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Mothra by Leon Mege

yssie

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1670701628133.png

Leon named it!! :bigsmile:

Some quick specs up front - the bangle weighs 95g and total full-cut diamond weight is 2.3ctw (259 stones) ::)

Flower
18k WG
Five moonstones (15.8ctw)
Full-cut melee in outline and stem
30mm diameter

Moth
18k WG
Four moonstones (13.8ctw)
GIA 0.53ct D SI2 marquise with strong blue fluorescence
Shades of blue sapphire melee in wing interiors (43 stones for 0.9ctw)
Single cut diamond melee in wing interiors (87 stones for 1.3ctw)
Full-cut melee in outline
50mm x 40mm

Cuff
Jade (from Australia so presumably nephrite!)
23mm wide

Ladybugs
Coral and onyx
11mm x 9.5mm
 

yssie

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I’d admired this ring for… I don’t even know how long. Over a decade. And I always wanted one just like it. But I’m not really much of a rings person, I know that, so I never did anything with that #want.

2019_ThatRing.png


A friend asked if I’d commissioned this bangle to celebrate a special occasion. Well, no, not exactly... In January 2019 I decided that it would be my year for a Statement Bracelet. I’d budgeted for the Van Cleef & Arpels Perlee Clover, which had been a holy grail piece for some time, but one soggy afternoon I came in from shovelling snow and took another pass through my inspirations folder and the idea of having That Ring made as part of a bracelet - along with something else, maybe a matching butterfly? - whisked my fantasies away.

I emailed Leon that night: It would be The Bracelet To End All Bracelet Buying.

… Now my confessional: Since starting this project I’ve brought the VCA Clover bracelet home anyway. And a few more Perlee friends. And an opal bangle, a Buccellati bracelet, an ungodly number of pearls, I’m probably forgetting something... So complete and utter failure on the End All Bracelet Buying :lol-2: But I started with great intentions, partial credit? (The splats y’all just heard were my husband’s eyeballs rolling out of their sockets).



That Ring was, I confirmed with Leon, a portfolio piece he’d dreamt up for a curious five-sided diamond. It wasn’t a custom design for a client. Thank goodness. I said I was perfectly content with a round flower center, no need to get into specialty-cutting diamonds to replicate.


The butterfly was more complicated. I’d initially asked for it to be a touch bigger than the flower but made the same way, with single-moonstone wings outlined in pave. Leon recommended against that, though, explaining that if I wanted the wings angled upward the dome height needed for strong adularescence would be unmountable with stones of that size. He suggested a scattering of smaller moonstones; I thought it’d look more like disfigured bubble wrap. I suggested low-dome moonstones with blue enamel backing to fake the colour; he was appalled. He suggested making the butterfly smaller, but I’d fallen for the promise of a big look. I suggested going the other direction and doing the butterfly in bright colours; he said he had some potential options. He suggested adding some ladybugs and I pounced.

I stopped by his office a few weeks later and he showed me the moonstones he’d picked out for the flower. Love at first sight :love: And he also had this gorgeous gigantic pair of rubellites that he’d thought might work as wings… But I knew as soon as I saw them that I’d been wrong, I did much prefer the moonstone butterfly idea after all. But to please let me know what he did with those tourmalines because I probably needed it, whatever it was. (They’d been removed from a pair of earrings and were later reset as another pair of earrings, and I did in fact need them :bigsmile:)

2019_InitialSetup.png
 

yssie

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BrownGinger

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Oh my! Well this is exciting! Those ladybugs! All of it! Can’t wait to see wrist shots.
 

yssie

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I think it was about mid-year that we finalized the butterfly: Four pear-shaped moonstones with pave surrounds and a diamond outline. We compromised on a size, too, somewhere north of Leon’s ideal and south of mine. (I’m *massively* condensing this story by eliminating the lion’s share of my angsting, just so y'all know :bigsmile:)

2019_Butterfly_Sketches.jpg
(The 68000 down there, I turkey-gulped when I saw that but it wasn’t meant for me!!)

2019_Butterfly_Cutouts.jpg



So things, y’know, went on. Leon sourced the butterfly moonstones, found the marquise body, moulded the wax, and sent me this photo:

2019_Butterfly_Wax.jpg

And… How do I say this? It was not #LoveAtFirstSight. :shock:

What had looked lovely in paper on clay didn’t translate at *all*. Too big, just as Leon had said it would be. But it was also too cute. Too Too sweet. Like, cloyingly sweet.

Fortunately Leon also felt it was rather monstrous. To his credit he limited the I Told You So to “I was afraid you might like it” :halo: And as I was trying to explain what I was thinking - I was definitely rambling - he had this epiphany: "You want a moth".

