Lisa entrusted these precious family heirlooms to me and asked me to convert the buttons into a bracelet. We discussed what style she wanted and how it might be put together. Then I got to work.
My first challenge was finding suitable bases onto which to fix the buttons, so they would sit flat against the wrist. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a jeweller, so making something myself was out of the question. Eventually I managed to source some cameo mounts in approximately the correct sizes for the buttons. Unfortunately they were totally the wrong finish; the small bases were silver and the large ones were antique bronze. This presented me with my next challenge.
Initially I tried covering the bases with gold leaf. The first attempt was disastrous, as I was unable to get a smooth finish. My second attempt with the gold leaf was better but still not up to scratch. The finish was just too rough and patchy. Fortunately, Lisa was a very patient client. In the end I covered the bases in Liquid Leaf and the results were stunning.
Finally it was a simple process of fixing the buttons into position and linking them together. I finished it off with a gold-plated clasp and the bracelet had finally together.
It was an enormous privilege to work on this deeply personal project of Lisa's. Knowing how proud her father was of his Commissionare's uniform and of Wakefield's history, I was acutely aware of how precious his buttons are to Lisa and her family. I must again thank Lisa for her faith in me and patience with how long it took me to get this piece right.
Lisa's lovely feedback was the perfect end to my year: