Month: October 2013

What I’ve been learning

I realise that all year I have been learning a HUGE amount of skills in my second year of Jewellery Manufacture at The Design Centre Enmore. Looking back on the snaps I’ve been taking I find it hard to believe I have made the pieces I now hold in my hands, it’s just crazy!

If you are ever thinking of studying a jewellery course this might give you a quick insight into what goes on at the bench, why my hands are sometimes sore and why I am so god damn happy lately.

This was our first project- wax carving. I’m a hexagon bandit so no surprises what mine was.

IMG_0812And here is the end result once it has been cast in silver, cleaned up and given a final lick of rouge. Pretty tough hey!

IMG_0906I loved it so much it has become the feature ring in my next production range.

The projects that followed were focused on making settings specific to a stone and creating the ring for them to shine in. Let’s be real for a moment……. I don’t like these designs one bit. They’re very traditional and out-dated (in my opinion). But that wasn’t the point. There were skills I needed to learn and these babies were the path to learning them so with that in mind I was head down, hammers up at my bench.

IMG_0866IMG_0898

IMG_0899With the settings and the bands perfect (almost haha) time to put some bling in them! We learn stone setting techniques for a few weeks to show us how hard our stone setters work, I love mine, and how to prepare the settings. I worked on a 4 claw and a 6 claw and fell in love with my bench mate (the worlds best tool for stone setting).

IMG_1451And Tada…..

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We are also learning some bezel setting, flush setting and even star setting (fancy pants). To be able to do these we needed some tools and as jewellers do, we made our own.

IMG_1446The mother of all pendants, THE WORLD SKILL PENDANT was thrown our way at the beginning of the year. We looked at the pictures, looked at each other, turned to our teacher and asked “Are you kidding me? How the hell are we meant to make this?”

Lucky Steve is the most patient teacher you will find and in his usual mellow tone replied ” Of course you can make it and to the exact measurements too. You’ll be fine.”

Will we Steve? Will we?…………………………..

All of the silver has been melted down from scraps and rolled out to sheet or drawn down to wire. All the chenier has been made by hand and each component has either been saw-pierced, formed, bent, drilled, filed and soldered. There’s around 60-80 solder joins in this piece. Too many I lost count. Blows my mind!

IMG_1166At this stage I was doing okay. Only one major stuff up, but like magic ( tantrum, thrown silver across the room and a minute or two hyperventilating) I was back on track.

IMG_1242Back holing my day away meant squinty eyes and sore fingers but boy it looks the goods in the end.

IMG_1259Things are pieces but that merely means there’s some awesomeness about to take place. It’s coming……..

IMG_1349This plus……

IMG_1293This equals……. (this little sucker was made 3 times before I got it right)

IMG_1358This!

And this is what a finished World Skill Pendant looks like

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IMG_1389I achieved 90/100 for it which I am stoked about, especially since I thought it was a trick being played on us when asked to make it.

Now I’m busy with bezel setting and will keep you posted on how it all goes.

To all my fellow jewellers out there, happy day at the bench, I hope all your fingers are still intact today and for all my non-jewellers, take a look at that ring on your finger and know someone put a whole lot of time, effort and skill into making that thing a reality.

🙂

 

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Something special

I recently finished a ring that is so awesome I have to share it. I don’t mean awesome as in “Oh look at me, I’m such a good jeweller.” I mean awesome as in the clients are awesome (also good friends), the concept of the ring is beyond awesome, the finished product is awesome and we are all feeling totally awesome about it now it’s on the finger of the owner.

So here it is, the ring of awesome.

meng ring 1 72 dpi meng ring 3 72 dpi

This beauty is a mens engagement ring made from palladium, with an 18ct white gold setting on the inside of the band with a cool little party sapphire in it.

Now here’s the most awesome part of this ring, the concept……………

The first part of the concept resulted in the stone being set on the inside of the band. You see, one half of this loved-up couple is a keen surfer and at the start of the courtship it was made very clear that the ocean was indeed his lover and his lady was his mistress. As time ticked on and the relationship continued to blossom into love those priorities shifted and the beloved ocean then became number 2. The new lover wanted her wave hungry fellah to always be reminded of her when he was spending time with his mistress. By having the stone on the inside of the band it leaves an imprint on the finger when taken off. This way he can never forget who his heart truly belongs to. Isn’t this just the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard? Well it gets better……..

meng ring 2 72 dpi

When we started talking about ideas for this ring there was a beautiful story of a ring in the family that contained a sapphire with a flaw. Typically flaws in stones bring down the value and are seen as ‘ugly’ but not to one little girl, who’s memory of this ring and it’s stone is total beauty. A love of something even though it was imperfect. A love of something for just being the way it is. This was also how she described her relationship. A complete acceptance of one another, a total understanding that this is who I am and I love you for who you are, flaws and all.

So off we went on a little adventure to find a small sapphire with a noticeable inclusion, could we find one? No, but what we found was way better! A party sapphire!

preview_emrPty01

Party Sapphires have a combination of colours in them, typically blues, greens and yellows. Some would see this as undesirable because it isn’t perfect, but what we saw was a way to explain the love this relationship was formed on. We picked a beauty, mostly yellow as that is his favourite colour, with a dash of blue and green through the middle.

meng ring 4 72 dpi

On the outside of the band there is a little hole for the light to sneak in and a hint that there’s a whole lot more going on inside the band than there is on the outside. A little secret between 2 lovers. A personal tale, told through jewellery they can pass onto their kiddies and grand kiddies.

An awesome ring for 2 friends that have shown me all kinds of awesome as both individuals and now as sweethearts.

I hope this encourages more people to really think about what their loved ones mean to them. Choose a ring that says this. Choose a ring that’s handmade. Choose to support Australian design and craftsmanship.