Bespoke Heirloom Pendant Gift

Sterling Silver and 9ct Gold Bespoke Pocket Watch Pendant – by Paul Chapman

As Annie’s 30th birthday was coming up I wanted to do something extra special for her. When Annie’s Nan, Gladys passed away, Annie was given a watch from Gladys’ 21st birthday back in 1946. This watch became very sentimental to Annie but as with most items that are passed down through generations, it sat hidden away in a drawer.

I had the watch serviced when Annie had received the heirloom and was trying to think what I could do with the piece so that it would no longer sit in a drawer and would once again be worn as a loved piece of jewellery. After much thought, I came up with the idea of making a ladies pocket watch pendant for her as I happen to have a fascination for pocket watches too!

I had a mission to discreetly ‘borrow’ the watch to make it as a surprise, however, this didn’t last long as Annie soon found out. She was over the moon and we ended up working on the design process together whilst working on some sketches. The pocket watch had a big sentimental value but needed to be something she was able to connect to and therefore was going to love wearing every day. We decided to take inspiration from Grandmother and Granddaughter.

I wanted to create a unique look based on an original design of the pocket watch, so I repositioned the angle of the hinges for the front and back door so that it could be worn fully opened, giving options for it to be worn in different ways.

I started by taking inspiration from a birdcage to draw the viewer’s focus through the outside detail to the important watch at the centre. The back door was based on Gladys, Annie’s Nan, who was born in Kent (the Garden of Eden). Therefore, we based the main design using vines, hops and fruit, finishing it off with the three rings of the RAF to celebrate the role that Gladys played during the war.

The front door we designed was in celebration of Annie, so we added elements that encompasses her. This consisted of the peace sign, Buddhist sign and the rat which is the animal of her Chinese Year. Annie also has a love of the ocean, so we finished it off with waves, bubbles and two fish. With two focal aspects to the pendant, it can be worn either way Annie wishes to wear it.

Once the design had been finalised, I embarked on the incredibly ambitious task of making the pendant – with a lot of help from my Father. This piece is very important for me as I learnt a lot of techniques, had to be patient and felt very honoured to be part of a family’s history. Alongside this, Annie has a bespoke and completely original design that will remind her of her Nan every time she wears it.

There’s no better part of this job for me.

Please enjoy the video of the making.