Commission: platinum weave

22 04 2013

It’s been some time now since I was commissioned through Lord Coconut to make these items, but I’ve waited to post about them because they were a gift. While it’s not likely the recipient even knows of my blog, I didn’t want to risk spoiling the surprise.

This was the first time I’ve been commissioned by someone I didn’t personally know, through a representative gallery (well, they’re my only stockist to date).

Platinum Commission; image not to be reproduced without permission

Platinum Commission; image not to be reproduced without permission

Initially the client wanted a gift for her partner for their 20th anniversary, and as such platinum was to be a significant component. I understand she liked a number of the cufflinks in the gallery, and after a few iterations of ideas she asked if I could do my round weave cufflinks in platinum (with the settings in sterling silver). After investigating that A&E Metals could make me the platinum cloisonné wire I needed, I agreed.

It was then a bit exciting that she also asked for a matching pendant for herself (with the bezel in sterling silver; if you’re wondering, the bezels are deliberately file-textured).

In sending Lord Coconut the quote for the work, I had to make very accurate calculations for the pure platinum cloisonné wire requirements – as it was approximately $345 per meter (and the minimum order was one meter). So each little row of a 20mm weave (including the turns) was around $10 or so.

By way of comparison, at the time (from memory) one meter of fine silver cloisonné (0.8 * 0.15mm) was $2.20 and one meter of fine gold cloisonné (which I think was 0.20mm) was $240 … the difference to platinum being in part due to the metal being more expensive, but I think mostly due to the special manufacture.

Platinum commission; image not to be reproduced without permission

Platinum commission; image not to be reproduced without permission

I hadn’t worked with fine platinum cloisonné before, and was uncertain it would behave the same way that fine silver did. I probably should have expected it would, given the thinness of the flat wire sheet; though I did fear it may split and not be as malleable.

I swear I didn’t breathe the whole time I was weaving the panel … one mistake, one split in the metal, one break in the paper (which would mean attempting to unwind the weave and again risking breaking the metal) … the thought of making a mistake and having to buy more metal (and at a minimum of a meter per order, not to mention the week for manufacture and postage) was terrifying!

The fact it was platinum may seem extravagant at first viewing – with the exceptional cost of the metal compared to silver – but I do understand the desire for integrity and symbolism for such a special gift.

You can actually tell the difference to silver when they’re side-by-side: the platinum is less shiny, a slightly more matt grey. I like the platinum a lot, in fact I think I prefer it to silver … though cannot see myself playing around with platinum any time soon (except for commissions)!

My thanks to Mark at Lord Coconut for this opportunity.



One response

23 04 2013
Lord Coconut

It’s always great working with a jeweller and client to make up something unique.

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