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12 Jewelers Describe the Most Bizarre Custom Jobs They Ever Did

'We made a life-sized replica of a guy’s ...'

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INSTORE HAS A tradition of collecting and sharing the funny and far-fetched experiences of its readers, who have always been generous with their tales.

And despite the retail sector having faced unprecedented obstacles in the first half of 2020, or maybe because of that, we decided it’s time for a laugh or an eye roll.

We asked our Brain Squad and other sources for stories of their strangest custom jobs. Jewelry business owners and managers shared these unusual situations.

TIL DEATH DO US PART. We made a customer’s “death ring” that she planned to take to her grave because “no one else deserves it but me.” It was a 1-carat heart-shaped diamond with a penguin hugging each side of the heart.

GAZE INTO THESE EYES. A London blue topaz and diamond pendant for a cat. I had to match the topaz to the color of the cat’s eyes.

LET’S JUST MATCH THE FORK, SHALL WE? We created a piece to hold some ashes from a young couple that were murdered on Christmas Eve. The mother brought in sterling flatwear that were theirs. We made the piece with a design like what was on the flatwear. The challenge was getting the ashes in the piece. I got them in and my jeweler was to solder the opening. He could not get it entirely closed and a tiny bit of ashes would spill out! He finally came down from the shop and declared this is creeping me out! The hole was tiny so we epoxied it!

A CANINE’S CANINE. Casting a dog’s tooth for a necklace, but I bet a lot of people have done that one.

A NUTTY LOCKET. Most unique of 2019 was a custom 18K gold “life-sized” peanut; think Planters logo, locket that holds two family photos on one side, and nearly 100 pavé diamonds on the other side with a magnetic closure. Gift from husband to wife whom he always called his “peanut.”

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STAFF SAYS IT’S ONE OF A KIND. I had a woman come in the store with her boyfriend. She showed me a pendant she wanted that had a couple engaging in sex. She wanted me to make it and said that it had to be moveable with a small lever. I made it and still have the mold. My staff won’t let me make it again. The guy came back and bought an engagement ring as long as the diamond was 0.69 carats. After that purchase, I never saw them again.

AND THE PRIZE GOES TO THE MONKEY SKULL. I have done so many weird pieces, it’s hard to say which is weirdest. I have set human teeth (for two different customers), puppy teeth (three different customers, same dog), Tyrannosaurus Rex teeth, pieces of the Berlin Wall (with a barbed wire motif), 10 pieces of rock from the top of Mt. Everest, made a necklace out of pieces of metal removed from a customer after they saved her leg, and appraised a damaged ceremonial monkey skull. Is that enough? I could probably come up with more.

A TROPHY. The granny that killed an alligator, who wanted an alligator tooth necklace.

TATTOO YOU. We were commissioned to make an engagement ring for which we engraved the sides with an intricate design showing a seedling and vines. It turned out to be a replica of the bride-to-be’s tattoo!

LIFE-SIZE REPLICA. Years ago we made a life-sized replica of a guy’s manhood. Cast it in sterling silver. He furnished the wax model. We weren’t interested in making the mold for him.

BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER. A possum hat pin with ruby eyes.

LOFTY GOALS. A 3-D penis with wings

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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