April 20, 2007

Tony Payne's Custom Jewelry

The second web site I added to my Links section is Tony Payne's Custom Jewelry. Based in Madison, Mississippi, he extends his reach to the online world after more than 20 years in the business.

Tony's trade deals mainly in pendants, rings, and pins. He can make them in the shape of most anything you can imagine: animals, religious symbols, business logos, or some creative stone setting. He'll even make you a championship sports ring! And you don't have to do anything to earn it, either! Materials he works with are sterling silver, white and yellow gold, and platinum. He can even insert custom cut precious gemstones and diamonds into your piece.

What goes into getting your own custom piece of jewelry from out of your brain to hanging around your neck? Or pinned to your shirt? Or hugging your ring finger? First, you either describe your idea of what you want your piece to look like to Tony, and he'll e-mail you a sketch of what he feels you're thinking of. Or you can do a drawing yourself and e-mail it to him. After you both settle on a design and a 50% down payment is made, a wax carving of your piece will be made. He'll e-mail you a picture of what that looks like, and if you approve, he'll cast it in whatever material you chose. He'll show you the result, and if you approve, you send the dough, he sends the jewelry.

I happened into Tony Payne myself back in 2004. Entering "custom jewelry" into an Internet search engine, I chose his site out of all the results specifically because he dealt with sterling silver. I browsed his pages to check out his work, and decided this was the place I was looking for. I drew a quick mock-up of the vision I had for a pendant( the Callous "CS" symbol) with some size specifications and e-mailed it to him.

Tony e-mailed me back saying he could do it. It's a good thing too, what kind of crafter would he be if he couldn't get this thing into the third dimension? He gave his prices for carving, casting, finishing, material, shipping, and insurance, and would begin as soon as he received the down payment from me. After sending him a check, and waiting for my turn to come up, he e-mailed me a couple of pictures of the wax carving for the pendant.

I was pleased with his wax sacrifice and gave him the go ahead for the casting. About a week later, he sent me this picture.

He told me that his quality control department, Mrs. Payne, noted that the pendant doesn't hang evenly, so he supplied me with some options on how to correct this. I chose one, and he got to fixing it. Soon after, he showed me what we hoped would be the final result.

We had a winner!

My pendant is a simplistic piece, but I assure you that Tony is capable of far more complex designs than this. But... you don't have to take my word for it. (LeVar Burton impression.) Check out his site yourself, it's peppered with his handiwork.

Now let me tell you a little bit of history on the Callous Symbol. The origin of this pendant is seen in my first short story Enter: The Callous One, posted in the Writings section of my web site. Basically, when Hunter Cameron, the main character of much of my writings, turned over a dark leaf in life, he wanted to bear something on his person that symbolized his rebirth. So he went to the local silversmith in his small town and asked him to create a pendant that was basically an abbreviation of his new nickname "Callous". That being the first and last letters of his title fused together.



The best logos aren't complex, they should be easy to recognize. I guess I'm fortunate that my drawings aren't highly detailed, case in point the logos I create for my characters. The whole reason I even looked for a custom jewelry site was to see if the Callous symbol pendant could exist in real life. It was affordable, it was created by competent hands, so I went for it. I'll utilize his services in the future, but the CS pendant more than suits me for now. Oh, and Tony Payne is the official jeweler of James-Gannon.com

And that's just the way it is.
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