Pictures by Howard Denghausen Jewelry of his designs.


I am 47 years old, have a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, and have been a licensed Architect in California since 1982. My father, who just turned 82, was a journeyman tool and die maker by trade. He came to California after World War II and took up rockhounding as a hobby. He quickly progressed from cabochons to faceting and from sterling silver bolo ties and belt buckles to fine gold jewelry. All my life, my father has been designing and executing fine custom jewelry. I have followed in his footsteps and have been cutting and making fine custom jewelry for about 20 years.


Jewelry, in its finest form, is composed of precious metals and rare gems. Even in jewelry made for every day use, the components can quickly run into some serious money. For this reason alone, the effort and attention you put into your preparation for design is all the more important. It will save you from costly mistakes and allow you to proceed with some degree of confidence.

I will not go into the principles of design. Many fine books have been written on the…