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.
And here is the end result once it has been cast in silver, cleaned up and given a final lick of rouge. Pretty tough hey!
I 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.
With 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).
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.
The 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!
At 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.
Back holing my day away meant squinty eyes and sore fingers but boy it looks the goods in the end.
Things are pieces but that merely means there’s some awesomeness about to take place. It’s coming……..
This equals……. (this little sucker was made 3 times before I got it right)
And this is what a finished World Skill Pendant looks like
I 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.