For generations, the Figaro family had owned a gold bracelet given to my great-grandmother by her brother when she was a child. Her great-grandfather had told her he would provide her with one to achieve certain milestones in her life. When I asked him how, he replied, “To get to be the Queen of Naples or the Consort of Capri.” It was the kind of answer you might expect from a master storyteller, and yet it was a piece of gold jewelry that my great-grandmother had worn since her youth: the gold bracelet Fido had made for her.
Figaro used this gold jewelry clasp to open the clasp on her wedding day in Punta Domingo. It was a simple design: two gold links with a chain at the other. Of course, as time passed, my grandmother noticed that the design kept getting simpler until the chain was just a single link and the gold jewelry clasp was gone. She had not looked back since that day.
In her younger years, my grandmother continued to wear her gold jewelry clasp on her right wrist, right hand. It was exquisite, and it earned her many friends, but it was not particularly attractive. It was not particularly attractive in the eye, either; gold is a relatively soft metal. So it did not matter to her that the design had changed.
About eighty years later, she asked me to help her obtain a new engagement ring, and I was honored to help her out. We went to see the jeweler who had designed the original Punta Domingo ring, and he explained to us that he had formed the chain by looping a thin gold wire along the entire circle. After that, he started another loop by wrapping the thin wire around a hook. And then he formed the third loop, wrapping the wire around a bar. The resulting formation was quite fascinating to watch. It was almost a work of art.
After designing the gold jewelry clasp, my grandmother decided to have some additional special designs. One of her unique creations was this: she had several small metal rings (or “pearls”) evenly placed along with the ring band, with a small piece of colored glass attached to one of the pearls, which was also in the loop. Her new creation was called a fold leaf spring. When rotated the circle, it opened to reveal a hook on one side that retracted into the interior of the metal ring. That way, the jeweler could quickly close the clasp.
Another gold and diamond jewelry clasps that my grandmother designed was this: she placed a small piece of white gold in a clear glass disc about one-quarter inch in diameter. Then, she put a small round disc into the center of the white gold. This gave the impression of several small lights inside the disc. Once, she pushed a button on the side of the disc, causing the light to illuminate the disc’s interior. The result – a very unique and creative clasp!
One other Gold Jewelry Clasp that my grandmother designed was this: she placed a strip of black and white gold, with a row of diamonds cut out in the center. On the reverse side, she placed a black and white enameled pebble that was slightly smaller than the diamonds in the strip center. To further emphasize the contrast, she had several small gold strips and different colors arranged diagonally down the center of the pebble row. This gold jewelry catch assembly was completed using a hot glue gun. After completing the community, she placed a clear protective coating on the stone and dried it for several days.
When she received the finished Gold Jewelry Clasp, she told me about the “Big Girl” described in one of her older songs. According to my grandmother, this particular Gold Jewelry Catch Assembly is made from a piece of gold metal that is slightly bent. The bent gold metal is placed on an aluminum ring, and the bending is done by pushing the metal in a counterclockwise direction until the bent gold is flush with the flat surface of the aluminum ring. After it is completely formed, it is then cut away along the line of the original gold piece, and a fresh, perfectly straight piece of gold metal is pushed into its place.