2021 has us feeling inspired so we're hard at work creating new styles. Want a peek behind the scenes of how we create our designs? While you always have access to viewing our finished pieces, what can’t be seen is all the passion and hard work that goes into creating them.
The creative process is like a drug. When an idea strikes, it sits in our brains and we become more obsessed with it until we have the clarity to make it come to life. Sounds easy, right? Yeah, not so fast. Sometimes the full expression of an idea is elusive.
We start with very basic hand sketches and then to get all the proportions exacting we begin drawing it again AND again in CAD, making small (but sometimes massive) tweaks until we feel the design is perfect. Sometimes those tweaks are so minor that if you didn’t see it happen, you wouldn’t know - but great design will bring out anyones OCD. CAD (Computer Aided Design) is currently taught in art school, but we missed out on that technology while we were students - which actually has an upside. Our old school education taught us the art of creating jewelry at the bench.
After the CAD drawing is complete, the printing process begins. The 3D printer works by slowly building up micro droplets of wax, allowing for the tiniest of details. Printing takes several hours - sometimes several days - based on the intricacy of the design and quantity of pieces being done at the same time.
A second type of wax surrounds the design as it prints as support. When the print has completed, that support wax must be melted away - adding another couple of hours of anticipation - before we can see the result. We then quality control the wax, checking it with a loupe to be sure the print is perfect. We also carefully check the stones in the settings to be sure the fit is exact. We are then ready to cast the wax to metal.
Casting is the only step of the process that we don’t do in-house. We send the waxes out to our caster, where they are added to a "tree" of multiple waxes and placed in a canister in which plaster is poured. The plaster dies to form an accurate impression of the waxes which are then melted away. Hence the name “lost wax casting”.
The precious metal of choice in the form of small pellets called "casting grain", is heated and flows into the plaster mold. In the casting process, flaws are possible; if the wax breaks from the pressure of the plaster or the metal is poured at the wrong temperature, we need to begin again and print another wax. It's always heartbreaking. Thankfully, most of the time the castings are perfect.
When we get the castings back to the studio, they are tumbled to clean off any plaster residue. Then the handwork to brings out our brand signature begins - we add texture, our signature distressed look, giving each piece its own unique character. Carefully selected high quality black diamonds, colorless diamonds, rubies, or other special gems are set. Then we give the piece it’s final polish.
The process may take a week - or 12 - depending on the difficulty of the design and sourcing the perfect diamonds and/or gemstones. But once the piece is finished, we finally get to see our hard work and vision realized - as a powerful yet small form.