Anyone who has the courage to change careers or go back to school for further education deserves applause in my book.  My sister not only changed careers and went back to school (George Washington University to be exact), but she graduated with her Doctorate in Psychology today!

To commemorate the occasion, I decided to dust off my jewelry design chops and create a special jewelry piece for her.  I knew I wanted to incorporate 5 diamonds that  were once part of our grandmother’s eternity ring.  Taking inspiration from the initial of my sister’s first name (“M”) was a logical first step, although I also wanted to bring in her love for butterflies into the design.  In the end, the concept not only suggested an “M” and a butterfly, but also a heart.

My rendering…

Butterfly pendant with diamonds copyright Joana Miranda


For the actual manufacturing, I turned to my talented colleague Tim Pinkert at Corner Studio Jewelers in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  He created a series of computer aided designs (CAD) so that we could further iron out the details of the design.

And, here’s the final version we settled upon.

cad butterfly pendant with chain

The pendant was finished in early May and I braved the Diamond District to find just the right chain.  (I’m happy to report that Alex at the Royal Jewelry & Diamond Corp. took care of me very kindly.)

Here is a close-up “selfie” of the pendant.

Marta's pendant finished on model

Today was the big day – my sister’s graduation – and although I couldn’t be there, my mom presented her with the pendant and took these lovely photos.

Marta before her graduation

I think we can all agree that she’s lovely…and that the pendant is the crowning touch.

Marta gets her Doctorate

Congratulations Marta!



    • Joana says:

      Wow! That was a speedy reply! I made some typos in the first version of that post – guess I shouldn’t be sipping bourbon – but I think I’ve finally corrected them all. Hiccup 😉

      I love you and hope you enjoy the rest of your time in D.C.!
      xox – Your Sister

    • Joana says:

      Thank you, Jemeenie! I’ve been thinking about you and missing you. Will try calling you after my mom leaves town.

      Lots of love –

    • Joana says:

      Thanks, Ann!

      I don’t remember if I ever pointed you in the direction of Tim Pinkert for your jewelry needs. He’s a lovely person and I highly recommend him and his work!

      Are you balleting-it this weekend with Andy? I can’t remember if he said if the score had any harp…

      🙂 Joana

    • Joana says:

      Thank you, Ms. Helen (aka-my #1 jewelry fan),

      I was really pleased in the end with how it turned out. Halfway through the process, though, I started questioning my design. I guess that’s part of the normal creative process.

      Andy is still in your neck of the woods doing the ballet shows. If you see him say “hi” and tell him to hurry home because I miss him.

      Ciao dearie,

  1. Elizabeth Anderson says:

    Joana, you are a great sister, and I love the design!

    • Joana says:

      Thanks so much Betsy! I hope your retreat went well and I look forward to hearing about it the next time I see you (hopefully that will be soon!)

      XOX – Joana

  2. Nils Jonsson says:

    Several personal touches converged in this project. A technically impressive result, too. What a wonderful present!

    • Joana says:

      Hi Nils,

      Thanks so much for writing! One personal touch that I didn’t post was that I mailed the design (pre-manufacturing) to my dad in mid-March and he loved it. Knowing that also meant a lot to my sister, as you can probably imagine.

      I hope you are doing well and looking forward to a nice summer!

      With all best wishes,

  3. Pamela Frame says:

    The whole project is beautiful. Family treasures, the idea of making it for your sister, showing it to your father, just all of it. This is the stuff that knits families together. It’s not all about the ‘things’. It’s about the people, and the love and caring. It’s very sweet.

    • Joana says:

      Hi Pam,

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment and for continuing to follow me on my blog! My sister was so touched with the pendant – and especially loved knowing that my father had seen my design and had approved of it. I think the pendant looks really nice on my sister. She worked so hard over the past few years to get the Doctorate, so the pendant seemed like a good way to celebrate all of her accomplishments.

      My mom was just here for a long weekend. We had a ball together – lots of theater, an afternoon at the ballet, and tons of great food – and we were also lucky that the weather was so sublime. Tomorrow it will be back to the grind a bit for me, but I’m not complaining.

      I hope you are doing well! Are your house woes now behind you? Any plans to come out East any time soon?

      A big hug, Joana

      On Mon, May 19, 2014 at 6:34 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  4. Joana what a great gift for your sister, not only beautiful but made with so much love and thoughtfulness ❣. Thanks for sharing❣ Denise

    • Joana says:

      Hi Denise,
      The pendant did turn out nicely and it was a very fun project for me…and my sister loves it, which was the most important thing. Yay!
      🙂 Joana

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