Fire Flower Opal Gold 14k 2018

Recently I was presented with an exciting and challenging commission that I could not say no to, even though I was admittedly somewhat reluctant to take it on. Reluctant because, well, it was centered around the largest and most beautiful opal I have ever had the privilege of holding in my hands.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Proposed by two collectors of my work who have not only become good friends of mine over the years, but who continuously support and believe in me as an artist, always pushing me ever further into the realm of “Sure, I think I can do that.” They had purchased an astoundingly gorgeous Australian Lightning Ridge Semi-Black Opal from a local lapidary artist, who is also a friend of mine and an expert at his craft. The cut opal weighed in at 24 carats and measured 34x27mm, originally intended to be cut into two or three separate opals but was too magnificent to be separated into smaller pieces.

Immediately following the purchase of the opal they brought it to me, placed it in my hand and said “You know you’re the one we’re commissioning to make a necklace with this, right?” To which I replied “Uh… sure! Wait… are you sure?? I can’t believe this opal! Yes, sure! I’m honored and terrified to be the one to work with it!” and the commission had begun.

Anyone who has ever owned or held an opal knows that you can break them by just looking at them the wrong way. How can something so pristine, with such a delicate composition, contain so much life and color that it appears to have the very fire of creation itself within it?

Everyone involved, especially me, knew it was going to take some time to create this piece. They wanted it created in solid gold and they wanted something that had never been seen before, something to truly do the opal justice. We bounced ideas back and forth for weeks, some playing it safe, some really outside the box, until we landed on the concept of fire. “Our son mentioned that flames might be awesome, is it doable?” they asked.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

I honestly wasn’t sure it was doable, but in the spirit of going with inspired thought, I expanded on the idea and rendered a sketch of layers of flames in yellow, white, and rose gold, and presented it to them (along with a few other “safer” design layouts) to see what they thought. To my excitement and horror, they loved the not safe, totally daunting, tri-tone gold flame layer design. I loved it too. We all knew it was the one. Now I just had to actually make this thing… in solid gold… no pressure.

It could not be rendered in wax and cast, it had to be completely hand fabricated because of the three types of gold that would be used. The flames were so organic in shape, so free flowing that anything other than just jumping in with both feet and going for it would not have produced the desired look. So, I went for it… in sterling silver (I’m not THAT crazy folks!)

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

I built a prototype piece in sterling silver to make sure that the design actually worked, would protect the opal, and would look as amazing as I hoped it would. It was many hours of successes, setbacks, design tweaks, small challenges, inching forward until the prototype was finished. I presented it to them and they were thrilled with it. Then it was time to make the actual piece in gold.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Thank goodness for the prototype, it allowed me to work everything out beforehand and create a piece in gold that I was beyond happy with. Organic shaped yellow, white, and rose gold flame layers, carefully built section by section to form the back setting for the stone. Rose gold “Flame Petals” as I call them, and yellow and white gold prongs to wrap gingerly around the sides and front of the opal to hold it securely and complete the design.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Once it was built, I set the opal in the design, more slowly and carefully than I’ve ever done anything in my whole life, looked at it, went into slight shock that it was finished, and then screamed joyfully at Rafi that it was completed and I had done it!

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

Throughout the whole process, I had been referring to the piece as the “Fire Flower” (a working title) to try to describe something that embodies an intense amount of light, passion and fire, and is simultaneously impossibly pristine, serene, and delicate. It described the opal as best as words can, and it described the design of the piece that would complete and represent it. I feel it also describes the beautiful woman it was commissioned for, and there’s a bit of myself represented in there as well. We all resonated with the feeling and the name “Fire Flower” stuck as the official name of the piece.

Klee Angelie Fire Flower Opal

It was the most challenging and thrilling commission I’ve had thus far, and also the longest running commission, ongoing for about six months from concept to completion. I have to thank my collectors and friends Dina and Kelly, and their son Kyle for the challenge, and the trust that made it possible to create something I would have previously never thought possible.

I am now refining the Sterling silver prototype I had created, in which I will set a Nuummite stone, and will belong to them as well. The silver counterpart to the Fire Flower.

