custom jewelry

100 Year Old Nail by Patsy Kolesar

Sometimes I get to be part of some amazing custom jewelry stories.  Chrissy came to me a couple of weeks ago with a 100 year old nail that she wanted to be able to wear as a pendant.  

The nail came from her families house which her Grandfather built on Prince Edward Island 120 years ago.  Her family still has this house, her nephew is living in it now and a number of years ago they built a small house attached to the main house for her grandmother to live in.  While they were taking out the windows on the side of the house Chrissy was picking up these old nails thinking she would do something with them one day.  

The nails are beautiful, they are handmade.  Chrissy thought it would be cool to wear one as a pendant so that is how it ended up in my hands.  I was very excited to turn this beautiful old nail into something that could be worn on the body...

The handmade nail

The handmade nail

My sketch - of course I added a swirl! 

My sketch - of course I added a swirl! 

The finished piece.  I used sterling silver square wire because I thought it matched the rustic feel of the nail. I wanted to make it beautiful and wearable and also really show off the natural beauty of the nail.  

The finished piece.  I used sterling silver square wire because I thought it matched the rustic feel of the nail. I wanted to make it beautiful and wearable and also really show off the natural beauty of the nail.  

Black Diamond Engagement Ring by Patsy Kolesar

Making a One of a Kind Engagement Ring.....

In December I got a phone call from a friend, Mitch asking me if I could make an engagement ring. He wanted to propose to his lovely girlfriend Amanda on their 3 year anniversary.......which was two weeks away!

Mitch and Amanda are two very unique people, so I had a feeling it wasn't going to be a traditional solitaire diamond ring - which is great, because I'm not really a traditional gal myself.  I met with Mitch and he had some big ideas - he wanted a ring that was scroll like in design and he wanted a black diamond. His scroll like design was inspired by a key........Mitch's Dad had given him three beautiful vintage keys from the 1920's. Mitch's Dad had passed away 3 years ago, so these keys were very sentimental to him. For Mitch and Amanda's last anniversary he had given Amanda one of the keys. I swooned a little after hearing the story behind it and I knew that I wanted to make the ring from the key. I suggested that we make a rubber mold of the key and cast the key into metal and I would cut it apart, play with it and make it into a one of a kind engagement ring.....lofty goals for a two week timeline......but life is all about love and taking risks so I was up for the challenge.

Being a metalsmith is an interesting art.....I have now worked with metal for over 5 years.....Everything should work out just perfectly all the time........but not so much......Each new one of a kind project brings with it new challenges.

I couldn't figure out some important things about this ring....It was cast from a had beautiful swirls, lovely curves, soft round edges.....this made it tricky to figure out how to construct a ring shank that worked with it. I tried a number of methods.....things fell apart in the ninth hour....I called my friend and fellow jeweller Simone....she came and looked at my challenge. She said some calm encouraging words and convinced me to go home and come back to it in the morning with fresh eyes, which I did.

The next day in the very early hours of the morning with my fresh eyes and fresh cup of coffee I saw things differently. Things went smoothly, everything started to work and flow and fit together. I made the shank a double shank and it still looked feminine and soft. The black diamond fit the bezel perfectly.....Everything turned out and the ring looked beautiful, unique, vintage, truly one of a kind.

Making this engagement ring was an incredible project. Just like in a marriage I hit some challenging moments, but I didn't give up because being involved in that kind of love is soul stirring.

The original key


Mitch and Amanda's One of a Kind Black Diamond Engagement Ring

Patsy Kay Kolesar Design. 

Patsy Kay Kolesar Design. 

Pulled from the blog of my always favourite inspiring writer Danielle Laporte, some words on Marriage.....

Marriage is not a love affair,
it's an ordeal.
It is a religious exercise, a sacrament,
the grace of participating in another life.
If you go into marriage with a program,
you will find that it won't work.
Successful marriage
is leading innovative lives together,
being open, non-programmed.
It's a free fall: how you handle each new thing as it comes along.
As a drop of oil on the sea,
you must float,
using intellect and compassion
to ride the waves.
- Joseph Campbell

***A little side note.....Mitch is an amazing artist and tattoo artist.....I may even have some recent personal experience with how amazing his skills are.....(future blog post) - you can check out his blog here

Eastside Culture Crawl - What it means to invite you in by Patsy Kolesar

In the spring I moved my studio to the Eastside. Along with moving into a space shared with some of my best friends I was also moving into a space that was a part of the Eastside Culture Crawl. The Eastside Culture Crawl has been happening for 14 years in Vancouver. It officially began in 1997 with 45 artists in 3 Strathcona studio buildings, The Onion building (my studio) being one of the 3 originals. The first event was attended by a few hundred people. Now 14 years later there are over 300 artists in 60 studio buildings and the event is attended by over 10,000 people.

