Dejan began working with Oakcrest all-girls school around 10 years ago, starting with designing and crafting the girl’s signet rings. The mission of Oakcrest is to develop the girls intellect, character, faith, and leadership, in partnership with their parents. Their Junior class rings symbolize a tradition that celebrates memories, friendships, community, and the overall Oakcrest experience. Several years ago, the school reached out to Dejan Studio Jewelry about re-creating crowns similar to what they had in the past, but in higher quality, for the statues of Mary and baby Jesus in their school chapel. Dejan started the design progress, but the time was not quite right, and it was put on hold.
Dejan trained as a sculptor in his hometown in Serbia. After he moved to the US, he received his MFA in metal design and scaled down his work in the early stages of Dejan Studio Jewelry. His past metalsmithing projects around the DC area include work done for the White House, Smithsonian Institution, and Washington National Cathedral, and this crown project was an opportunity to work on a larger scale again.
Previously located in Mclean, Virginia, Oakcrest expanded to its permanent home in Vienna in 2017. The head of the school, Mary, contacted Dejan when she felt that now that they had the chapel of their dreams, it was time to pick up the crown project again. Dejan had the pleasure of working with Mary and the Director of Marketing, Vickie, as well as other staff members on the designs for two museum quality crowns.
The crowns were to be made using gems and pearls. A large diamond and a beautiful emerald-cut aquamarine gemstone were donated to be used, and we provided blue topaz and high-quality Swarovski crystals to set in the crowns. To make the entire crowns in gold would be very heavy and expensive, so we made the parts in sterlium plus silver with a plan to do deep gold plating after setting the gems and combining all parts.
Dejan presented 3D drawings and set up benchmarks and an approximate timeline to double check if it was realistic to have everything ready on time. Part of the project was to create plaques with over 50 names of donors, which meant paying attention to detail was important to ensure that everything looked right in the end. Mother Mary’s crown was commissioned to have an accurate engraving of the school, and the baby’s crown to have a Latin inscription and the school’s crests.
After plating the crowns in 24K gold, it was time to set the pearls and to make the final adjustments before the preparation for their blessing and coronation mass.
The day before the special ceremony, Dejan brought pedestals and pillows for the crowns to be displayed on. The morning of the ceremony, the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s director Brett Johnson also paid a special visit to the school.
It was so exciting to see the crowns placed on the statues and to be a part of this meaningful event!
After years of communication and putting all parts together, we are incredibly joyful that everything worked out and we are so pleased to see the crowns in their rightful position.
You can see this and other custom designed projects on our website at www.dejanstudiojewelry.com/custom-designs.