When I was first approached by a friend of my husband and I, Matt, to create a turtle necklace for him to give his girlfriend, my first thought was “Yes! This is going to be awesome!”. Turtle shells are a great example of pattern and form in nature, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for cold-blooded creatures (many of our pets growing up fell in this category!). I knew this project would give me a chance to play around with some techniques I don’t usually get to use, and to work in a more sculptural way with metal clay than I had so far.
I decided immediately that I wanted the pendant to focus on the shell of their map turtle, and Matt agreed. I had him send over a bunch of photos of their little guy so I could print them and put them up around my working area for reference while I sculpted and carved. Once I had spent some time sketching out the shell to get used to the pattern and form, I dove into the sculptural process. After a few days of forming, carving, and letting the clay dry overnight in between the steps of the process it was finally ready to fire, and then for me to polish and finish it up.
This was such a great piece to make, and the best part is that our friend Matt was very excited with the result and couldn’t wait to give it to his girlfriend. Here is his story about the meaning behind it (followed by some photos of their cute little map turtle!):
“Ryback, the hatchling map turtle which I gave to my girlfriend as a birthday present our first year together, has grown to become a special part of our relationship. I wanted to give my girlfriend something sentimental for Christmas this year, and really wanted to find a piece of jewelry that embodies what our little shelled prince means to us. Knowing her taste in jewelry, I wanted to get her a pendant necklace, something simple and not too tacky. Unfortunately, “tacky” is exactly how I would describe the results of my search for turtle jewelry online. As I was beginning to lose hope that I would ever find anything that would work, someone suggested I talk to Danielle about getting something made.
I messaged Danielle explaining the sentimental meaning of our pet turtle and my girlfriend’s taste in jewelry. In no time at all, Danielle had responded to my message with the concept, a sterling silver map turtle shell modeled after Ryback’s shell, and as soon as I heard it I knew it was going to be perfect. I sent her some photos of his shell, and was excited to see the results. When the day came and Danielle gave me the piece of jewelry, I was elated! The quality and level of detail she put into the piece was incredible, even taking the time to mold the spikes on his shell which was what made my girlfriend fall in love with Ryback when he was barely an inch and a half big. I was so excited to give it to her, I couldn’t even wait for Christmas! My girlfriend loved it as much as I did, and it has become a piece of jewelry she wears daily! I couldn’t have been happier with my decision to have a custom piece made by DaVine Jewelry. Danielle is truly creative and talented at her craft.” -Matt Bennet