Wednesday, 3 pm.
A uniquely colored stone steals the show at the workbench the moment it comes in sight. “This is called Watermelon Tourmaline,” points out Silvio.
“It was brought in by a customer from Canada,” he continues. “We talked about the stone when she was here, last year. She returned with it recently and asked if I could make it into a pendant. She wanted a simple, traditional 4-prong setting, but the stone is an odd size. It will not fit in conventional commercial settings.”
For this reason, Silvio is making a setting specifically for this stone. It is Sterling Silver. “This type of setting, with the prongs, is called a basket setting,” he explains.
As usual, this is not the only project at the workbench. Silvio recently handled a special request from a Johnson customer. “I had a sense I needed to get this done as soon as possible, so I did not take time for pictures,” he observes, referring to a recent request to transform a wedding band into a pendant. “The customer lost her husband less than a month ago. She asked me to restore his wedding band by adding a diamond to it, from a pendant he had given her. So I did that as promptly as I could, and sized the band to fit her finger. She was very happy. This meant a lot to her.”
His ability to create from scratch, to envision and shape metals and stones into wearable, artistic expression, is an attribute that is unique to the master jeweler. Along with this, his compassion is an instrument of design as much as his mastery of the art. It is, perhaps, easy to understand what a customer has in mind, but sensitivity is required in order for the final product to tell its rightful story.
When Silvio remarks that a customer was pleased, what he is saying, also, is that he is honored. Being called upon to give new expression to an object of great personal meaning is a mark of trust. There is a sense of humility at play as well. This, too, helps shape the outcome.