I originally wrote a blog about this bean back in 2019, but work started on it in 2018 when the idea of making chocolate-themed jewellery came to me.
This bean though was a tough one to get right.
I like things to be perfect before I send them out into the world, and this one took many tries, castings, methods, and experiments before figuring out how to make a cacao bean necklace that was wearable.
I made some that were too heavy. As a goldsmith my personal mission is to make everyday wearable art. Some goldsmiths make statement pieces that are beautiful but aren’t really practical. Those things have a place, but for me, I want to make jewellery that is wearable everyday. I wanted to wear a cacao bean everyday, not just on occasion.
Honestly, cacao beans seem small, but if you cast one out of metal it gets so much heavier and then is impractical for everyday wear. So, this tiny Chuncho bean from my friends at Qantu Chocolat was the perfect small bean to create this silver piece. I made a limited number of these in sterling silver, and there are still a few left.
Then hearing from all of you that you wanted something with a lower price point, I made some in bronze, and these ones come in two options, a bronze that has a brassy/gold colour, and a patinaed bronze one, that is treated with another mineral to change its surface colour to a dark brown colour, like a bronze statue. Both the bronze and patinaed bronze necklaces are a hit and come on a rubber (upcycled) or cotton cord.
These beans are cast from the mold of an actual bean. This is called the lost wax casting process and is one of the many techniques I learned in school on my way to becoming a goldsmith. I tried manyyyy different beans to find one I loved. I hand peeled beans, looking for just the right amount of husk to naked bean ration, the right ‘rip’ of the husk to really show off the bean.
It ended up with this little bean, ironically the same size as the bean on the chocolate bar package from Qantu, and I think it is perfect. It has just the right amount of weight to it, it is big enough that people look at it and can see it is not a coffee bean, and usually they ask questions. I find it is a great conversation starter.
Personally, I prefer the solid sterling silver cacao bean, because I am a big fan of silver, but I do wear it in all its versions, necklaces in bronze, patinaed bronze, and sterling silver earrings. That’s the joy of being the artist behind these, I have all the versions of them and can switch it up as often as I want.
These little beans are a treat, and while they are not tasty, and definitely should not be eaten, they do last forever, and can be worn close to your heart without worrying about them melting.
PS – I have also done several of these in various karats of yellow gold as commissions, you can always email me if you are wanting something special.
You can find these in bronze as part of my Valentines Day Package in my shop now, for a limited time.
Do you have one of these little beans? Do you have a favourite place to wear it?