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Ephesus bee ring

Early last Spring I got an email saying he found me by way of an online search and would I be interested in doing a commission for him based on an ancient gold ring from Ephesus.  

He wanted to give it as a gift to a dear friend of his who had just seen the ring at the Getty Villa and was in love with it.  She'd also seen coins from Ephesus, since she is his assistant when he photographs coin collections.  This gentleman has gone all over the world with his job and been overseas for several years working for a non-profit documenting museum and private collections.  Visiting Ephesus and documenting items from there was at least one of those trips.The hairs on my neck stood on end when I looked at the photo he'd attached above.

Well, it was meant to be, wasn't it?!  In the Fall of 2010 Ephesus was one of the destinations on a cruise we took with our friends.  It was definitely a highlight and I blogged about it here and here.

Since the cost of gold is prohibitive and plating an item with gold would make it more susceptible to wear I offered to create a pendant in silver with gold plating on the front.  He had to wait until my studio was set up once again which was fine with him.  I was ready early summer, but life had dealt him a very nasty card in the mean time and we put everything on hold.I was so happy to hear from him earlier this Fall for many reasons.  One was certainly the nudge to work on his piece.  I'd been thinking about it for months and decided that a coin was really the way to do it since they were such a big part of his career.  I love coins and have quite a collection myself, but none ancient.  I imagine the ring was used as a seal for correspondence and likely owned by a resident of one of the terrace houses that we saw being restored.  I like to imagine that some ancient ancestor of mine used that seal. 

Ephesus Bee Pendant- metal clay by Honey from the Bee

Setting it in a pendant gave the added advantage of protecting the gold from wear even more.

Ephesus Bee pendant by Honey from the Bee

The gold addition proved to be more challenging than I'd anticipated.  I'd worked with a 22kt product a few years ago with success, but for some reason it just wasn't working well with this piece.  I think it's because I'd given it a good burnishing  I wanted that smooth shiny look and the product doesn't bond well to that.  I looked at other options and wondered about electroplating.  A fellow artist, Michela Verani, told me she has had great success with it so I promptly purchased the equipment and while waiting for its arrival I did some more finish work on the pendant piece.  I wanted it to blend in with the coin - have some character, age, my tool marks - rather than be something that could've been purchased out of a catalog of fine jewelry.

I can tell you that I'm in awe of the talent of the goldsmith that created this ring in antiquity that so inspired me and my client's friend.I just heard from my client that the recipient was giddy upon seeing the photos.  So yes you guessed it, I am giddy too!  Since there's no surprise at this point I thought I'd share my latest commission and the story behind it.


Wow love the story and the

Wow love the story and the art.Nicole/Beadwright

Very cool! And giddy clients

Very cool! And giddy clients are great!!

I remember you mentioning

I remember you mentioning this job before. You really did an amazing job at recreating the ring and making it into a special pendant! Your buyer will be SO happy with this!

Wonderful was

Wonderful was meant to land on your bench! You made such a beautiful piece out of this gorgeous ring (love the honeycomb back!) and the recipient must be cherishing it. One lucky person :-)

Oh my goodness, Janet you did

Oh my goodness, Janet you did an awesome job! And just as with art, it goes without saying, although I'm saying it....I always love the story behind it! xo

I truly enjoyed reading about

I truly enjoyed reading about this whole adventure for everyone involved.Thank you so much for sharing it!You created such a special piece of art.

Oh man! this is my kind of

Oh man! this is my kind of project!! well that is if I could actual metalsmith ... but I just love the history behind it! And it was so meant to make its way to you! Amazing story and beautiful work!!

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