Custom Made

The Making Of:
A ‘Transformable’ Art Deco Tourmaline & Pearl Necklace

A classic pearl necklace for brunch, an elegant brooch for afternoon tea, and a remarkable Art Deco pendant for dinner – all thanks to a single piece of jewellery.

Enter: this ‘transformable’ 18ct White Gold, Tourmaline, Sapphire, Diamond & South Sea Pearl Necklace, inspired by true 1920s glamour and Art Deco style.

While he’d never pick a favourite 'child', this piece – which took approximately 140 hours to handcraft – certainly makes the top 5 for award-winning jeweller, Matthew Ely.

“I wanted to create something extravagant, that really showed the versatility of a single jewel. A client then has the opportunity to wear it with multiple outfits, for different occasions and unique aesthetics.”

And as per Marie Kondo, it definitely “sparks joy”.

So, how is a ‘Transformable’ actually created?

Step 1: The Concept & Sketch

“This piece was really inspired by the gemstone itself; a 24.34ct bi-colour tourmaline, which was re-cut from an even bigger stone to improve its sparkle,” says Matthew.

“Tourmaline is quite lovely in that it may contain two or more distinctive colours. This particular gemstone fades from pink to straw and back to pink.

“I wanted to stay true to 1920s style, while highlighting this remarkable colour fade and replicating that in the halo of sapphires surrounding the tourmaline. It gives the piece a really unique appeal.”

STEP 2: Handcrafting the Halo

“Once the concept was finalised, the next step was to hand-scribe and craft an 18ct white gold halo setting for the tourmaline. This formed the whole framework for the piece, so it was essential to triple check proportions and ensure the various parts fit perfectly together.”

The solution? Red plasticine, of course.

“It keeps everything from flying across the bench! You definitely don’t want to be hunting for tiny diamonds and sapphires.”

Step 3: Sourcing the Pearls

“The Autore pearls were specially sourced for this necklace. Look closely and you’ll see that the strand consists of graduating sizes, from smaller to larger pearls,” says Matthew.

“At this stage, we’ve handcrafted various elements of the brooch, including the gallery and seats for the 24.34ct tourmaline and surrounding sapphires.

It’s important to always refer back to that original artwork to ensure we’re on track.”

Step 4: Colour Fade Sapphires

It’s time to add some sapphires.

“My aim here was to replicate the unique colours of our tourmaline in its surrounding halo, with a series of colour fade sapphires,” says Matthew.

“It’s those small details that make all the difference, with a really unique visual appeal.”

Step 5: Finishing Touches & Pins

“Before setting the gemstones, I had to finalise the hidden mechanical workings and brooch fittings. The piece needed to look
perfect, whether worn as a necklace or as a brooch. I’ve added a double pin to cull the weight of that tourmaline for the latter.”

Step 6: Setting the Gemstones

The tourmaline and sapphires are officially set, surrounded by 126 diamonds for good measure. There are four princess cuts, eight baguette cuts and 115 round brilliant cuts, with a total weight of 4.91ct. Just a little extra sparkle!

So, how can you wear it?
Let us count the ways.

1. A single pearl necklace

2. A double strand pearl necklace

3. A brooch

4. A brooch on a single strand of pearls

5. A brooch on a double strand of pearls – the Piece de Resistance!

A classic pearl necklace for brunch, an elegant brooch for afternoon tea, and a remarkable Art Deco pendant for dinner – all thanks to a single piece of jewellery.