Swimming in from stage right are three of Alisha’s new and fabulous, Fossilized Ammonite Nautilus Necklaces. The creation process for this design has been long and fraught with challenges but the end result has been worth the headache and stress.
It all started this past February at the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil show when Alisha spotted a tray of miniature fossilized ammonite shells at one of the many venues. There are ammonites of all sizes and qualities at this mega show but the ones she spotted were subtly opalized and just the perfect size for what she had in mind. Each evening at dinner, after long days of walking and shopping, Alisha, John and I would pull out our treasures and discuss design possibilities. Alisha wanted to design a tiny nautilus emerging from a fossilized ammonite shell and we talked about how she might approach the project. I believed it would be challenging even for me but I gave her encouragement and advice and the next day she returned to purchased the shells.
Ammonites are a widely prevalent fossil, possessing the typically ribbed spiral-form shell as pictured above. These creatures inhabited the oceans between 240 – 65 million years ago and went extinct with the dinosaurs. Ammonites were cephalopods. Today, the living relatives of the ammonite include the nautilus, octopus, squid and cuttlefish.
In March, Alisha began the wax carving for her Nautilus and spent many hours hunkered over the wax, perfecting her tentacles.
In April she sent her completed wax nautilus swimming off to the casters and thankfully the original arrived in one piece, (unlike her Poseidon’s Gift Ear Cuff wax that arrived broken into many pieces.) The next challenge was to mold it, adapt the individual waxes to their assigned shells, cast each, and figure out a way to securely attach the sterling silver nautilus to the ammonite. There were issues of balance and of how and where to attach a bail to the shell so that the nautilus would swim downward? As the Marty Magic business grows, so does our team and Dave, who helps us with ring sizings and repair was called into action. Dave, with his diamond drill bit and his patient competence drilled and pegged the ammonite shells where Alisha indicated.
Today is June 2nd and the first three of Alisha’s Nautilus Pendants are finally finished. This afternoon, Alisha proudly took the photos of her pieces and Laura edited and formatted the photos. I am writing this blog post and thus far, I have written all the copy for our web site and all of the blog posts. Beginning next week, Alex will start work and take over some of the content writing in hopes of freeing up time for me to create new designs. It takes a diverse and talented team for this magic to unfold.
Footnote: Sometimes simply naming a new design can be difficult and can make a difference. There was a lot of laughter behind the scenes today. Before I could post her Nautilus on martymagic.com, I asked Alisha what she wanted to name her new piece? Because there were many hurdles in brining the design to fruition, there were discouraging moments for Alisha. Alisha’s first suggestion was “Squiggly-Face, Nautilus Necklace – torturer from the deep.” Her second suggestion was “Mr. Squishy Snottilus Pendant.” I vetoed both suggestions and for the time being, her marvelous new design will be elegantly referred to as the “Fossilized Ammonite Nautilus Necklace.”
I have no doubt that this new design, regardless of it’s name will be greatly coveted and a feather in Alisha’s crown. I’m very proud of my daughter.