You can view the project and more pictures below:

 

Clarity In Geometry By Klee Angelie 2017

Champagne Topaz “Beacon” Necklace and Geometric Faceted Citrine Nugget Necklace Commissions

These commissioned necklaces make the projects page because they are both milestones in my jewelry career and they both challenged me to once again push the boundaries of what I think is possible with my designs.

Special Jewelry By Klee Angelie
Special Jewelry By Klee Angelie

The couple that commissioned these necklaces (the Citrine for him and the Topaz for her) are not only awesome (they are extremely awesome), but they have a love of unique design and an appreciation of stones and metals that makes my nerdy heart beam with joy. They own several of my pieces and I’ve spent many hours with them learning about who they are and what they love, and sharing my philosophies and passion with them. I get really excited about stones and design and life in general, and I can go on for hours about it… and they share in that excitement and enthusiasm, which has made for some phenomenal conversations and jewelry designs that would never have been if not for that combined enthusiasm that we all share.

Special Jewelry By Klee Angelie
Special Jewelry By Klee Angelie

His geometric faceted Citrine nugget necklace marks the official beginning of my branching into the world of men’s jewelry. He (along with Rafi and a few of my closest friends) have been encouraging me to step out into that world (and I have previously made a few men’s pieces), but this piece has given me the nudge I needed to leap in with both feet. For this necklace, I was going for a masculine but pristine beauty with the shape of the Citrine and the setting. The setting is minimal, following the lines of the stone and finishing with prongs that are arranged to give the impression that the stone is almost floating there and couldn’t possibly be held by the prongs themselves. To accomplish the floating look, I designed the setting with inward facing rods going into the center of the stone, a technical challenge that I wasn’t sure was even possible but one that came together perfectly. I photographed the setting while I was creating it and it looks like some sort of strange and wonderful metal creature with legs sticking out in all directions. It was an awesome project and I was so happy with the end result that I teared up a bit at the sight of it.

Special Jewelry By Klee Angelie
Special Jewelry By Klee Angelie

Her spectacular Champagne Topaz was a stone that she purchased from a local lapidary artist and brought to me to create a piece. I was instantly enamored with this stone. It has a subtle warm glow and facets for days, oh, and it’s huge and magical. The word that kept coming to mind was “Beacon”. A bright shining, guiding light. The optical qualities of this Topaz are unbelievable and both sides are worthy of taking center stage, so it needed a double sided design that would enhance and not intrude upon the stone. I wanted a super clean minimalist prong setting for the front that would also be sturdy enough to hold such a substantial stone. For the back, a delicate woven wire setting that would nest the stone but not cover much of the faceting. It needed a heavy gauge wire bezel around the perimeter and heavy gauge prongs. It was my first time forming and shaping such a solid setting and then combining it with the most delicate of wire weaving. Every step along the way I was nervous and exhilarated… and yes, when it was finished I teared up at the sight of it also. One of the coolest features of this setting is it’s optical illusion quality. From the front, you can’t see the back setting and from the back you cannot see the front prongs, so all the focus is on the stone where it should be and it appears to float magically.

Special Jewelry By Klee Angelie
Special Jewelry By Klee Angelie

These commissions were some of my all time favorite as a designer and a total gemstone nerd. I am currently working on another exciting commission project for this awesome couple, which is sure to make the projects page as well.

Delving Into A Sea Of Pearl Design 2017

I’ve been doing pearl stringing and knotting for quite a few years now, for my customers and for a couple of shops around town. I’ve become something of an expert pearl knotter and I really enjoy the process, it’s like a meditation for me.

Pearl Designs By Klee Angelie

I’ve learned a lot about them, about their nacre layers, how shapes are formed, why they form, and where different types originate. Pearls are mesmerizing, each one has its own unique characteristics, color, luster, shape, and so on. They’re intriguing gems from the mysterious world that is the sea.

