Giving a thoughtful gift to someone you love is a magical experience for all involved.
There's the excitement of the idea, the playful challenge of refining it until it's perfect, and then of course the reaction – a moment of joy, and one that preciously reaffirms the connection you share with this person.
“I'm not sure how I'll top this with a gift again – I feel like I've peaked,” laughed Amanda Hoffman, as she recalled the moment her mom burst into tears after being presented with a beautiful camera flash themed pendant.
Amanda hadn't just got lucky with this gift. Driven by strong admiration for her mother's talent as a photographer, she set her mind on a carefully-designed and completely unique piece of jewelry that would be a tribute to the hard work and commitment she'd put into starting a photography company with some colleagues.
"My mom was at a point where she was trying to re-establish herself and her career," Amanda explained. “When she started this company I wanted to give her a little boost, to reinforce her confidence. I wanted this gift to be something she could look at every day to remind her of the artist and amazingly talented woman that she is.”
This was pretty much exactly what Amanda said to Chris & Alix in her first contact, and straight away ideas began to be shared. Amanda had already searched for camera-related jewelry but found no appeal in the cheesy camera charms on the market, so she decided custom was the way to go.
“Mom has an artistic style and I really wanted to reflect that with the gift,” she said. “She appreciates high-quality craftsmanship. I wanted this to be something she'd have for a long time.”
The dialogue between Amanda and Chris & Alix resulted in the 'flash' theme, incorporating her mother's blue topaz birthstone – and Amanda was buoyed by the designs Chris & Alix sent back to her throughout the process. The finished product, which included a sterling silver chain, got a reaction greater than Amanda could have imagined when she presented it along with a poem she'd written.
She said: “She loved it – she cried really hard. She said it was the best gift she'd ever been given.
“It was Chris & Alix's idea to have the pendant represent a flash bulb, and it was done in such a graceful, yet abstract way. It's simple and has a classic beauty to it – it's better than anything I could have imagined. The personal customer service and shared excitement in my project was amazing, too. I felt like I was emailing with someone I knew throughout the process.”
Here's the poem Amanda wrote for her mom:
Flashes of Brilliant Light
As a girl I would watch you,
With curious eyes,
When you saw something I didn't -
Saw beyond what I had even tried.
I watched a smile form each time,
Just below the black, circular window,
"Got it," you'd chime.
It was as though, through that lens,
You could see another world.
One that shone brilliantly
With humor, love, shadows and beauty -
Far more to adore than the naked eye could ever see
In trees, sky and water,
You found painters' brush strokes.
In an ancient face above a window sill,
You captured stories, spirit & trust.
In a day of summer play,
You saw fantastical day-dreams form,
In the make-believe and clouds of kicked-up dust.
Images I've seen a thousand times
Look shockingly new in a view through your eyes.
Brighter, sharper -
More tangible somehow -
Exposing each wonder's secrets and long-lost vows.
It may be that these elements were always there,
That they just needed you to unearth them with artistic care,
Needed you to shed light on the soul of life
And then that gift is what you share -
With the world, with our family
With children's minds in page designs...
How deliberately you fill a square!
With magic that gives density to air.
But perhaps this metaphor you have never seen,
One piece hidden from your focus, and yet so pristine,
The light you bring behind the flash -
your own organic brilliance that glows and attracts.
Bouncing off of all you encounter,
Igniting the sparks of ideas,
I'm so proud that you're stepping into your own light -
Brighter than even the brightest of spotlights -
You've helped me steer as I navigate the day and night,
And I thank you for being the steadfast star in my life.
This necklace represents the light you share with the world, not only with the flash of your camera. May wearing it remind you of your strength, beauty, incredible talent and that I'm always here to love and support you every step of the way - like you have always done for me.
I love you and I'm so grateful and proud that you're my momma.