I get the honor and joy to work on and to create some very special jewelry. There are some pieces that seem to transcend “jewelry” and become something bigger. It is truly a blessing to work on these pieces.
It is a small world.
Beth literally lives across the country from me but, by chance, she had seen one of my drum rings. She contacted me and asked me if I could make a special pendant in tribute to her late husband, something to hold some of his ashes. We emailed back and forth bouncing ideas and thoughts about construction and all the special things that we could build into it.
I am so honored to have been able to make this for Beth.
Here is Beth’s FB post:
After a two month creative journey, today I finally received the drum ash urn pendant. There is quite the back story to this beauty. I will tell you that it is even more beautiful in real life than in the photos.
I was inspired by two people in the creation of this incredible work of art. First, my widow sister Rena has a beautiful ash urn pendant of a turtle. Her husband Kent was a Hawaii surfer dude and it was very fitting for him. It got me thinking about what would be appropriate for Tom. Then I remembered a post by Carrie, who was Tom’s hair stylist for years. She is engaged to a drummer (who also happens to study with Tom’s drum teacher Tracy). She posted about the custom drum wedding ring Steve had made. Since I could not find anything that I liked, I contacted the jeweler, and asked if he would be willing to work with me on this piece. To say I am blown away by the jeweler’s creative talent and exquisite workmanship would be an understatement. The process was as rewarding as the finished piece.
The first decision to be made was which drum would be the inspiration piece. I was torn between Tom’s 1966 Ludwig Supraphonic snare and the snare from his DW kit with the black oyster glass wrap on the shells. The architect in me loved the purity of the Ludwig, but the drummer’s wife in me loved the DW snare because Tom played it so much. When I put my hand on the snare I can still feel Tom’s energy and joy of drumming. So in the end I chose the DW. Mark, the jeweler, suggested several different ways to achieve the look of the snare, and ultimately we decided to go big and go for the detail. Throughout the entire process, he sent me photos and we worked together to make this special.
The diamond on the bale is one of Tom’s earrings. The inscription “loving you was the best thing I ever did” was something Tom would say to me often and is one of the last things he said to me.
Special rims were milled in wax then cast in white gold. I hand frabracated the drum shell in rose gold with a rolling mill.
I cut up a rod of white gold and soldered them on the shell to form the lugs.
I assembled the rims and put the base texture on the shell using a florentine graver.
The rims were drilled to accept the tuning tension rods. The white gold wires were laser welded in place.
Two round discs were formed from a sheet of gold. The discs were to become the drum heads. One was soldered on from the inside for a nice crisp look from the outside. Some of the ashes were placed in the drum and the other drum head was laser welded on, sealing the urn.
To attempt to emulate the finish of Tom’s snare, I black rhodium plated the shell. All the surfaces that I did not want plated, had to be carefully painted with a tiny brush.
It was placed in the plating bath then the paint was removed.
I went back over the shell with a graver again to reveal the rose gold in some places.
I hand frabracated a hinged bail using the diamond earring that Beth sent me and some gold from his wedding band.
In memory of Tom.