Pearl Designs By Klee Angelie

Pearls are also tricky to buy and lots of research has to be done when looking for high quality ones. Especially when you’re a purist like me and you only want pearls that are untreated/undyed/consciously harvested/well documented… you get the idea. So, I was ecstatic when after much research and searching, I happened across a source for pearls that I can trust, that is reputable, that is passionate about what they do, and really… these people know everything there is to know about pearls.

Pearl Designs By Klee Angelie

So I’m expanding the pearl line that I offer into a full collection of designs, ranging from simple and sweet, to exotic and WOWZA designs. I can’t wait to see where it leads.

Willow Tree Anniversary Necklace By Klee 2016

This piece was commissioned as a nine year wedding anniversary gift, willow being the theme for ninth anniversaries and the basis of the design. I have created a number of trees, each one special, but never a willow.

Willow Tree Anniversary Necklace By Klee

It presented a challenge in balancing the feel of a willow tree without covering the whole pendant in willow branches. As you can see in the “not yet completed” photo, once I had all of the branches on, it was in dire need of a haircut.

Willow Tree Anniversary Necklace By Klee

The whole necklace is full of symbolic meaning for the couple. Nine sapphires dangle above the tree like stars (and sapphire is her birthstone as well) 18 base branches to represent 9 years for each of them, 33 dangling willow branches for her 33rd birthday, and so on. Every part of it has meaning.

Willow Tree Anniversary Necklace By Klee

In addition, I designed it in a way that it can be worn at three different lengths. It was a mixture of logistical challenges, pushing myself as a designer, pushing my skill set, and combining all the symbology with an aesthetic that I wanted for the piece. It was the most time I’ve spent working on one piece in my career thus far, and it’s also one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve created.

Gold Engagement Ring By Klee 2016

I recently had the absolute honor of creating my first solid gold engagement ring for a very special customer. I collaborated with her soon to be Fiance and her sister to come up with the design concept.

Solid Gold Engagement Ring By Klee Angelie

The stone is a gorgeous Herkimer Diamond which had been dug out of the Herkimer mine in New York State just weeks before we were ready to start designing. It came to me like “Here I am, I’m the perfect stone for this ring.” I got goosebumps and chills when I laid eyes on it. I chose solid gold for the ring because to me it represents purity, brightness and classic beauty, which resonated with the vibe of the stone and with the bride to be. Working with solid gold (while a bit intimidating at first) is an intoxicating experience.

Solid Gold Engagement Ring By Klee Angelie

A prominent jewelry artist was quoted as saying “Once you work in gold, you are ruined for other metals.” While I can’t say I’m ruined for other metals, I was completely captivated and enthralled with the process, and I definitely want more of it. I wanted the design to be a fusion of minimalist and “Crown Jewels”; one part sweet and one part fierce, so I chose a rustic but smooth as silk prong setting which arcs up over the stone like beautiful curved spires. I was thrilled with the final result. I was even more thrilled when I got to see the proposal happen via skype, and the bride to be’s reaction to her engagement ring. It was a fantastic, challenging, inspiring, and all together amazing commission that I am so happy to have been a part of.

Blue Topaz Engagement Ring By Klee Angelie 2016

This was one of the most exciting and challenging commission projects I’ve taken on thus far. It’s made it to the projects page because it is my very first formal engagement ring.

Blue Topaz Engagement Ring By Klee Angelie
Blue Topaz Engagement Ring By Klee Angelie

The couple that commissioned the ring had actually found and dug up the stone (a blue topaz) themselves at a mining site in Tennessee, and had it faceted. The bride to be handed me the stone and said “Something simple but different and unique.”

The stone reminded me of water so I designed a textured band to look like a pebbly creek bed flowing beneath the vibrant blue of the topaz. The creation of the ring was several days of diligent focus, steady hands, and unwavering patience and attention to details.

Blue Topaz Engagement Ring By Klee Angelie
Blue Topaz Engagement Ring By Klee Angelie

As I carefully hammered, shaped, filed, welded, filed some more, set prongs, held my breath, set a stone, and finally polished… It came together and became everything I envisioned and then some. It required me to push my limits and skill set, and for that I am always grateful.

The couple absolutely loved the ring, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the entire experience.

View more photos below of the creative process and more: