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Our jeweller Greg John’s masterpiece – Australian gemstone bracelet

As we celebrate the month of the Australian opal, we thought we would go back through our archive and use this opportunity to show off our master jeweller Greg’s spectacular one-of-a-kind handmade creation.

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A couple of years ago one of our long-term clients contacted Greg to begin the process of designing and creating an heirloom piece of jewellery.
Our client had collected many different gemstones over the years and wished for Greg to create a unique item of jewellery that would feature a selection of them. The collection of gemstones consisted of a variety of Lightning Ridge black opal, green, yellow and Inverell blue sapphires, along with Argyle pink and yellow diamonds.
After some consideration to the origins of the gemstones (all are found in dry riverbeds), Greg came up with the idea to use all of the gemstones provided and create an articulated bracelet made up of two outer yellow gold flowing bands and a central rose gold freeform band. The outside yellow gold edges of the bracelet represent the meandering rivers set around the ‘Red Centre’.

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After the bracelet design was finalised, Greg rolled down a bar of white gold to create individual rub-settings for each gemstone. A lot of time and care went into handmaking all the settings, as the gemstones provided were all different shapes and sizes and the settings need to fit perfectly around each of the stones.

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A bar of rose gold was used to create the ‘Red Centre’. Greg began by rolling out the metal using the rolling mills and then bent, forged and melted the gold to create the unique/desired flowing shape.
Greg always has his original sketch close by to reference his initial idea and concept, it is frequently used as guidance as his ideas often develop and evolve further during the handmaking of the piece.

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After rounding up the central band, Greg began further shaping the rose gold section with a selection of bench and needle files. A variety of burrs were used to mimic and represent the textured surface of the unique red-coloured rock walls often found alongside our waterholes and rivers.

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Once all the setting were fitted to the ‘Red Centre’ the final few checks and minor shaping alterations were done before the yellow gold bands were soldered into place.

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The bracelet was then polished to ensure all surfaces were perfectly finished before Greg began dissecting it with a saw blade. Each cut allowed for a hinge to be fitted into the gap – allowing for the articulated movement. The hinges were created using three pieces of handmade chenier (metal tube) and welded together with a gold rivet before the gemstones were set into place.

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The individual ‘articulated’ sections of the bracelet are all different shapes and sizes, as are all the gemstones. After all, no two rivers, territories or states in this big, wide wonderful country of ours are identical. To further celebrate the Australian theme within this bracelet, Greg came up with the idea to design a clasp that looked like a gold nugget. This allowed for the clasp to be hidden within the bracelet design, adding another beautiful element that is also found in dry riverbeds.

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This stunning new family heirloom will take pride of place on the wrist of its wearer for years to come. Many hours of design, handmaking, skill and hard work went into making this incredible piece, and Greg has very fittingly named it – ‘STRAYA’.

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Greg photographed the finished piece on a mirror to highlight all the different dimensions, details and beautiful curves of the bracelet.

If you have been inspired by this bracelet and would love to have your very own bespoke item of jewellery made, please respond by email or contact us on (03) 9650 3830 or text 0480 030 674. We would be more than happy to help and guide you

 

 

 

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