2014 MJSA Award Winner

Flowing Colors Boulder Opal Pendant

Designed by Evan deJonghe of Evan Maxwell Jewelry, this pendant features a 17.35ct Boulder Opal set in 18k yellow gold. It is accented by 6 flush set Paraiba Tourmalines (0.16ct twt) and a 3mm round bezel set Paraiba Tourmaline (0.17ct). A “hidden” fancy yellow diamond also accents the pendant. One of the most interesting features to this design is the illusion of the stone “floating” between two pieces of 18k yellow gold. 

Boulder Opal Pendant in 18ky gold featuring a bezel set paraiba tourmaline accented by 5 flush set paraiba tourmalines and a "hidden" fancy yellow diamond

Although a one-of-a-kind piece, this pendant explores the possibilities for future projects resulting from the techniques utilized. The use of setting bars on the backside of the piece creates a very unique look that would never have been accomplished without the use of the laser. This stone setting technique will be used by Evan on large, organic shaped gems allowing for a distinctive design. 

Creating the Pendant

After sketching several ideas, I chose this one because of its overall appearance and technical challenges of setting the opal. Before I even knew my design, I knew I wanted to use rich colored Paraiba Tourmalines as accents. Sourcing the stones proved to be very difficult in the desired sizes.

Having a design locked in place, my accent stones on their way, and a general idea of how the design would be executed, I began work. My first step was carving the wax of the two pieces that would hold the stone in place. Melting the wax onto the stone itself, I was able to get a perfect fit. I needed to keep overall weight in check while also leaving enough depth on the front of the bottom piece to allow for my flush set accent stones. 

My next step was to carve the bars that would be setting the boulder opal in place. For this, I used sterling silver stock to determine the size and amount of 18k I would later need. It was difficult to line the bars parallel while carving perfect fitting sections in the wax. 

After determining placement of my accent stones it was time to cast! Now in 18k yellow, I cleaned up the casting and flush set the Paraibas.

Fitting the 18k yellow support bars into the casting was the most challenging step. I had two support bars, two separate castings, a boulder opal, and my bezel set Paraiba that would be attached later (but definitely not forgotten!). Luckily a welding laser was at my disposal and I was able to assemble all the pieces. It took lots of patience and tweaks to the pieces before getting everything in place. 

Finally, my pendant was ready for final assembly and clean up. Attaching the necessary setting bars in the back with the laser, I cleaned up the entire piece (satin finish), signed, and attached the split chain.