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Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Story of a Memory Necklace... created by Gretchen

~Here's the Story~

A Mother,
with 2 beloved children...  
A boy, and a girl. 
 Both born in November. 
 The Mother an August birthday.
A tragic accident...

“Be joyful always,
pray continually,
give thanks in 
For this is God’s will
for you in Christ Jesus”

1 Thess 5:16-17

~This Bible verse is one of my favorites and seemed appropriate for this blog post today. ~

It's not easy to be thankful always...but we are called to do so.  I would think as the daughter of this heartbreaking story, the loss of one's Mom in a tragic car accident would be a difficult thing to be thankful for, but we are called to be "thankful in everything".  Wow! He is in control and knows the future of each one of our lives.

This post is about something I'm asked to do more and more in my jewelry design business.  It is a privilege for sure.  However, it's always a huge undertaking.  It's always tough when as a designer you are given treasured pieces of a loved one that has passed on.  To have the vision and to try to create something that the recipient will love and also captures the essence of their deceased loved one is always scary for me. 

You truly don't get paid as much as one would, if you just spent the same time designing jewelry you could create to sell vs. custom creating.  However, to me it isn't always about the almighty money making $ that I do this for, but rather the love I have of designing jewelry, and the reward I obtain while ministering to my customers that brings me rewards through joy.  This is something I find myself doing more and more.  

I believe I have been called by God to use my jewelry design business to minister to my customers on a regular basis.  Whether it be through my designs such as my "Faith/religious jewelry, custom memory jewelry, or designs I create that speak to my customers and minister to their spirit".  This is and has been an unexpected and added gift to me as a jewelry designer.   My hearts desire and goal is to be used by Him in all I do, all I say, all I create, and for Him to ultimately be glorified through it all.

Back to my story...

I'm struggling with blogger, so will post at the bottom of the photos the rest of this story.  Sorry about this.

Last Fall, I was brought a stash of elements that had been owned by a customers deceased mother-in-law.  These precious bits and baubles were now what my customers sister-in-law had left to remember
her beloved Mother by.  You see, this Mom was tragically killed in a car accident, when her daughter, Lori was young.  I was asked by my customer, to create a necklace from these items to be given as a Christmas gift 2010 to her sister-in-law.  It took me several months to look at, think about and than create these pieces with the items I received.  Of course, I also added into the mix my own bits and pieces as I deemed appropriate.
The Mother had a charm bracelet with her daughters name engraved on a Sterling Silver girl silouette, bits of chain, a Sterling Silver cross charm, a Swedish style Sterling Silver filigree pin, etc., as well as a few faux white pearls.  I added the wire and vintage AB Swarovski crystals for some sparkle.
The Mom also had these two tiny gold silouette boy/girl charms, the two November birthstone shoe charms that represented her kids birthdays and the green heart peridot charm representing her month of birth.  I purposely created these pieces in the same area on the necklace to represent the family structure of this Mom.
I added the Mother of Pearl floral button and vintage beads from my stash.

This shot shows the Mothers watch, which was worn in the accident and you can tell it has a damaged crystal, and basically stopped working most like at the time of impact. :(  Time stands still, and two young children had their lives irrevocably changed.  This watch element was requested to be included into the necklace and what a great idea Lori, the daughter had with the inclusion of this time piece.
Note the scratches and damage to the watch crystal.  This necklace surely tells a story of love, as well as a tragic loss of life.
The goal was to create with as many elements as possible of the Mom's and I actually was able to make five different necklaces that could be layered with one another and/or worn separate.  The addition of this necklace being an adjustable style necklace added to its length being short or longer.
Although this close-up of the inside necklace on the photo below is simpler, it is still unique with the use of all of the Mom's jewelry to create it.
This shows two of the necklaces layered together.  I apologize for the poor quality of photos, as these were all taken in the middle of December 2010, on a cloudy day, inside my Minnesota home just before mailing them off to be given as a gift last Christmas.

I just came across these photos and had always meant to do a blog post with them, but didn't realize my photo quality were so poor until now.  Still wanted to share this inspirational memory piece with my readership.

Enjoy your Mom's while you have them.  Life is uncertain, and we should all live our lives like it could be the last, and love our family and those around us as if we may never again see them.  Live with no regrets...


  1. So very pretty - you did a beautiful job on both of them.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  2. Thanks Glenda. It was an honor to be able to create these pieces.
    I hope you're having a great week-end down your way...

  3. Wonderful Gretchen! You created a beautiful piece of memory jewelry for this girl....something priceless.

  4. Dear Gretchen
    That necklace you created is absolutely stunning. Precious keepsake for her and its looks so vintage and just beautiful. You are a talent beyond words, truly a gift indeed. have a wonderful week my friend.

    God Bless

  5. Gretchen, what a heartwarming post. How lovely of Andrea to arrange this, and how fortunate for Lori to have such wonderful memories to wear and have so close to her heart. You did a fabulous job bringing the pieces together into beautiful keepsakes.

  6. What a beautiful treasure and gift. Fabulous work, thank you for sharing the story behind this special piece. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. ~ Rebecca

  7. oh gretchen what a beautiful memory you have created. your faith and the love you have in your heart really shows in your designs ;).

  8. Thank you ladies for your comments, kind words and gift to me of your encouragement. It took a while to come together, but in the end it was fun to see how things evolved. Lori is fortunate to have a sister-in-law as thoughtful as Andrea. :)

  9. Gretchen! How wonderful it was for me to see this post on my mother-in-law's jewelry! Just so everyone knows, it is so beautiful in person. I was thrilled to see the finished pieces (FIVE of them!), and not surprisingly Lori loved them.

    On a side note, the watch Joyce was wearing when she passed was thoughtfully placed on the necklace so it hangs over the heart when wearing it!

    THANKS again! You do a beautiful, beautiful job, Gretchen! God has blessed you with talents to help heal other's hearts. There's nothing more wonderful than that! God Bless YOU!


  10. How very special, you did a great job. Love it and I'm sure the daughter loved it as well.
    Life is truly precious.

    Margo aka Robolady



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