Many Stylebook readers are probably well acquainted with our lovely client, Mason Montague Bavin. Mason has been a loyal client of ours for many years and even remembers the original owners of our little shop, the Rubesches, who did work for her family long ago. A few months back, Mason brought us a small collection of jewelry with the most amazing story…
One thing to know about Mason is that she is incredibly thoughtful and takes care to pay homage to the stories behind every piece of jewelry or silver we have ever worked on for her. So it came as no surprise to us that she had been assigned the task of cleaning out her godmother’s longtime home in Fredericksburg. The role needed someone thoughtful and patient but who could stay on task to get the job done. Of course, Mason approached it with the usual cheery, meticulous attitude that we have come to know well.
While emptying out yet another closet in her godmother’s home, Mason discovered a plain #10 cardboard envelope box at the bottom of the closet. Figuring it to be decades-old trash, she lifted the box out only to discover…a safe hidden under it! You read that right: there was a small safe screwed to the bottom of the closet under the envelope box. And no one knew about it!
Of course, since no one knew of its providence it was also impossible to locate a key. Because Mason is both careful and stubborn, she enlisted the help of a contractor’s crow bar to strong arm the box open. Upon successfully breaking into the safe, Mason discovered a beautiful gold link bracelet that she distinctly remembered her Great Aunt Gay — another, closer family member — wearing on a daily basis. She loved feeling “dressed” and wore her pieces with pride. Mason has a memory for jewelry and knew that this bracelet was important to both her Great Aunt and her godmother.
Mason was thrilled with the discovery; a gold bracelet is always a treat to land, but the sentimental significance meant even more. Unfortunately, she found that the gold links were a bit too short for her own wrist. So, she came to us for ideas. She also brought along her godmother’s ruby and diamond engagement ring. Her godmother’s birthday was on Bastille Day, and with rubies being the birthstone of July, Mason loved the idea of somehow adding the gems to her Great Aunt Gay’s bracelet to tie both of these women’s memories home for her.
After a few rounds of design work and lots of brainstorming as to what the best solution would be, Tim created an amazing custom bracelet extender that integrated the rubies and diamond from her godmother’s ring and added the necessary space to Mason’s Great Aunt Gay’s bracelet to make it wearable for Mason. We sourced an additional set of small diamonds to complete the “bridge” and had the sides hand-engraved to tie the entire look together. The end result is an elegant solution that enables Mason to wear these meaningful pieces on a daily basis, and in doing so remember these important women who were so dear to her.
We were so happy to bring this project into reality for our wonderful client. If you have sentimental jewelry that just isn’t quite right for you, make an appointment with us to talk through ideas. We love breathing new life into heirloom pieces, and Mason’s project is a lovely example of how a little creativity can go a long way in re-purposing fine jewelry.
And, a lesson for us all: always check under every box. You never know what you’ll find!
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.