A family friend had a very large nugget of Tibetan turquoise he acquired while living in Asia in the 1970's. He wanted it made into a bolo tie and asked me to put together a custom design.
This project was full of challenges. First, it's daunting to work with a precious one-of-a-kind object from a client, in particular a soft stone like turquoise that likes to crack. Second, the nugget was very irregular, making it hard to set (at least it presented a challenge for my fledgling stone-setting skills). Third, someone had already drilled two holes all the way through the stone back in the day, so that it could hang as a pendant on a cord, and I'd have to figure out what to do with those very visible, crookedly-drilled holes.
I put together a design that involved prong setting the turquoise nugget, attaching said prongs to a pierced sterling silver backplate, and putting ball rivets through the existing drilled holes so that they'd attach to the backplate. Then I attached a bolo mechanism, brown leather cord, and silver end pieces on the cord.
The client appears very satisfied, and I am too. More than anything I'm happy that I'm increasingly able to come up with a design in my head and replicate it in metal pretty faithfully.
Here's a few photos of the initial sketch and the final piece.