Dutch friends, new bling


Aquamarine and sapphire pendant, about 1 1/4 x 7/8 inches

My mom loves the Netherlands.  She loves the wide-open green flatness, the canals, the skinny city houses,  the Noordzee, and the spring flowers.  But most of all, she loves the Dutch.  There was never a Friday when she left the office without her Dutch coworkers making sure she had plans, never a moment when she didn’t feel welcomed and included.  While she’s enjoyed the people most everywhere she’s worked around the world, the Dutch became family.

After years spent living and working in The Hague,  my mom has come home for a job in San Diego.  It wasn’t an easy decision to make.  While there were many compelling reasons to move back to the States, it was so very hard for her to leave her friends; her Dutch family.

As my mom readied herself for the move to San Diego, her beautiful friend Susanne emailed–on behalf of all the Dutch friends– to ask me for ideas for a parting gift.  I suggested they take her for a tattoo, but the Dutch are way classier than me: they opted for jewelry, and ordered my Aquamarine Waterfall Pendant.

aquamarine and moonstone Waterfall Pendant

And that would have worked out just fine, if my mother wasn’t so damn full of damn opinions.  Luckily, her Dutch friends know that she’s a veritable opinion piñata.

Mom asked that I use a stone she already had  instead of the aquamarine cabochon (above) my design called for.  Her stone was a big, gorgeous, faceted aquamarine she had purchased from a British friend in The Hague  shortly before he died (we’re going to call that the new aquamarine from here on).

The challenges? The new aquamarine wasn’t interchangeable with the stone in my design, and a new design was needed to account for the stone’s unique attributes.  I did, however, need to keep with the two-stone look of the pendant I had been asked to make.

Where the original aquamarine cab in the design was all about watery relaxation, the faceted aquamarine was all sparkle and glamour, and just didn’t work well with the laid-back moonstone cabochon of the original pairing.  I opted to pair the new aquamarine with a gorgeous cornflower blue, flower-cut sapphire.

Another challenge was the cut of the new aquamarine: the stone was incredibly deep--half as deep as it was wide– and I needed my design to creatively account for that depth; to allow the face of the sapphire to be on the same plane as the face of the aqua, without looking awkward.

My  solution: A medieval-looking b0x setting,  stones set with prongs to keep them open and airy.

I hope all of my mother’s Dutch friends love what I came up with, I’m really pleased with my design, and my mom loved it.  After gasping, she declared, “I’m going to get mugged wearing this!”

And that is high praise from the Bling Jedi Master.

*Thanks Mom, for the image!


Personal Entries

Naked Dutch men

“Babe, I walked for an hour in one direction, and an hour and a half in the other, and no sea glass for you.”  My Mom has just scoured the beaches near her home in The Netherlands for me, and I do appreciate this.  I asked if she would do this because I thought setting some seaglass from The Netherlands would be incredibly cool.

“All that Dutch beer in green bottles, ” she continues, “and the Dutch can’t break a bottle and throw it in the ocean?”

“Well, maybe they’re very environmentally conscious, the Dutch.”

“Let me tell you about THAT,” says my mother. “When I walked an hour and a half to the left I came to a nude beach that was all men!  Nude men everywhere!  As I came up on it I was thinking ‘well, there are a lot of nude-colored bathing suits up ahead,’ and then when I got there, there weren’t any suits at all!”

My mother is very animated, and clearly tickled by her own badassary of walking calmly through swarms of naked Dutch men.

“They were very friendly!”

“I’m sure they were.” I say. “But were they men who should be nude, or more ‘oh honey, I wish you weren’t so nude right now’ ? “

“Oh no,” my mother says emphatically, “Absolutely.  These guys should be nude.”

“Well, that is great! ” I say.  Worse things can happen in your day than stumbling upon a beach of attractive naked Dutch men.

“But the odd thing, the oddest thing–“

“Odder than my mother hanging out with a bunch of naked Dutch guys?”

“Yes, but the odd thing,” she doesn’t break stride because, clearly, we’ve arrived at the main titillation, “back from the water–in the dunes–I kept seeing naked Dutch men popping up and looking around–“

“Like naked Dutch jack-in-the-boxes?”

Exactly. Nothing but dunes, and then a naked man would stand up, look around, and disappear.  I don’t think they were sunbathing back there.”

“Huh,” I say.  “You don’t know, maybe they just wanted to get out of the wind. “

“I don’t know,” she says, dragging out the three words to imply that she does not think the wind was the reason for Dutch dune jack-in-the-box.

” But,” she continues, “Long story short. One: no seaglass for you, babe. And two: lots of naked Dutch men.”

“Well, thanks for that.”

“You’re welcome, babe.”


When good ideas go bad

Without meaning to, I made a ring which was a monument to Darth Vader’s TIE fighter.  Or Princess Leia’s head. I’ll let it be your call.

It seemed like a really good idea; in theory it was a great idea!  But I wasn’t making a theoretical ring for someone’s theoretical finger, and very few people want to go around with a ring that reminds them of  Star Wars.  Or doesn’t remind them enough of Star Wars.  Or offends them with its slight resemblance to Star Wars.

I loved the ring at first.  I was going for throwback Mod.  Something  a late 60’s hipster chick would wear while yachting in the Mediterranean and drinking grown-up drinks the names of which I do not even know.  An aqua  Paraiba Chalcedony in 14k gold, the band sweeping up on either side of the stone to cradle its  fabulous Modness.

But once it occurred to me that I had achieved more Darth Vader or Princess Leia and less Jackie O, I just couldn’t shake the image.  I sent the photos to my Mom, who works in the Netherlands with a number of programmers at a Dutch bank.  They are proud Trek/Star Wars/ World of Warcraft nerds. 

The Dutch nerds were not amused.  Not only did they think the ring looked nothing like Darth Vader’s TIE fighter, but they seemed offended that I had even considered the likeness.  Darth Vader’s fighter has TWIN ION ENGINES people, and this ring OBVIOUSLY does not.  The ring doesn’t use ions to propel itself at all.  It CAN’T EVEN FLY.   And Leia’s hair?  Are you NUTS?  This ring does not lead the resistance, and would NOT look fetching in a leather bikini on Jabba the Hutt’s lap.  Please.

So close to fabulousness, and ….. nothing.

Leader of the Rebellion
Leader of the Rebellion
Flies, unlike a ring.  Not to be worn on finger.
Flies, unlike a ring. Not to be worn on finger.
Neither the leader of a rebellion, nor a twin ion engine fighter
Neither the leader of a rebellion, nor a twin ion engine fighter