Custom Wood Jewelry Project

Ok, so it’s been a while (more like never) since I’ve blogged. I’m finally catching my breath long enough to share some fun with you. Let’s start with a custom wood piece made this summer. Oh, and I promise my other posts won’t be so long-winded!

I’ve always worked with real stones, which are materials that have been shaped, sized, colored, weathered by nature. It’s very rare for me to venture outside these pre-set boundaries and create something where I’m in full control of the size, shape, pattern, color of the material. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to do this project when a friend asked if I could design a special piece for his wife for their fifth wedding anniversary. The traditional gift of choice for five years is wood, something completely out of my element.

My friend described what he was looking for: elegant but simple, with a Japanese theme. That same month, my friend Phyllis, of Keeper Goods, posted her laser-etched fox tote line she had designed in addition to the cute boot keepers she makes through her company ( I put two and two together, and voila! The wood custom project was born!

I jetted up to Seattle to explore a whole new world of laser cutting and etching. Seattle has such a creative vibe, filled with artists, small businesses, and big ideas. Very refreshing and inspiring.

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We visited a local lumberyard and bought a variety of exotic wood, including Bolivian Rosewood and Purpleheart, to test out.

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The amount of time spent perfecting both the etching and cutting was pretty astounding. There are so many different wood types, and each behaves differently while under the laser. After Phyllis mastered all the settings, off we went! We took beautiful lace patterns, Japanese lotus flower designs, and cherry blossoms to etch, then applied my logo, along with teardrops and other shapes to cut out the pieces from the pattern.


The main pendant on the necklace was created using a beautiful, simple crane etched into a diamond shaped piece of wood, along with a personal message on the back of the pendant, signed by the client.

Such a productive week! The best part was that we decided to do a jewelry line together with our new found ideas and creations!

After the wood pieces were finished, polished, and waxed in Seattle, the pieces were transported down to San Francisco to my metalsmithing shop to finish up with some delicate bail/bezeling of the main pendant. The other pieces cut out from the lace and lotus patterns were then wire worked into the necklace, which was made in San Diego.


The final product turned out amazing. Truly a custom work of art – created in Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego by two small businesses and lots of brainstorming. Wait for updates on the blog on how Keeper Goods and Chris Ching Jewelry are creating a wood jewelry line, inspired by this very piece!




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