When the pandemic lockdown started here in Canada, in mid-March, there was an overwhelming sense of panic which we all experienced- will we be all right? This, however, was slowly replaced by the realization that now that we had time on our hands, how was it to be utilized in the best possible manner? For Carlos Grobler, bespoke jewellery designer and owner at Aurelio Fine Metal Studio, there was a very heart touching commission, which among his many other projects, kept him busy.
This was the Silver and Gold Trinket Box, commissioned by a family to commemorate the life of their beloved black Labrador, who sadly had passed. The clients were very specific in what they wanted- it was to be a jewelled box adorned with the image of a black Labrador. So began the jewellery journey of this box, hand crafted into a spectacular objet d’art by Carlos and which he calls “The Covid Box.”
With everything suddenly shut down, Carlos did not have access to materials and gemstones. Even so, he decided to use the materials he had on hand. Melting old silver spoons, then rolling them into a sheet was the very first step in the creation of what was to become an exquisite trinket box.
Taking inspiration from vintage Art Deco style, Carlos started working on handcrafting the box with the view to adding many special and meaningful details to it. The divine, minute millgrain beads at the bottom of the box, blue enameled “forget-me-not” flowers, diamonds at the corners of the box as well as on the eye and collar of the enameled black Labrador, and of course, the brilliantly mounted golden mabé pearl!
Carlos and I had been chatting with each other around the time he first started working on this box, and me being myself, asked him to send me some photographs of how his work was coming along. Carlos, who is based in Ottawa, very kindly obliged. Bit by bit, the box started taking shape in front of my eyes and in the process, I was absolutely enamoured of it- not just the box itself, which is exquisite, but also the idea behind it and how it was being realised in metal and gemstones! Brilliant!
Here is a special behind-the-scenes look at the crafting of this gorgeously sentimental piece of art:
This was right at the beginning, when the box had just started to look like a box. Notice the finely crafted millgrain at the base, all done meticulously and with absolute precision, by hand! Carlos is a perfectionist and is never satisfied with a piece until it meets his own exacting standards.
The box, by now, had begun to take shape and I was getting a glimmer of an idea as to what it might look like finished. The labrador etching had been carved into the lid. So many other fine details were also becoming apparent, like the floral details at the corners of the lid, or the sapphire cabochon catch of the box, or the superb gold mabé pearl, which was to become a jewelled ball.
Almost there! This was about two weeks after the project had first started. The box now had a polished silver look, and by now, the sapphires, emeralds and diamonds had been set. The most exceptional part was the careful soldering of strips of 18k gold atop the mabé pearl, such that the pearl would not get burnt in the process! Now all that was left was the enameling. However, this was where the project met with some speed bumps, but true to his nature, Carlos figured out how to get past them.
Finally done, the box looked magnificent! From the tiniest details to the overall Art Deco-esque look, the box was finished to perfection. But that is how Carlos works.
Looking at the images Carlos sent me, week after week, made me appreciate something very important. As buyers and observers of jewellery and jewelled art, while we enjoy the look and feel of a finished piece of jewellery, we are rarely privy to how the piece actually got crafted. This is especially true for handmade pieces where the time, effort and dedication required to create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery is stupendous. I was fortunate enough to have been given a passenger seat on this jewellery journey, to have witnessed, from afar, the coming together of ideas, design and materials and then to see all of them being realised, diligently and patiently, in the exquisite form of this Silver and Gold Trinket box.
What’s more, just the thought of a beloved Lab being memorialized with this objet d’art is heartwarming in itself. For the clients to always remember their dog who loved them and whom they will continue to love and miss but never forget!
I hope you have enjoyed this interesting behind the scenes look at the making of this jewelled box. Do share your thoughts and impressions in the comments below 🙂
Featured Image: Silver and Gold Trinket Box Set with Diamonds, Emeralds, Sapphires and a Golden Mabe Pearl.
You can find out more about Carlos Grobler and his exquisite hand made jewelry pieces on Instagram @carl.grobler or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
You might also be interested in my Interview with Carlos Grobler.
All images used in this post are the property of Carlos Grobler and Aurelio Fine Metal Studio. Any person or organization not affiliated with Carlos Grobler and/or Aurelio Fine Metal Studio may not use, copy, alter or modify any of the images used in this post, without the advance written permission of Carlos Grobler and/or Aurelio Fine Metal Studio.