"I do?"

2019_Moth1.jpg

2019_Moth2.png


Well, okay, yeah, that’s apparently exactly what I want. A common and declasse moth. Who'd have guessed.

In the spirit of embracing the declasse I requested the moth have a chunk taken out of one wing, like something had bitten it. “No.” “But it would add realism, no?” “No. I mean if you really want to, I’ll do whatever you want me to…” “No, I’ll l take your recommendation, we won’t maim the moth.”

(As an aside - I’ve come to the conclusion that Leon’s “I’ll do whatever you want me to” mostly translates to “this is a bl**dy bad idea”. “What do you want?”, on the other hand, seems to mean “I don’t have a strong opinion on this topic”, and “what do you think of X” means “you should really do X”…)

1670706138021.png


Moth evolution ::)

The wax was hand-carved to introduce slight inconsistencies, and my friends and I were split in pretty much equal numbers on melee colour distribution so I left that up to Leon. He chose the most unexpected one - which (surprise surprise) I’d sort of favoured myself (most of the time)… But honestly, I really think any of them would have been stunning!!

2019_Moth_InitialSketch.jpg

2019_Moth_FinalSketch.jpg

2019_Moth_Wax.jpg

2020_Moth_Colours.jpg
 

yssie

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The bangle and ladybugs… Well, bangle first.

:bigsmile:

I started out wanting a rose gold bangle, as skinny as possible. But when the flower and moth casts were plonked on it was clear that this wasn’t ever going to work. One, it looked like a headband, and two, it’d flop all over the place. And three - I’d have had to sell my pancreas to remake it hefty enough to keep everything upright and my pancreas was already committed to another project.

2020_RoseGoldBangle.jpg


So… As a possible solution Leon’s assistant Rachel kindly brought one of her bracelets in for me to look at. It was described something like “a wide black jade cuff with gemstones embedded into the top” and I admit I was skeptical, a black expanse didn’t sound particularly inviting… OMG. I WAS SO WRONG. I can’t share pics, I wish I could share pics!! Her bangle is a simultaneously low-key and eye-catching beauty that I’d legit have unhesitatingly believed to be either an ode to cubism or an Etruscan revival extravaganza :love:

Needless to say - quick sell on the whole black cuff thing :love:


Leon’s preferred jade supplier is an outfit in Germany that cuts Australian nephrite. Because apparently Australia is a premier source for black jade. Australia has *everything*. Pink diamonds, black opals, south sea pearls, black jade - and I used to live there!! If I’d only had money to spend back then. Sigh.
https://www.mountainjade.co.nz/pages/types-of-jade-australian-black
 
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yssie

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I really really wanted pave “ladybirds”. Y’know, the fancy sort, like in VCA’s Coccinelles clip -

1670706749239.png


Leon strongly disagreed, though, and we had it out over a couple of chart-topping “I’ll do whatever you want me to” discussions :lol: His objections were twofold:
A) Even if we minimized the pave and metalwork, they’d look out of place scaled with with the moth and flower, and
B) I hadn’t come to him asking for JAR-esque photorealism, so...

And of course the second is what made me rethink. The man plays dirty but he wasn’t wrong. Y'all remember the garden that Alice wanders into in Wonderland, with the Judgy McJudgeroo flowers that inspect her and decide she’s a weed and try to throw her out? I’d actually asked him for that garden, way back when. A little unkempt, a lot talented, a streak of snark…


So we settled on coral and onyx ladybugs. Deliberately cartoonish next to the Very Serious And Grand pave and moonstone motifs.

The first pair he had shipped out, one was great but the other had - as he described it - too much junk in the trunk. The next pair he had shipped out, I think something else wasn’t quite right? I don’t really recall. He might have been hoarding ladybugs, I think he had a little ladybug hoarding thing going for a bit there. In any case, somewhere along the line my finalists came in :bigsmile:

1670706926263.png
 

yssie

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Near end of 2020 Leon’s son very generously created a CAD for us to play with. Well, for me to play with specifics of arrangement, specifically. For anyone who’s ever wondered whether Leon Mege is patient and detail oriented, behold...

2020_CuffCAD.png


In July 2021 I dropped by his office to see the now-finished flower and moth motifs. They took my breath away.

2021_FinishedMotifs_1.jpg

2021_FinishedMotifs_2.png

2021_FinishedMotifs_3.jpeg


In August 2021, whilst my other half and I were in the middle of soybean fields in Indiana, Leon sent me a video of the finished bracelet. I’m pretty sure I squeaked out loud. I’m pretty sure I spent the rest of the day re-watching it and re-squeaking.


