I get so excited about starting a new year. It's an opportunity to do things differently, try new techniques, fine tune those things that worked well in the past while looking closely at those things that didn't. I kind of love this close examination and this time to take stock.
January and February sped by while we fine tuned the website, KonMaried the studio and upgraded and cleaned the tools. Oh the joy of new files!!! These little changes can make all the difference in the quality of a studio day and the creative process!
During this regrouping time, we received a huge Getty reorder. If you would like to know more about this ongoing custom collection, you can read about it on the Getty Iris Blog.
Also some great custom gold orders came in that helped push some new ideas along. The Universe said make more gold jewelry, so more gold jewelry was made!
Custom gold work is a little different then making custom silver work. It's made using the lost wax casting method. Instead of working directly in the metal as I do for most of my one of a kind silver work, with lost wax casting, you work in wax. Wax carving is something I learned first in school at CSULB, and refined while working my first jewelry job at a small gold smith shop called McCloud Ring Works in San Pedro, California.
With lost wax casting, the model is carved out of wax using specialized tools. Once the piece is carved and cleaned it is taken to a professional castor in The Jewelry District of Downtown Los Angeles.
First the wax model is covered in plaster and then the wax is burnt out. Finally, the empty cavern in the plaster is filled with molten gold. What is left is a gold version of the wax! This technique is ancient and has been performed since the third century BC.
When I worked at McCloud Ring Works, I participated in every part of the in house casting process. Nights when we used the centrifugal caster were exciting but also stressful. The slightest change in temperature or unclean molten metal could cause many problems including a destroyed wax that may have taken hours to carve. Additionally, when using a centrifugal caster, molten gold is basically getting shot into a plaster tube at top speed and there is little room for error. These days I take my wax to a professional caster- he does it day in and day out and I really appreciate his expertise. I do the carving, he does the casting, its a collaboration that works well for me!
When a final gold sample comes out unbelievable and I think its a piece that fits in my collection, then I'll make a mold of the original and that piece can be reproduced many times. This is what I decided with the Signet Ring. After making the original I decided I needed one for myself. I figured that if I wanted one, others would too! Its now available and fully customizable on the website.
Some pieces like the Orion stacking ring really feel more special as one of a kind. For these rings, I hand carve each ring based on the stone I'm planning to set in that ring. Each ring is left with heavy texture while the inside of the band is polished to create a contrasting shine to the matte finish of the surface. I loved playing with gold color for this group and pairing them up with like colored stones. These feel cool and modern while still keeping to that wabi sabi style of perfectly imperfect. The result is Raw textured gold that compliments the silver collections, while offering a little something different in material and scale.
I would love to hear what you think of the new gold work, please feel free to message me your thoughts or comment below!