This gorgeous necklace was a gift from her Grandad to his sweetheart before they were married. Unfortunately Nana passed away a few years ago but the jewellery has been passed on within the family. With wear and tear, one of the strands broke and many of the pearls were lost. The three strand necklace was re-strung as a two strand but now looks incomplete.
My exciting commission is to alter the necklace into a bracelet. The idea is to make a feature of the decorative clasp using it as the centre piece. I am going to introduce a middle row of contrasting ivory pearls with some rhinestone detail. These complement the warm almost peach coloured pearls from the necklace.
Check out these amazing photos - below Nana looking very happy and wearing her pearls on her wedding day in 1949.
And check out the cake shot - if you look closely you can also see the tiered cake-stand with individual cupcakes! (Click on any of the images for a larger version).
And finally the happy couple celebrate their honeymoon in Meath. Those pearls really complete the look!
I have asked my 'secret bride-to-be' to tell us about her grand-parents and the special relationship they had.
Nanny and Grandad were childhood sweethearts, first meeting when they were about 14yrs old! Nanny moved to Birmingham in her late teens to train as a nurse and Grandad followed her over there! She qualified the same year they were married, 1949, aged 22. They returned to Ireland to honeymoon, the perfectly-timed photo with the swan behind them was taken on their honeymoon in Co. Meath.Here is a sketch I have drawn that shows how the bracelet will look with a fine row of ivory pearls in the centre, with rhinestone accents.
The pearls were a gift Grandad gave to her before the wedding to wear on the day, and as far as I know, an engagement ring was a luxury that could not be afforded. I'm sure she was absolutely thrilled with them and they looked very beautiful on her that day.And you can see her wearing them proudly in her honeymoon photos too, as I would! They returned to England but decided to come back to Ireland a couple of years later when my Mum was born. They were such a wonderful, inspirational couple, completely devoted to each other and their family.
Nanny passed away in September 2004, a month and two days after they celebrated 55 yrs of marriage. My Mum gave me the pearls as a keepsake, although as more than half a century had passed, the strings were broken and quite a few pearls had been lost. We attempted to have them repaired but putting them back together with a strand missing didn't do them any justice at all. Grandad passed away in 2009, and in those 5 years he spent without her, almost all of his thoughts, words and prayers were about Nanny, for he didn't really know a life without her.
Now that my own wedding is approaching I hope that I may be inspired by their love and commitment to each other. Life was much tougher then than it is now and yet they were always happy, generous and kind. They will be very much missed on my wedding day in particular, but being able to wear my Nanny's pearls feels like they'll be there in spirit and they'll never be forgotten, and means so, so much to me. I am so grateful to Aisling for making this a reality, when you strip away all the pomp and fluff from a wedding it's the people, present on the day and those we'll never forget, that really count.
And a close-up of the amazing rhinestone catch, showing the beautiful peachy pearls.
I hope you have enjoyed hearing about this story as much as I have. I feel privileged to be asked to create this bracelet so that this heirloom can continue to be worn and enjoyed.
Read about Siobhan's wedding and see photos of her new bracelet in the follow-up post!