The 4th Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language provides the following definition of "customize": "To make or alter to individual or personal specifications."
Recently, a friend, Chris, whose son is about to get married, approached me and asked if I could create some jewelry that would match her "mother-of-the-groom" ensemble. This task involved "customizing" a set of jewelry based on a necklace that I had previously created.
Chris' dress was made from a beautiful silk brocade fabric. The basic color was turquoise, worked with a light metallic gold design. She had been having difficulty finding something that matched because most of the the jewelry she saw in the stores featuring turquoise or aqua colored stones, also used silver, rather than gold, settings.
I was excited to take on the project and had Chris come to my home, bringing the dress, shoes, hand bag and shawl she planned to wear for the wedding. We spent some time looking at various necklaces in my inventory and she tried on a few with the dress and shawl. When she tried on the the Silver Dew Drops Necklace,
it was clear that this was the perfect style for the dress, which had a rounded, somewhat deep scoop neckline. However, the necklace needed to be a bit longer and the drops perhaps just a bit larger to fill in the neckline area on her dress in the manner she wished. Obviously, the colors also needed to be changed. Chris wanted earrings and a bracelet to match the necklace. I took Chris' wrist measurement and measured to determine the appropriate necklace length.
Then, I went shopping. With a sample of the fabric, I visited a few area shops to find the perfect combination of threads and beads to match the dress and create the style Chris was looking for. I found a variety of glass beads in shades of turquoise, from the tiniest seed beads, to crystals, to bugle beads, and more, to use for the drops. Here and there I also randomly sprinkled a few tiny gold seed beads. The thread I chose was a thin machine embroidery thread in light gold (regular gold was just to yellow compared to the shade in the dress).
It was a joy to create the pieces -- first the necklace, and then totally new designs for the earrings and bracelet so that they would compliment the necklace. Chris wanted earrings that would "dangle", but not too long and for the bracelet, she was looking for something that would match the style of the other pieces, but nothing too heavy. Here are photos of the completed necklace, bracelet and earrings:
If you would like to see more photos, go to my Flickr Photostream and look at the photos labeled "Custom Gold and Turquoise Set".