In September 2021 Leon asked if I might be okay with him submitting it to the AGTA Spectrum competition. Of course, I’ve not been in any rush up to now, I’m not in any rush moving forward, I’m going to be travelling a ton anyway - I’ll just pick it up when it comes back in a few months.


In October 2021 we learnt that it had placed second in the Evening Wear category. I laughed. Leon had more mixed sentiments, understandably.


In November 2021 AGTA sent Leon an email with this photo:

2021_AGTA.JPG

Any lingering laughter was hung, drawn, and quartered. First time I’ve ever cried over jewellery. I hadn’t even gotten to see it finished :(sad


… And okay, I'm struggling with what to write now. I don't have anything positive to say. AGTA accepted responsibility for the damage and promised speedy resolution, but to the best of my knowledge they continue to avoid communication, investigation, and remediation, and Leon has given up on seeing his claim with them addressed without legal efforts. After looking at their judging panel and recent award history I'd personally already lost confidence in AGTA as a competition adjudication board; my friend’s experience made me lose respect for AGTA as an honourable organization as well.

But I’m going to ask folks to please not discuss it any more here. I’m sharing only because it was an emotional saga for me, but I’d love to forget about it.

I told Leon I’d be perfectly okay waiting until he was compensated to remake. He was having none of it.


In January 2022 Leon and his photographer hot glued it back together for a professional shoot and I cried over jewellery for the second time ever.

 

yssie

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It was, probably not a huge surprise, super important to me that the remake be obviously different.


The moth and the flower turned out to be salvageable. Leon inspected them so many times - we were all shocked that they'd somehow survived!! If there was ever proof that white gold was the safest metal for this, platinum would've smushed into mush for sure :shock:

In aid of #NotAClone (and one failed replacement cuff and two Covid boundary shutdowns later) we decided to go with all-black jade, rather my prior request for some streaking (Leon’s suggestion), and three ladybugs rather than two (mine).

Meet Tiger-lily, Daisy, and Violet :bigsmile:
(Since I’ve already got Rose, she scorns and snoots from my RDG ring, which so perfectly fitting in so many ways :twisted2:)

2022_LadybugTrio.jpeg


All’s well that ends, right? This piece had one more gift to give. At the very last moment, on the very last step, after nearly four years -

2022_MissingSpot.jpeg

1670708123033.png

I don’t know how many long Leon and Rachel spent combing dark blue carpet for that spot :lol: But by that evening they’d cut a replacement and patched her up. And then… My bangle was DONE. o_O Again. :read:


OMG, I was SO nervous the whole drive down to NYC. What if it wasn't as pretty as before, what if I didn't like the new bigger-and-multicoloured ladybugs, what if it didn't fit me as well, what if it it was objectively perfect but I just didn't love it...

And then I saw it and every single worry went *poof*. Everything I'd been worried about - just gone within the second. So much relief. It was marellous. (And I managed to not squeak in public this time!)

2022_Comparison.jpg


So here’s a glam comparison of broken (left) and new (right):

2022_Comparison_Finished.jpg

I know that a lot of people will probably like the old better. It was more stately, it had more gravitas - it was more classically "beautiful".

But to be honest those were precisely the things that I wanted to play down second time around, and Leon fulfilled that request inimitably ❤️ The new takes itself less seriously. To my eyes it really embraces the whimsy, and it's more of a caricature - it feels more true to the irreverent flower garden that I'd originally hoped to harness :love:


The black jade is glorious. I've never spent quality time with dark coloured jade before. It's got these tiny gold flecks all over that glint in sunlight, like pyrite in lapis, I wasn't expecting that!! I was going to hold off posting on PS until I had some perspective pics, but I've had it a little while now and I’ve yet to wear it outside the house - and realistically I haven’t a clue when I will. Or if I will. It’s not a size thing, the cuff is fitted exactingly to my left wrist shape and I have to twist it a very specific way round my forearm to remove it - it’s not going to slip off by itself. (As long as I never gain or lose more than maybe fifteen pounds :bigsmile:) But it's, y'know, just such an incredibly delicate topology. Definitely the least wearable art-that-happens-to-be-kind-of-wearable that I’ll ever own :lol:
 
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yssie

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Thank you so very much to Leon, who was wonderful to work with and whom I’m thrilled to have gotten to know better, and Rachel, whom Leon unfailingly credits with keeping the lights on ❤️

And thank you to my beloved PS friends!! So many of you darlings have been right along with me for years - @737liz, @88_star, @Boom, @Cerulean, @CircularBrilliant, @Crystal_Dreams, @diamondseeker2006, @elizat, @ForteKitty, @hathalove, @lissyflo, @LLJsmom, @luckyhonu, @m-2-b, @MakingTheGrade, @Mary Queen of Scotch, @Resonance.Of.Life, @Spring Day ❤️

