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Surprise black pearl memorialized in a one of a kind custom necklace

2 min read 1 Comment

When was the last time you found buried treasure in your food?!

Peter and his wife Kären were eating clams one night and to her surprise, she discovered a lovely little pearl when she bit into dinner.

This is no ordinary pearl - it is a beautiful irregular organic shape, black as the darkest night and packed with the wonderful memory of that evening of togetherness, love and life’s curious wonders.

one of a kind silver and black pearl custom necklace, handmade in Seattle USA by Catherine Grisez at CG Sculpture and Jewelry

I was thrilled when Peter asked me to make a custom necklace to hold this little pearl and all the memories it carries.

I set out to make a throne worthy of the pearl and also capture some of Kären’s other favorite things.

jewelry inspiration - giant clamshell and kettel falls WA used to influence necklace design

I pulled inspiration from the mighty clam, in honor of the pearl’s origin, and texture of rock from Kettle Falls, a favorite place of Kären’s in eastern Washington.

Goal: capture the essence of clam and rock texture without being too literal

Peter thought she might prefer something more organic and textured with an element of asymmetry - design elements I love to incorporate.

how it's made- beginning stages of work in progress, chasing and repousse on sterling silver custom necklace

I formed a sheet of silver using the process of chasing and repousse.

This technique involves immersing the metal in pitch (kind of like tree sap), hammering and shaping it from one side, then removing it, cleaning, heating, cleaning, and putting it back in the pitch on the opposite side to hammer and shape from the reverse.

This process was repeated many many times until the desired shape and texture was achieved.

chasing and repousse work on one of a kind custom sterling silver necklace, handmade in Seattle USA

I then cut out the silver shape, fine tuned the edge, and soldered on a backing for structural support.

Once the silver portion was finished I set the pearl and added the chain to complete the necklace.

one of a kind hammered sterling silver and black pearl custom necklace, handmade in Seattle WA by artist Catherine Grisez

one of a kind sterling silver and black pearl necklace, handmade in Seattle WA by artist Catherine Grisez

It’s always a treat to create one-of-a-kind work that reminds my clients of something special.

This necklace will always symbolize a happy memory.

I truly believe objects serve as visual reminders for what’s most important in our lives.

sterling silver one of a kind hammered necklace with black pearl, handcrafted in Seattle WA by artist Catherine Grisez

backside of custom one of a kind silver and black pearl necklace, handmade in Seattle WA by artist Catherine Grisez, CG

I love knowing that every time Kären wears her custom necklace, she is reminded of very special times with her husband.

black pearl and sterling silver necklace, handcrafted in Seattle, handmade in USA, by artist CG Sculpture and Jewelry

Have a special memory or stone or object you always want to hold dear?

Contact me today to discuss your very own one-of-a-kind custom piece.

Catherine Grisez


1 Response

Shannon Hughes

April 25, 2022

I love the story behind this piece and it’s fascinating to see how it was made. What an heirloom…if we could all be so lucky to find a black pearl and have it transformed so beautifully. Well done.

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