Unusual Requests - Straight from the Horse's Mouth
As a jeweller, from time to time I encounter some unusual requests. When Erin came to me holding a box of what looked like something from an archaeological dig I was surprised to find the objects in my hands were horse teeth. Her beloved Horse Abby had died two years ago and she had an idea of using one of Abby’s teeth to create a commemorative piece of jewellery. I could see from Erin’s reactions that it was a strong bond that she had with Ruby and this was the start of an emotional journey for her. We discussed the different options and the possible risks when working with unknown materials and came up with a couple of designs.
Working with teeth had never been something I had encountered before but with a little knowledge of bone carving I set about the task of shaping the tooth to start the process of creating the pendant. For fear of being banned from the workshop because of the unpalatable smell of tooth dust on the grinding wheel, I made sure nobody was around when I started work. I was mindful of retaining as much as I could of the natural shape as I carefully set about grinding and removing any sharp edges. Relieved that the tooth remained intact I took it to my wax bench and began to mould a wax casing. Once happy with the shape I carefully I removed the casing and it was sent to be cast into gold. The cast was successful and with a touch of jeweller’s magic it was cleaned and polished and a bail was soldered into place. I then pierced a stylized horse head on the reverse side of the pendant base on the logo of Murchison Horse and Pony Club. The tooth snapped happily into place for a perfect fit. The edges of gold were tapped over to hold the tooth in place. A final polish and a sigh of relief, I called Erin to tell her the pendant was ready.
I had a sneaky feeling she would be thrilled but I wasn’t expecting to hand her a box of tissues. I guess you can never under estimate how much the animals in our life mean to us. Erin came back the next day to thank me again, this time no tissues were required.