The Most Meaningful piece of Jewelry I've ever made

My friend Joyce lost her boyfriend a year ago October 4th. In the months leading up to the 1 year anniversary, I planned to make her a piece of jewelry in memory of the man she loved and lost way too early. Generally when I design jewelry, I rarely have the exact finished piece in my head. But I obsessed over this design for at least 6 months before actually tackling it. I never sketched it. I pictured it. Every step. Every single bit of symbolism I could put into it. As the date approached, I was afraid and emotional about it. I literally could not make myself start it. What if she hated it? What if she was offended by it? What if what if what if. However, deep down, I knew she would love it and I tried to let go of the fear. Over the last year, I have watched Joyce struggle with her grief. I've tried to be there for her. He was more than a "boyfriend," but it's the only label I have at my disposal right now. She loved him. And I cannot even imagine going on without the love of my life. I would fall to pieces. I am so impressed she has managed to put one foot in front of the other. And slowly pick up the pieces of her broken heart. The design needed to feature a broken heart healing....but never totally healed....with holes that will never fully close. I annealed a piece of brass, folded it in half and hammered the fold. Opened it up and proceeded to texture the edges with a different hammer, then cut bits out of the center of the heart. I folded some of the bits back. I then added holes and patina and did a quick flash in the torch to add more color.  

Custom heart necklace glass addictions jennifer cameron

  I used this heart as a template to make a 2nd heart out of copper to mount this one to. I did a hammered texture on the front side along the edges and the center where it would show through the broken heart seam.

Front side bottom layer of heart necklace glass addictions

  Then I stamped Tom's name, his birth and death dates, and a heart with wings onto the back side...where it will be against Joyce's skin.

Custom heart necklace backside of bottom layer glass addictions jen cameron

  I did a liver of sulphur patina then a quick flash through the flame for a bit more color. Both hearts were sealed with Renaissance Wax. I then added a silver wire "suture" for the broken heart, eyelets for the chain, and then riveted both hearts together taking care not to go through any of the stamping I did on the back.

custom Heart assembled glass addictions jen cameron


Back side custom heart necklace assembled glass addictions jen cameron

  I made lampwork beads in a color close to the color of Tom's brand new motorcycle that he loved, and died riding. Which, when I told the people that live with me (aka-my family), they thought it was a bad idea. However, I know Joyce. I was pretty sure that was the correct direction to take.

 Necklace custom made for a friend in memory of her boyfriend glass addictions jen cameron

  I made it adjustable so she could wear it every day with lots of different necklines. I had intended to mail it to her as a surprise. I realized it was more about me being a chicken than it being a surprise. So I asked if she wanted to go to lunch this past Saturday and to bring other friends too (she has cool!) I had packaged it up and gave it to her, but warned that it might be emotional and gave her the option of opening it later, which she decided to do. And we had a FUN lunch...laughing, chatting, and eating really good Greek food where they yell "Opa!" a lot. Later that day she messaged me and told me how much she loves it and that she was going to wear it to a fundraiser she was attending that night. I knew she loved it when not long after she posted photos of the necklace. Then later that night she posted photos of herself wearing it. That smile makes me so happy. And relieved. It was worth every bit of stress and second guessing myself to make her happy and to have something Joyce can wear that symbolizes Tom. Joyce wearing custom necklace. Glass Addictions   Update: Since I wrote this post, Joyce blogged about receiving this necklace and what it meant to her.


Norma Turvey


what a beautiful and heart felt gift you made for your put so much thought into it, I'm sure she totally loves it! She is lucky to have you in her life!


That pendant radiates all the love that you put into it, and shines right through your friend's beautiful smile. <3

Ann S

Beautiful necklace and wonderful to read the story behind it. I'm glad you stayed brave and saw it through.


You did a wonderful job on it.. it's beautiful and I know Joyce will cherish it forever. So heartfelt and a wonderful thing to do for her. You Rock !

Monique U. (A Half-Baked Notion)

The design is sublime, Jen. Your friend's pain, loss and path of healing are so eloquently expressed. I admit I cried a little as I read your words. Your friendship must be such a treasure to Joyce!


I don't really have much to add to this other than another very hearty thank you. I blogged about it myself today, and stole your headline ;)


This is a wonderful story of friendship and love and the necklace truly reflects it.


So much love into this piece! Your love for your friend and your creative energy have combined to make such a gorgeous gift for Joyce. And her happy smile shows it!!!

Lori Bowring Michaud

What an absolutely lovely gift for your friend, Jen. It is so important, when healing from great loss, to know that others are holding you close in their hearts. It truly helps with the healing.

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