Handcrafted Jewelry Design
I know in an earlier post I talked a bit about the process of working in metal. Now, I want to give you more information about what goes into making a handcrafted jewelry piece.
I’m constantly thinking about and sketching new ideas for my collection. I create all my designs from scratch: designing the initial piece, sketching the design and eventually sculpting it in wax, casting, and finishing each piece by hand. I love what I do and really enjoy the whole process of creating something I designed.
There are many hours spent creating and producing each piece. The whole production side is invisible to you, but a lot happens before you appreciate a finished piece. I’m often asked why I don’t have more pieces in my collection, and I hope this post answers that question and provides you with an understanding and appreciation of the process of creating a handcrafted jewelry piece.
Each piece I design is sculpted from a block of specialty wax made specifically for jewelry. I usually use a blue wax that you will see in the following pictures. Small engraving tools and tools similar to dental instruments are most often used for the initial carving process.
Once the wax is carved and complete, the casting process begins. The finished wax is placed in a flask and a compound called investment is poured around in such a way as to leave a vent for the wax to escape. This is when the wax is completely eliminated from the mold by placing the flask into a kiln for firing, until the wax is completely eliminated from the mold. Then you shoot the molten metal of choice. I usually use silver and/or gold. After the metal has been cast, the casting has a rough texture and a crude appearance, so the piece must go through a finished process to bring it near completion. I use fine files, special abrasives and other special tools to develop a lustrous appearance. Finally, the jewelry piece is ready for the final polish, which includes using the finest abrasives to polish every line, every mark, and every little bit of imperfection to perfection. I hope you enjoy the following pictures that include a behind-the-scenes look at my jewelry bench.