There are no shortcuts in life and we have all learned if you do try, you are left with more of a hassle than if you just did it right the first time. I was taught during my internship as a jeweler that the first step is just as important as the last. Many people are unappreciative of the beginning stages when working with jewelry, but it plays a major role in the final look of the jewelry. What I am talking about is polishing.
When a custom jewelry piece is cast, it is not pretty. The metal is dull, dingy and rough. Let’s be honest, it looks like our 6th grade picture where your older sister decided to give you bangs the night before (because you would look so good with them), your skin is all blotchy due to not having YouTube to learn how to cover up a zit, and you have an awkward smile because well... you were just an awkward child at that age. You’d say that you were a little rough around the edges.
Each jewelry piece is also rough around the edges at first. It takes time to look good! We first start by using a metal file to remove the gold nub from where it was casted. Each jewelry piece has a stick or a spru attached to the bottom of the ring for casting purposes.
Next we use several grits of sandpaper to remove the rough edges. Our sandpaper is wrapped around a wooden stick to give a flat surface to work with. The stiff sandpaper prevents a wavy or uneven finish to the gold surface. You don’t want to file off more on one side versus the other.
Each piece is cast from a wax mold which has lines created from the 3D printer. All of these lines must be removed. You start with a smaller number of sandpaper (coarse) and work your way up the larger numbers to provide a smoother finish. There is a film-like coating over the whole jewelry piece from casting, so you want to make sure every part is sanded. If you miss an area, you will notice a haziness to the ring when it is completed.
A big difference that makes our handcrafted jewelry stand out compared to mass-produced jewelry is that we hand polish every prong prior to setting diamonds or gemstones. Gold is very reflective and will act like a mirror for your diamonds which allows them to sparkle more. Surprisingly many mass-produced jewelry are cast with the diamonds already set in place, so the gold is never polished under or around the stones.
Those hard to reach places. You know what I am talking about when you are cleaning your house. Who really moves the couch every single time to clean? Well with jewelry we don’t skip those hard to reach places. We have special rubber wheels, rubber points and shoe laces to get in every little corner and detail. Yes shoe laces! A little trick I learned from my internship.
Last we use a polishing wheel and rouge to give the whole ring a good polishing.
Whoa! All of that and we haven’t even started sizing the ring, soldering parts together or setting the diamonds! We pride ourselves on taking the time needed for each jewelry piece we handcraft. Its the little steps that our clients notice when we reveal their final masterpiece. Anything worthwhile cannot be rushed. It takes time, patience and the ability to see past the rough edges.
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