This piece is a literal daydream come true :love:


Mothra_1A.png

- - - - -

Mothra_1B.png

- - - - -

Mothra_1C.png

- - - - -

Mothra_1D.png
 

yssie

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Mothra_4A.png

- - - - -

Mothra_4B_Sun.png

- - - - -

Mothra_4C_Sun.png

- - - - -

Mothra_4D_Bug.png

- - - - -

He put himself there!! :geek:

Mothra_4E_Bug.png
 
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yssie

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And some closeups ::)


Mothra_Macro_A.png

- - - - -

Mothra_Macro_B.png

- - - - -

Mothra_Macro_C.png

- - - - -

All the diamonds in the wing interiors are single cuts, but the sapphires are full-cut - trying to coax as much sparkle out of those blues as possible!!

Mothra_Macro_D.png

- - - - -

Mothra_Macro_E.png

- - - - -

I love that Leon picked a marquise with SBF for the body ::)

Mothra_Macro_F.png
 
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Bron357

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Good thing I was sitting down to open this thread.
OMG
How spectacular is that bangle.
Out of this world amazing both in design and absolute beauty.
Sorry, but all that VCA stuff can go back into the jewel box, THIS is the piece.
Its simply breathtaking.
Now I just have to wait for my knees, that are all weak and wobbly, to recover so I can get up and go about my day!
 

lovedogs

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Oh my god. This is art. This is an heirloom. This is just......I can't even find words. I've also covered that moonstone ring forever, and the inspo of it for yours is just perfection
 

dk168

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Wow, just wow!

Not something I could ever wear myself as I am not a delicate person, especially after I have had a few to drink. :roll2::lol-2:

So I shall just admire yours!

DK :kiss2::kiss2::kiss2:
 

Bron357

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OMG again.
I was too taken away by the glorious photos to read the words.
Now Im totally aghast, not sure if it’s because it placed second or that THEY BROKE IT.
Seriously, I can’t imagine anything less professional.
Outrageous.
The rebirthing however was phoenix like.
Out of the devastation and disappointment emerged a piece of Art, an heirloom, a forever keepsake.
Funny the twists and turns of life, what it took to get there makes it all the more special and gives an undeniable cache to the story.
 

Kim N

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Well, geez, just when I thought you couldn't top your collection... seriously one of the most beautiful works of jewelry I've ever seen. :love: The colors and light play are magical. I have no other words.
 

Eli22

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DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. And amazing storytelling @yssie - I laughed, oohed and aahed, felt sad…and in the end, felt joy & excitement at seeing your final creation! :kiss2:

Not only is the design and craftsmanship impeccable- those ladybugs are the cutest things ever!!! There was another thread talking about “high jewelry” - in my head, something like this is high jewelry!! Who cares about formal definitions when you have this piece of wearable art! I hope Mothra brings you lots of enjoyment!
 
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Mrsz1ppy

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I have finally picked my chin up off of the floor. Unbelievably gorgeous work of art, and the story—the drama, the highs and lows! What an accomplishment, the perseverance of the team.

To me, that bracelet is “my precious,” from Lord of the Rings.

This deserves Jewel of the Decade!

I am still applauding.
 

oldcutclubmember

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I’m speechless sitting here in awe! It’s such a beautiful whimsical piece yet the process of this incredible work of art coming to fruition involved so much aforethought and painstakingly detailed workmanship. For what it’s worth I love the final version! ❤️
 

lulu_ma

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Ahem…this looks like High Jewellery to me!

If any piece of jewelry ever deserved a full on photo shoot-this is the one. I really hope Mothra gets to travel to Dubai or HK for a gala or at least High Tea!

The bracelet is a work of art, for sure. But the ethereal Moth is my favorite element.
 
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Daisys and Diamonds

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Apr 30, 2019
Messages
18,743
1670701628133.png

Leon named it!! :bigsmile:

Some quick specs up front - the bangle weighs 95g and total full-cut diamond weight is 2.3ctw (259 stones) ::)

Flower
18k WG
Five moonstones (15.8ctw)
Full-cut melee in outline and stem
30mm diameter

Moth
18k WG
Four moonstones (13.8ctw)
GIA 0.53ct D SI2 marquise with strong blue fluorescence
Shades of blue sapphire melee in wing interiors (43 stones for 0.9ctw)
Single cut diamond melee in wing interiors (87 stones for 1.3ctw)
Full-cut melee in outline
50mm x 40mm

Cuff
Jade (from Australia so presumably nephrite!)
23mm wide

Ladybugs
Coral and onyx
11mm x 9.5mm

is this yours ?

1670716669606.png
 
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