Local jeweller to offer Whistler Millennium Coin
By Andrew Mitchell
Ticket stubs and hangovers are good, but if you really want to remember the millennium celebration in Whistler, you might want to consider purchasing a limited edition silver coin/medallion.
Designer Steve Gallant, a local artist and the owner of Oro Custom Jewellery Designs, is prepared to mould and hand finish a maximum of 2,000 pieces, which feature an etching of Overlord and Fissile mountains.
"I came up with the idea while I was walking with my wife through the shops in the village," says Gallant. "We didn't see a single thing combining Whistler and the year 2000, just a few glasses and candles. We got to thinking how we should come up with something for this historic event."
Each coin is moulded with .999 fine silver (for 1999) using a "Lost Wax Casting" process that was originally used by the ancient Egyptians, and hand-finished by Gallant. The mountain scene is then electroplated with a thin layer of copper to give it a reddish tinge.
With a weight of 10 grams and a retail value of $99.99 (that number again) Gallant hopes to sell his coins at local jewellery stores and gift shops. The Plaza Gallery has already agreed to distribute the coins, which are to be stamped with a production number on a first come, first stamped based. The coins can also be rounded by hand and furnished with a pin to be worn as a brooch.
Gallant has been working in the fine arts for the past 24 years and in sculpture for the past eight years. Although he originally learned to carve wood and soapstone, he says he enjoys the challenge of working with metals. "I really got into the metallurgy of it," says Gallant. "Jewellery is really just sculpture on a miniature scale."
He has already sold 10 of the coins, and expects to take more orders as the New Year draws closer. With each coin taking between three and four hours to finish, however, he hopes that the orders won't come in all at once.
"My biggest nightmare is to get an order for 2000 of these things," says Gallant, who works out of his home in Pemberton. "That would put me out of commission for a long time."