many!). Eventually I chose the perfect specimen which was approved…

Oval amethyst
The final gem chosen for the bespoke piece: a 5.14ct faceted oval amethyst that had a checker board type faceting; the perfect cut allowing the stone to sparkle and show off its hue just magnificently.

With the stone picked and approved, the next step was finding a perfect design to show off the colour, cut and sparkle of the gem its fullest. After hours of brainstorming and sketching, the following design was chosen:

Amethyst pendant sketch
We decided that the amethyst should be the focal point of the design. As it was important that a heart be featured, we came up with the idea that the heart would be visible only from the back of the necklace and would also hold on it a special engraved message.

Now came the next fun part… the making! Here are some little snippets from the making process to show you how the pendant was handmade.

Firstly, we needed to make the oval frame of the gemstone. This would act as both the seat and the setting of the stone…

Soldering silver pendant sections
Top left: soldering a silver ring. Top right: the round ring forged into an oval shape to match the gemstone. Bottom left: flattening the oval ring to create the frame. Bottom right: checking the gemstone against the silver frame for fit.

Once the oval seat of the stone was made and I was happy with the fit, next came making the heart that would be the feature of the back of the pendant.

Left: the silver heart section made. Right: the pendant once the top and bottom halves were soldered together. The pendant looks dirty in the right picture as when silver is soldered, it oxidises (see next images for cleaning process).

Once the two halves of the pendant were soldered together successfully, it was time to check the seat of the gemstone once more and mark the areas that the individual handmade claws would be soldered on to.

Top left: marking the first two of the six claws holding the gemstone in place. Top right: 5 claws soldered and only one more to go. Bottom Left: final claw being soldered onto the setting. Bottom right: the completely soldered pendant is in a ‘pickle’ bath; a mild acid solution that removes oxidisation which appears on the silver during the soldering process.

Once the pendant was ‘pickled’, cleaned and polished here is what it looked like:

Left: the front of the pendant and the stone. You can now clearly see the six individually soldered claws of the setting. Right: back of the gemstone featuring the heart design before Hallmarking and hand engraving of the personal message.

Now that the silver pendant was complete, all that was left to do was set the stone and engrave the message (that reads ‘Love is here to stay 12.7.14’) and submit the piece for Hallmarking.

The final result:

Commissioned amethyst pendant
The commissioned piece, finished and ready to wear…
Top left: front view of the pendant. Top right: front view at an angle. Bottom left: back of the pendant showing the heart feature, the engraving and the Hallmark of the London Assay office. Bottom right: side view showing where the chain slips through the pendant.

It was a real joy to design and make such a significant piece of jewellery that holds such sentiment of love, and one that will be treasured for many, many more years to come.

Thea, who was the bride-to-be, very kindly wrote a testimonial for us that we would like to share:

‘I commissioned a pendant from Mandana to thank my sister for being matron of honour at my wedding. Mandana listened to my requirements, which were a special piece of jewellery with purple stone and heart shape incorporated into the design, and responded with imagination and flair to create a beautiful gift. Mandana kept in touch with me at each stage, sending me photos of sketches and work in progress that were art in themselves, which made me feel excited about the jewellery and special to be involved in her creative process. It was a true pleasure commissioning work from her. Thank you so much Mandana. I will not hesitate in using you again in the future. In fact, I look forward to opportunities to do so!’

And thank you Thea for commissioning me to make such a truly special piece that holds so much meaning…


If you have a special occasion coming up, whether it is a wedding, birthday, anniversary, christening, or you simply want to treat yourself, don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out what we can design and hand-make for you too.

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