Nine Amulets

1831 Solano Avenue, PO BOX 7580, Berkeley California 94707-9991, United States

The Art of Making Jewelry

11 April, 2023


jewelry tools

Jewelry making is an art that brings me deep satisfaction. What the artist makes with their hand will inspire and be worn intimately by others. The completed art will have a personal and emotional relationship that may last a lifetime for some. To me, that is the greatest joy of making jewelry.

Jewelry making can be considered an art by some, but for most people, jewelry is regarded as simply part of the wardrobe. 
But it can be both. There are many types of jewelry. Fashion jewelry, classical, ethnic, body jewelry, and fine and expensive jewelry. There is something different for everyone's taste and needs, and pocket. Jewelry is about people and enjoyment.
Because people's appetite for jewelry is so great, it became, in many ways, a mass-produced and industrialized business. And that's OK; some are good, and some are terrible. 

But I like to focus on the type of jewelry I make because it is the jewelry I understand. I've been making and selling jewelry since the early 80s, and I developed a relationship with the craft and the community that likes my projects. 

I learned that making a piece with integrity and a high level of attention breeds life in a piece of jewelry. And some people know and understand this concept. These are my customers. They are not easy to find, but they are out there. But how do jewelers make their jewelry?

There are infinite ways to create and manufacture jewelry. And the art of making jewelry and its final product and look has a lot to do with its various techniques. Therefore, our methods for creating jewelry pieces will, in part, determine how they look. 

Beyond making art with a lot of spirit and flavor, there are two main processes in creating jewelry: handmade, casting, and construction.


Hand made

It includes many techniques and the use of various tools. Metals are hammered, filed, treated chemically, bent into different shapes, and soldered to one another. There is a lot you can do with this process. Jewelry made by hand does not have to be hippie-looking or rustic. Fine jewelry is made this way, and the level of craftsmanship will define how a piece looks and cost. 

There is amazing-looking jewelry entirely made by hand; they look so perfect most people would think it is machine-made or something like that, or they could not tell it was handmade. 

The other standard method is casting. An enormous amount of jewelry is made using casting and construction.


Casting and construction

Casting is a common technique used in jewelry making to create intricate and detailed pieces that are difficult to achieve through other methods. The process involves creating a mold of the desired design and then filling that mold with molten metal to make the final piece. Here is a general overview of the casting process in jewelry making:

  1. Create the wax model: The first step in casting is to create a wax model of the design. This can be done by carving the wax by hand or using a digital wax printer to create a 3D model. The wax model is used to create a mold of the design.
  2. Create the mold: The wax model is then used to create a mold. The mold can be made of various materials, including plaster, silicone, or metal. The mold is made in two parts, and the wax model is removed from the mold once it is complete.
  3. Prepare the metal: The metal is melted down and prepared for casting. This can be done using a crucible or furnace.
  4. Pour the metal: The molten metal is poured into the mold and held in a casting machine or centrifuge. The metal is allowed to cool and solidify.
  5. Remove the casting: Once the metal has cooled, the mold is opened, and the casting is removed. The casting may need to be cleaned up, polished, or finished before it can be used in jewelry.

Casting can create jewelry designs, including rings, pendants, and earrings. It is a versatile technique that I mostly use to create highly detailed and complex pieces that would be difficult or impossible to achieve through other methods. Every process produces a specific effect.

Unique silver rings

We shouldn't be distracted by techniques. Instead, what matters is the final product, which makes you feel something. So the method should not be the most important because the artist's intention and how close he gets to that vision is what is essential.

We can also reach exciting results by accident brought by some technique. But if we wait for accidents to create art, we are working with something other than our inspiration but with a chance. In the end, the method seldom matters. For example, we can create jewelry using computer models, wax models sculpted by hand, or a hammer. What matters most is our vision as an artist in the end.

This vision always reverts back to people. When I make a piece of jewelry, I think of someone. Someone will wear it, and how will they see it? How will that ring or necklace contribute to that person well being?

That is the most exciting element of making jewelry. The techniques I use are secondary to this primary feeling of creating a piece of beauty that will be worn by someone, giving meaning to working with jewelry. The process for the sake of design is frivolous. The important is the final product.




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