The most extraordinary part of creating this year’s pendant for The Cariboo Foundation Hospital Fundraiser was getting a perspective on time, said Woodland Jewellers Geoff Bourdon.
The pendant glistens in the shape of an intricate maple leaf, with 150 diamonds inlaid to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary and 84 rubies along the edges to commemorate Woodland Jewellers 84th year in business.
“One thing I found really interesting about this job is once I had laid out on my bench the 150 diamonds and the 84 rubies, it really put into perspective how long our business has been going,” Bourdon said.
“It was kind of neat to look down and be like ‘wow, that’s a big long line of rubies next to this only slightly longer line of diamonds’.”
Bourdon is the fourth generation of family craftsmen at Woodland Jewellers and getting to create and design custom pieces like this one are part of what Bourdon loves about the business.
“I have always liked creating things and I’m a very technical person and this is kind of a good balance of that,” said Bourdon. He notes that you must be creative in the design process but also incredibly accurate and technical in the building of the actual pieces.
He also admits that when it comes to continuing the family trade, “the legacy part is pretty cool” as well.
However, Bourdon’s very favourite part of being a jeweller is that it is always challenging.
“You can practice your whole life and still there is more to learn.”
And this maple leaf piece was no exception.
Around 40 hours of labour went into creating this gorgeous piece of jewellery, from looking at photos of maple leaves and sketching a design, to laying the gemstones, to the final polish and everything in between. Had the entire thing been done solely by hand, Bourdon adds that it would have been closer to 200 hours of work to produce the end product.
This is the ninth year that Woodland Jewellers has created a custom piece of jewellery to be raffled off as a fundraiser at the annual Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust gala. For the first seven years, Bourdon designed unique rings for the raffle but recently made the switch to pendants.
With the intricate custom rings he was building, it was sometimes a challenge to fit the ring afterwards. When you’re doing custom work for a specific client you know their ring size, he noted. When it’s a general design it can be difficult to fit the ring to whomever wins the raffle. Designing a pendant is simply easier but also appeals to a greater range of people.
“We also want it to be as accessible to everyone as we can because we are selling tickets.”
This year there are 500 tickets that are sold at $20 each. Since this partnership with the local hospital began in 2009, they have raised $84,500 which has gone towards benefitting the hospital.
The draw for the pendant, which has a value of $9,950, will take place at the annual gala at Sacred Heart Hall on Nov. 25.
The theme, fittingly, is Fire & Ice.