THANK YOU ALL FOR A GREAT SEASON!!

Gretchen's Limpet

azores limpet shell pendant in sterling silver handmade prong setting by hkm jewelryMy lovely friend Gretchen is the director of the Nature Center of Cape May where you all know I love to visit and donate to because their programs are the best! She has commissioned a few fantastic pieces from me, and this one might be my favorite but what a challenge it was!

Gretchen and her husband Mark frequently visit the Azores - which are a little volcanic cluster of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but closest to Portugal. She brought me back the largest limpet shells I have ever seen to work into a custom piece! In the Azores they eat limpets like clams, raw, grilled and fried. I hope to visit there someday.

raw limpet shells from the azores

After a few tests of the integrity and strength of these gorgeous shells, I got to work drawing. Gretchen wanted to wear the shell inside - out, so the pearlescent inside would be seen. This created the challenge, as the hump of the shell would cause it to lay awkward with a traditional setting and bail. I sketched and worked on a few mock ups - and sketched some more. It was nearly a year and a few remakes before I finally got it right.original design and layout for limpet shell prong necklace by hkm jewelry

The shell was scrubbed and cleaned so the algae and limestone growth wouldn't wear poorly, then the shell was given a light buff and shine. After it was fully dried I coated a few layers of acrylic lacquer to give it just a bit more strength.

design process and components in silver for limpet shell necklace by hkm jewelry

The wavy base of the setting was hand cut from a sheet of thick sterling, and prongs were laid out in the most protective and symmetrical way I could within its natural crevasses.side view of azores limpet shell pendant in sterling silver handmade prong setting by hkm jewelryback view of azores limpet shell pendant in sterling silver handmade prong setting by hkm jewelryThe ball ended prongs help to not catch on her clothing at the base of the limpet. The handmade bail is set back a bit to allow the whole pendant to lay more vertically and it is strung on a wavy omega that matches perfectly.

gretchen modeling her limpet necklace by hkm jewelry"So happy with my stunning custom piece from @hkm_jewelry. This limpet shell is from a favorite place, Sao Miguel Island in the Azores. Thank you so much, Hali. Your artistry is unsurpassed" - Gretchen