Cory Smith Studios

Pièce de résistance



After more than 26 years of making jewelry professionally, this truly is my pièce de résistance*—a year and a half in the making.

This was an ideal scenario; to be commissioned to make a piece that I had complete free rein on and could do whatever I wanted. My client appreciates my work, is very trusting, and was patient throughout the process. She simply wanted me to push the limits and do the best design I could do.

I started by getting client input on selecting the elaborate center stone, a 48-carat blue topaz, hand-carved by master gemstone cutter, John Dyer. The design for the necklace has some art deco inspiration and is influenced by repeating the chevron pattern that was carved into the center stone. The chevrons linked to the center stone get progressively smaller and are like buds of the center flower.

As the design evolved, the process involved carving all of the wax models for the center stone mounting and the 21 connecting chevrons, casting them in 14k gold, and then the laborious process of setting 282 stones. The final process involved engraving surfaces and doing the final finishing and buffing.

Some of the most interesting and challenging aspects of the fabrication were coming up with the design and the reality of making it work. I started over on the main center section three times! It was a tough center stone to work with. And, though it was liberating with no limitations or parameters on a piece of this scope; it was unchartered territory for me. The linkage and logistics of connecting all of the pieces together was also somewhat of a puzzle. And, even though I love bead-setting, to bead-set 260 diamonds is tedious, to say the least!

All-in-all, this was an experience I'll never forget (or repeat)! It is extremely rewarding to have had the opportunity and God-given ability to create it!

The pièce de résistance at a glance:

  • 22 separate sections in 14k yellow gold, hand engraved mountings, linked together with oval-shaped gold wire
  • 153 white diamonds and 107 yellow diamonds
  • 22 blue topaz stones ranging in excess of 100 carats; in sizes from slightly under one carat to the 48 ct. hand carved (dreamscape) center stone and 16 ct. 2nd largest segment
  • Total weight - slightly over 3.75 ounces - 14k yellow gold/22k yellow gold, and 90/10 platinum/IRD and total 100 carats

* pièce de résistance - defined by Merriam Webster dictionary as the best or most important thing or event.

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