In 2007, I proved that Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII, was a damn genius. Geniuses are very inspiring, so I created an 18K gold and onyx necklace in Anne’s honor.
The necklace features a swan because Anne was born in Schwanenburg (Swan Castle). I was so taken with my Cleves swan that I created a ring to match. It started out as a wax model …
… and turned into an 18K yellow gold ring set with 140 diamonds. I later revised the design to use fewer stones, but this is a photo of the original sample.
Whenever I can, I do lower-priced versions of my designs. In this case, I did a silver Cleves ring with just two diamond eyes.
When Black Swan came out, I simply had to go back to 18K gold to do a black-diamond version of the ring.
While I was working on the black-swan Cleves ring, I realized I still had some onyx ovals like the one I used in the original Cleves necklace. I figured it was time to do some earrings. My ideas generally start with rings and necklaces and sometimes extend to earrings. I find rings and necklaces more inspiring, because I can do much more with a design when I don’t have to worry about how much it weighs. Of course, some designers don’t care about the comfort of their clients and do very heavy earrings, but I want everyone to be comfortable. Oddly, I hadn’t really considered my reason for preferring rings and necklaces until last week when, while I was visiting my peeps at Broken English Jewelry, the beauteous and charming CSI: Miami actress Emily Procter came into the store. I was listening to a conversation she was having with gorgeous store employee Kelly. When I heard Kelly mention another designer’s emphasis on rings and necklaces, I interrupted with my explanation. Then I thought, “Oh, that’s why I do it that way.” I got to meet an actress and have an epiphany in the same moment! Very efficient, no?
Anyway, while I was considering a Cleves earring design, I decided that doing the gold swan over the onyx, the way I did on the necklace, was going to be too hard on the earlobes, especially because I was going to have to use more metal to attach the earrings to the ears. I decided to focus on that attachment part. I took the wings from the Cleves rings, made them a little bigger and used them as the swan element of the earrings. I livened up the wings with .41 carats of diamonds. Here is the result.
These 2 1/4″ earrings are definitely black-tie-worthy. That’s how I plan to wear them. Though you could also wear them to the supermarket. Who’s gonna stop you? Wear what you want!