The Tiny Dancer was created to help promote the Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of the year at a Gala Benefit event. This piece was commissioned by an avid patron of the arts, for an auction benefit to aid support for the PNB. The initial concept was to imagine a dramatic design, to be made into a pendant or a brooch, to commemorate one of the six ballets for the Jerome Robbins Celebration.
Different concepts were put to paper as preliminary color sketches, each one specific to a certain Robbins ballet. The final concept for Robbins' "Other Dances" was chosen and the real work began.
The unseen part that is often a mystery, is the engineering of the jewelry. The finished piece may seem static, as if frozen in time. But the creation of a piece of fine jewelry is magical and the jewelry obtains a life and a subtle movement of its own, through its making.
For Tiny Dancer, a second concept rendering was made with the appropriate design changes, to create the movement and flow of the dancer. It was decided that she would be approximately 2.5" X 2.5", and that she would be cast in 18K white gold.
The wax model was the next step in the creation. A medium of hard carving wax was used to painstakingly hand carve the dancer to exacting proportions, as per the original rendering. The kinetics of hand-carving the piece in wax, brings the dancer to life.
This is quite a large and voluminous piece, so hollowing out the back helped a bit to lighten it up. Also, wax braces were added to the hands, arms and one toe to stabilize it though the casting process.
Finally, she is ready for casting. After she is cast, the work of hand polishing begins. Many hours of work later the piece is finally polished to a beautiful luster of soft warm metal.
The decision was made to adorn her in pink sapphires and white diamonds to mimic and accentuate the dancer's costume. She was set with 2.24 ct. fine gem quality Pink Sapphires and .70 ct White Diamonds, VS/F quality.
Special findings were attached to the back of the Tiny Dancer, which enable her to be worn as a brooch or a pendant.
She was a great hit at the PNB Gala auction, fetching a wonderful donation for the cause and was a fabulous contribution by the commission of the donor patron. And, well, I donated a bit of my own time as well. A certain amount of time was allowed by the patron but the dancer wasn't finished until I was completely satisfied!