A couple of years ago, I was in southern Italy in the small coastal city of Agropoli, working on new pieces with my “portable studio” which is a simple affair that allows me to make wax models (to be cast later in gold on my return) and do drawings. I had taken the morning off and took a trip on the bus to Paestum, to a site which contains three Greek temples from the 5th century B.C. It was a beautiful morning, and early before the buses of tourists were out… very clear and quiet. I took some photos and did some drawings, and while walking around I came upon an unusual bush which caught my attention, and I saved a leaf from it.
Back in my room at the “Albergo Scotillo”, I was thinking about ways to use the leaf shape in a new piece, and made a negative mold in some special hard plaster that I had carried with me. With some simple carving tools which I also use on the wax, I created a small version of the leaf into which I could press my modeling wax…
The mold was about one inch tall, as opposed to three inches for the leaf. Then, I did a series of drawings as possible ways to bring the leaf and the temple together, like this:
Kind of vague, I wasn’t really sure about how to make it and I wanted to leave the details for the actual construction at a later time.
After a year and a half, and lots of looking at my leaf impression, I finally got around to starting the pendant, which ultimately looked like this:
The leaf impression was cast in 18k “green” gold, while the body of the piece was forged, fabricated, and engraved in 18k yellow gold, with an antique European diamond, some small diamonds, and a Ceylon ruby to give it some color and sparkle… and some dew on the leaf. I wish I could say that the piece was available for sale, but in fact it sold right away.