Sue picked her new necklace today and very kindly allowed me to scan this photo or her and her husband Greg. To me they have always looked a little like Barbie and Ken. Both are tall and statuesque, fit, and beautifully groomed. They seem a perfect couple, both on and off the competition floor.
The new necklace is visually the same as the original, and a style I make frequently, in different sizes and configurations. It a good shape for dancers, because it is open, allowing skin to breath and cool, but it places sparkly focus at the neck and head. The inclusion of sew-on jewels provides extra visual punch. And the use of flat, mirror backed crystals means all of the light hitting the glass is pushed back to a viewer's eye, instead of passing through as in a bicone or round. I use actual beads occasionally, but mirror backs are almost always my preferred choice.
But Sue's original necklace, after 5 years of use, was at the end of it's life. Dancers work really hard when they compete, and many sweat a great deal. They wear artificial tanning products, bronzers, scent, and loads of hair product to keep their styles in place through their athletic activity. Some of them even glue their jewelry to their bodies with toupee tape or eyelash adhesive to keep it in place. And sadly, the AB finishes on Swarovski products sometimes fall prey to all that stuff, becoming dull and dark. Plus, in Sue's case, the ultrasuede base had stretched slightly, and some of the delicate webbing had split. I repaired it as best could be done, but the stretching made the necklace lay in a lower place than the one we had originally planned, and it was time for a replacement.
Well, that's another story, actually. When we designed this gown, we originally planned for a choker style version of the necklace, but once we got the gown far enough along to test the jewelry with it, we realized that a different configuration was called for. The beautiful expanse of Sue's chest was crying out for detail and sparkle, so we re-designed the shape, but kept the essentials of the style, to create the best possible jewelry for the gown and dancer. This is the tremendous benefit of working with a local designer and having fittings. Things can and do evolve and change to suit the circumstances. Making gowns for dress forms is a very different process indeed.
And here's the entire set. We made new bracelets as well, but since the earrings do not come in direct contact with the skin, those are still the originals. Since Swarovski is no longer making any of their sew-on jewels in Bermuda Blue, we had to recover the original jewels for the replacement pieces, which worked out beautifully. Such a gorgeous color! I hope they bring it back.