Swirling Fish Clasp with Tahitian Pearls


A design idea is often sparked for me after seeing something.

What that something is, could be anything!

The anything then mulls around in my mind morphing into various designs.

For this particular piece of jewellery the something sparked from seeing a beautiful carpet specifically designed for a company.

Part of the carpet had a few large tropical fish with flourishing fins and tails on a sea of deep blue – quite spectacular.

Think Fish!

This set me to thinking about fish; from history to symbolism, fish tanks and aquariums to fishing.

History and Symbolism

It is believed that the fish symbol may date back as far as 3rd and 4th century BC, in particular to a legendary Greek man called Orpheus.
Orpheus was a musician and poet with the ability to charm all living things with his music. He was noted as being a 'fisher of men.'

The early Christians adopted the fish symbol, know as Ichthys, as a sign of their faith.


Large and well kept aquariums are impressive to see.

Smaller aquariums can be found in many homes and businesses.
It is reported that watching fish or other marine animals swim, is relaxing, soothing and even hypnotic!


Fishing is a business, sport and of course hobby shared by men and women alike.
For some it's sheer relaxation and escapism from the rigours of life; for others it is the thrill of the 'play' and catch.

In one way or another, many people have a connection with fish.

Cinching the Design

I held the memory of this beautiful carpet, as three fish swimming in a circle. In my mind it was quite a harmonious feel, not unlike the Chinese yin and yang symbol.

It would not be practical though, for the clasp to have flourishing fins and tails so I needed to simplify the concept.

Black board

When I had to renovate my workroom, I had the back wall painted with black board paint. Great fun to draw on!

Tahitian Pearls

Having purchased two lovely strands of Tahitian pearls, I now had the excuse to make the clasp I had envisaged.
I decided not to make just one clasp, but two and to make them interlockable, enabling three ways of wearing the two strands: a single strand, two strands together, (very impacting) or one gorgeous rope!


An aspect I really enjoy in my job is the engineering involved in making clasps – in particular, box styled clasps. They can be adjusted to almost any style of design and always present with a degree of challenge.

These particular clasps I make are completely handmade – no prefabricated parts.

A good way to wind me up is ask where I source all the parts from and then get them assembled!!

Below are pictures of the clasps in various stages of manufacture.

Fish Pattern

Three slightly different shaped fish were cut out of stg silver, filed to shape then traced on to gold plate.
Each of the three fish is a different coloured 9ct gold: white, yellow and red.

Construction Finished

Finished and polished and ready to be sent to my setter for a touch of engraving and setting of black and white diamonds for eyes.

Knotting Pearls

I started the pearl knotting process whilst I waited for the clasps to come back from the setter.
The thread is silk which I have previously dyed using a mix of black and green dye.

The Finishing Touch

The clasps returned from the setter/engraver with fine scales, detailed fins and diamonds set for eyes!
Hand made jewellery NZ
Hand made jewellery NZ
Strands joined together to creat a rope length of pearls

Not what I thought I'd seen....

It may be interesting to note that when I saw the carpet again, there were not three fish swimming in a circle, there were four and they were in a group.

Interesting how we can see something, but not really see it and imagine something else instead!


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