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How do I hand make jewellery?

I’m often asked how I make my jewellery, and so I thought I would put together a blog post on precisely that. Read on for an insight into my jewellery making process.

 

Handmade jewellery from my Hampshire studio.

My jewellery is fabricated (this means crafted by hand) from my studio in the beautiful South Downs, Hampshire.  Fabricating means I use metal sheets and wire in all different sizes to create various pieces. Then if you are interested, I add gemstones - this is really my favourite part of making as it colours up the piece and it is what makes your piece unique to you.

 

Silver Sheet and Wire for Jewellery

Raw materials: Sterling silver sheet, wire and semi-precious stones.

So, first thing’s first - working with the metal. If I’m using silver, this starts off as wire, sheet or grain. If it’s gold, this normally begins as grain and I alloy it myself. Whatever the metal, it will be manipulated and cut with various tools… Hammers, saws, pliers; you name it, I’ve got it. I begin by sawing and filing  the metal to the shape and size necessary before using different pliers and hammers to get it down to the actual shape I need. Then it needs to be smoothed out so I have a collection of files and sandpaper for doing this task. 

Tools of the trade, files, saw, sanding sticks, pliers

When the time is right, I pull out my torch and some potions and I join pieces together by soldering them; normally a piece of jewellery has multiple bits that need soldering together. I make all of the individual pieces by sawing, forming, filing  and soldering before joining all the pieces together with the final solder. This can be a LONG process, and it can go round many times. 

Polishing wheel to remove scratches and achieve a high polish

But, once finished, I can start polishing and finishing the piece. I carefully work out any scratches using files, sandpaper and a polishing machine; this is what gives your piece that flawless final look. The cleaning and polishing stage normally takes as long as fabricating the pieces; it’s no small job. But it's important

Stone setting vice

Last but CERTAINLY not least, I set the stone. To do this I put on my special glasses and get up super close to my stone setting vice. To say this is nerve wracking is an understatement. Jewellery is all about precision. If I am setting a stone, it has to fit perfectly in the bezel: it cannot be off. I carefully push the stone into the bezel. Then I will use a bezel pusher to gently move the metal over each side of the stone. It is the most satisfying feelingever to add the gemstone - it transforms a piece of silver and brings the piece to life.  But this is all a slow iterative process.

Alas, isn’t that what handmade is all about? Slow, thoughtful pieces that encourage you to pause and wait in the midst of this crazy, instant word.   

One final destination…

Before you receive your beautiful, one-of-a-kind ring, it has to pay a special visit to the Goldsmiths Company in London. This is for the hallmarking process. Once your piece lands at the assay office, it will be tested for metal fineness and then marked with my individual maker’s mark. 

The handmade nature of my products and the love and care I pour into every collection means that my pieces are truly loved by my clients; they make them feel special. Take a look at the reviews page on my website or scroll through my Instagram ‘Happy Customers’ saved stories.

And of course, if any of this interests you,please contact me and we'll get started.

 

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