Purely handmade pieces are rare in our modern world. Every detail in my jewelry designs possesses a love and tradition of artisanal hand-craftsmanship. This is especially apparent in one of the signature design elements in my collections, pin-set gemstones; where individual gem beads or pearls are set on a single pin, often grouped in clusters reminiscent of grapes and berries, to create patterns, forms and textures within a design.
Pin-set setting is one of my favorite techniques because unlike other stone-setting methods that lock a gem in a fixed position and limit how it can be viewed and enjoyed, pin-setting allows each gem to move independently to capture the light and shimmer from every angle. Pin-setting also allows for a broad range of design possibilities and ease of wear. From elegant chains crafted from links containing a single pin-set gem to earrings with cascades of shimmering pearls and bold statement necklaces featuring thousands of individual sparkling stones, pin-setting puts the focus on the gemstones rather than the precious metal.
The pin-setting process begins with sorting and selecting the gemstone beads. Due to the nature of how gemstones form deep within the earth and the gem cutting and faceting process, each gem is unique in color, shape, and size. Each stone within a pin-set cluster is carefully chosen and placed to match the surrounding stones to create the unique patterns and textures within a design.
Once the gemstones beads or pearls are chosen, a precious metal wire pin with a tiny ball on the end is inserted through the hole and a tiny loop is made with hand tools from the “tail.” This loop is then secured to the main structure of the jewelry piece, often a chain link or other precious metal element. Next, the remaining “tail” is then meticulously wrapped around the pin towards the base of the gem and any excess is carefully trimmed and put aside for recycling and refining. These steps are repeated hundreds to thousands of times to build up the forms and clusters within a completed design. This repetition makes the creative process very meditative and relaxing and I love how it makes each jewelry piece unique!
PS sometimes the pins themselves create beautiful textures and patterns on their own.