The Culture Crawl has to be one of my most favourite events that happens in Vancouver. It is such an incredible honor to be participating in it. For this weekend only we will all be opening up our studios to the public. Usually our studios are private. The days I go to my studio I will wake up at around 6am, roll out of bed, make coffee and head straight there. I will stay there for hours.....sometimes taking a break, walking down to the Union Street Market to get more coffee. I will chat with the other artists in my studio, inspired by the creative energy in the building. My creative process is mostly solitary, it's inside my head, it's inside my soul. My creative space, my studio is also mostly solitary, it is small, it is filled with things that I love -tools, metal, and things that inspire me -a picture of my baby nephew, rough pieces of sky blue larimar and royal blue lapis lazuli.

When we open the doors to our studios we are saying something bigger then come and buy our art. We are letting you into our creative space, the place where we explore, take risks, make mistakes, and some moments create things that are exceptional. We are asking you to feel something, the creative energy that moves us to keep going back into our studios. We are asking you to experience art, and to get to know the artists. We are even hoping to inspire you a little and inviting you to come over to our side, to draw, paint, stitch, move metal...............join us......

Prepare to be Amazed

The Eastside Culture Crawl

Friday, November 26th 5pm-10pm

Saturday, November 27th 11am-6pm

Sunday, November 28th 11am-6pm

The Onion Studio 1103 Union Street

Vancouver, BC


Custom Making A Love Story Necklace by Patsy Kolesar

What’s so special about having a custom necklace made for your wedding day?

When I was a little girl my Nana, who lived in Australia used to send my sister and I gifts of jewelry for our birthday every year. We never were given the exact same piece, which caused more then a few sisterly fights. But now I look back on it and so appreciate that each piece was chosen just for me. Because of who my Nana saw that I uniquely was, she chose something that was intended to be special, unique and truly me. I still have all of these jewels and they are beautiful memories that I will always cherish, and one day will hopefully pass on to my future daughter or granddaughter.

For your wedding day jewelry you could easily go out and choose from a gazillion pre-made necklaces that very well could look quite lovely on the big day.

But by infusing how unique and special you are into a piece of custom made jewelry, you can make your wedding day even more personal, unique, and memorable

. I think that the jewelry you wear on your wedding day is just as important as your wedding dress. I know I’m a little jewelry biased, but maybe it’s even a little more important. The thing is, you really can wear your wedding jewelry again for another special event, say maybe on your 10 year anniversary?. And in the case of the Love Story Necklace, it is also a piece that not only represents who you are, but also symbolizes who you and your partner are as a couple and the road that you traveled to meet each other.

I am in the process of designing Gracie’s Love Story Necklace for her wedding day. Gracie was one of the lucky winners of my Love Story Necklace Contest. The Love Story Necklace is the perfect necklace for a bride like Gracie, a bride who has been through a lot, but who has always believed in love. Gracie’s unique love story, was the initial inspiration for my design for her necklace. I then asked Gracie to send me pictures and details of her wedding. Gracie told me that her wedding is taking place at the Wine & Roses Country Estate in Auburn, WA. The ceremony will take place on the lawn in front of the farmhouse and reception inside the old barn. The theme is woodland/ rustic. Lots of moss, twigs, mason jars, and wild flowers. The color scheme is greens, creams and brown.


Doesn’t that sound just about perfect?! She also sent me a picture of her fun, beautiful wedding dress and to die for shoes. I can’t show you the picture of the wedding dress, since that will, of course be a surprise on the big day, but I can show you the shoes, which are pretty amazing, and of course, I am loving this girl’s tattoos!


So, armed with Gracie’s inspiring love story, and pictures of her unique dress, shoes, and perfectly rustic wedding venue. I sat down and started to design her necklace. This is what the final sketch looked like.

Custom Love Story Necklace

Custom Love Story Necklace

The necklace will be hand constructed in sterling silver.  I use a square wire and hammer out the shape of the necklace, twisting and turning it in all the right places as I hammer it. I will use a combination of white and chocolate brown freshwater pearls and then chocolate brown enamel for the pattern on the silver circles.

This necklace will be truly one of a kind. This necklace is Gracie’s Love Story Necklace.

It is unique and exquisite just like Gracie. It has been inspired by the highs and lows, twists and turns in Gracie and Steve’s love story and the love and beauty that they have put into planning their unique wedding. They will have this necklace that represents their unique love for each other to cherish forever.