LA-based fine jewelry designer Zoë Chicco tells us about this one of a kind, personalized necklace given to her by her husband. Best of all, it was a total surprise.
How did this stunning pendant come into your life? "It was a gift from my husband for our five year anniversary. Basically for our wedding, we had designed our own monograms, which was a combination of our initials. He wanted to do something really special for our five year. He's a mechanical engineer by trade, so he does a lot of CAD (but usually electronically). This was the first time he designed a piece of jewelry in CAD, and then had a cast in gold and got the diamonds and had it set—then surprised me with it!"
So he was really inspired by you. "It was a total surprise. He'd actually done a similar thing with my wedding ring, but other than that, nothing else. It was really sweet, and totally his idea. It reminds me of him and our wedding and happy memories. We got married in Jamaica, it was magical."
Do you remember the moment he gave it to you? "Yes, I had made him something as well, so we exchanged these handmade gifts—I cried! Which is pretty typical. I think I gave him mine first—a painting I had made for him—which was just as heartfelt but didn't really cost anything. And then he gave me this, and I was like, 'oh my gosh, you won, this is so beautiful!' I was very excited and happy."
Do you wear it often? "I do wear it a lot. He gave it to me on a long chain, and I wore it that way for the first two years, and then I found I wasn't wearing it that much, so I put it on a shorter chain—I mean, I have every length of chain. So I started wearing it a bit shorter, and I wear it all the time; a couple of times a week. I've been wearing it all the time. Which is funny, because I have a new baby and I get repairs back from clients all the time of kids yanking on their necklaces and breaking their chain, but so far, knock on wood, he hasn't broken anything by grabbing it."
Is it a conversation piece? Do people ask about it? "Yes, they ask about it. Because when you look at it, you can't necessarily tell that it's initials. They're like, 'What is that what does that mean,' or, 'It looks almost like an om...'"
What's the relationship between this piece and your work as a designer? "Well, I love that it's a personal, custom piece, and I do a lot of personalized pieces. They're just so special, and the kind of stuff that becomes heirlooms. It reminds you of the loved one who gave it to you, or what it's supposed to signify. That's one of the strongest categories for me. And you know, the CAD design factor—cause that's how it was done—we started to do together, more and more. When I saw how this piece came out and how beautiful it is, it opened my eyes that we should be doing more collaborations like this. Because if I wanted to make something like this myself, I would have cut it out by hand and it wouldn't be nearly as perfect."
When you see the pendant in your jewelry box or around your neck, what's the first feeling that comes to mind? "Love!"