This is such a magical jewellery commission and I am so excited to share it with you.
A couple asked me to design two necklaces for their wedding anniversary that could be worn separately but also worn together as one. The idea behind this request is that they would both like to wear one now and when one of them passes away, the other will wear the two together to symbolise their ongoing connection. It's so inspiring to meet people who have made a connection so strong that it will last beyond this lifetime. I really love this idea of a piece of jewellery being worn and carrying an energy of that person.
The couple wanted the pendants to be Koi fish because of their love of Japanese culture and art. Koi symbolise love and friendship. They are also a symbol of luck, prosperity, and good fortune, and also of perseverance in the face of adversity.
Koi fish are prominent in the work of Japanese tattoo artists because of a long-standing legend of how the fish become dragons. Most of the meaning and symbolism behind the fish stems from this ancient legend.
According to Chinese and Japanese myth, there was once a giant school made up of thousands of koi fish swimming up the Yellow River in China. As they swam, they gained strength by pushing against the current. However, on the Yellow River, there is a waterfall. Once the fish reached the waterfall, most turned back and just went with the current because it became too hard.
The ones who remained continued to try to reach the top of the waterfall. These koi kept trying for 100 years. At last, one koi successfully leapt to the top of the waterfall. To reward this dedicated koi, the gods turned it into a beautiful golden dragon.
The falls have become known as the "Dragon's Gate.” And legend has it that, to this day, any koi that has the strength and perseverance to complete the journey up Dragon's Gate will become a heavenly dragon.
The couple wanted the fish to be designed so that when they were worn together they formed a yin yang symbol. Yin is seen as a feminine force, gentle and receptive and Yang is seen as masculine force, dynamic and energetic; together these two energies when in balance create harmony.
I felt from the moment I heard their idea that I could see the pendants. I sketched a design to show them what I imagined and they said that was exactly what they had had in their minds. It's really special when this happens as it is rare to be able to see the same thing as someone else just from a description.
The next stage was for the sketch to be drawn in CAD. This helps to bring the design to life showing it from 2D to 3D. The couple approved the cad drawings and then, to make sure again, a resin of the design was made so that they could hold it in their hands, turn it and make sure they liked it having seen it made to scale. After this wax was approved, the design was finally made in gold.
I wasn't sure exactly how the pendants would hang together as, until they are completed and added to a chain, the exact balance of weight isn't easy to predict; but these fish were made for each other and instantly behaved, forming a beautiful, energetic circle. Separately, I think they have a slightly different energy to each other, even though they are identical. I had a tear in my eye when I finally saw them hanging next to each other, knowing just how special they are and what they mean.