It’s not often I get to go back over pieces I made and redesign, but I had the chance recently.

For Christmas 99/2000 I made a piece I had been visualizing for a while. It was for my godson, Cameron. (age 8 at that time) I had a beautiful green stone and I wanted to make it into Aragorn’s brooch described in Lord of the Rings.

I’m still not sure exactly what the actual stone is (I’m a metalsmith, not a gemologist, Jim!) but it had the qualities of the Elessar (elfstone) given to Aragorn by Galadriel. [edit: I’ve done a little research and I believe the stone is adventurine.]

Here’s a quote that describes the brooch:

“then she (Galadriel) lifted from her lap a great stone of a clear green, set in a silver brooch that was wrought in the likeness of an eagle with outspread wings; and as she held it up, the gem flashed like the sun shining through the leaves of spring. “This stone I gave to Celebrían my daughter, and she to hers; and now it comes to you as a token of hope. In this hour take the name that was foretold to you, Elessar , the Elfstone of the house of Elendil !”

So there’s the inspiration.  I created the brooch and sent it to Cami for Christmas. Patty, his mother, wise woman that she is, put it away until he was old enough to be responsible with it. And it was always niggling in the back of my mind that the fastening method was unsecure. There were two loops on the back of the eagle’s wings that the long silver pin was to slide through to fasten it to fabric.

Fast forward to the past few months and Cameron is 19. He would like his brooch. Pat first brings it to me for “cleaning” and maybe some kind of “safety” on the clasp. I am glad that I have the chance to rework one of my own pieces.

It’s interesting to me in 2011 looking back at work I did 11 years ago. My shop at that time was in the back office (formerly the aft head) of the 42 ft sailboat I lived on. It was the size of a small closet and some of the work I did in that time frame was pretty good in spite of my constraints. In fact, I know that this piece was created while we were living on the hook in Indian Harbour Beach just South of the Mathers Bridge next to Dragon Point. That is one rocking anchorage and I don’t mean the music. I remember being very proud of my craftsmanship with this piece, just kind of unsure about the clasp.

It’s been on my bench about 2 weeks and I’ve been scouring my brain about what to do with it. While chatting with Cameron, I think “Darn shame I hadn’t started making pennannular pins at that time. That would be so cool.” But then I realized I could remake it that way. And about 2 hours later it was done.

First I carefully removed the stone from it’s bezel setting and sawed off the loops from the back. I took some 18g wire and did a twist and then twisted the twist. Shaped it around so the eagles wings would complete the circle. I then soldered a loop onto the back of the pin on the section of twisted wire, reset the stone and polished it up.

I’m delighted to get this chance, it’s not often I even see the pieces I made so long ago. Maybe I have penannular pins on the brain, but it’s nice to see it work so well.

And I’m very happy with the finished piece. I must admit that my mind is already coming up with new variations on the Elessar that would incorporate a more secure design to begin with.

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