Shells, animals’ teeth and various other natural materials were used to decorate the body in prehistoric times. Jewellery gradually started to become a symbol of rank in countries such as Egypt and China about 5000 years ago. This tended to vary depending on social status because of the expense of the jewellery and often because of implied spiritual and religious importance.
The materials used developed from the plentiful natural objects to the rare raw materials that were expensive to mine and required skill to turn them into jewellery. The quality, individuality and rarity of handmade jewellery is what forever represents the special occasions in our lives. The individual character and feel of a handcrafted jewel created by human hand can never be achieved with a mass-produced object.
With the advances in craftsmanship, jewellery has become far more sophisticated, elaborate and ornate, and handmade jewellery is now more desirable than ever.
THE PROCESS OF HAND MAKING JEWELLERY
Every unique piece begins with the design stage – the first steps in bringing the vision to life. We begin with hand drawn sketches of the jewellery piece. Once these are near to what you are looking for we then create the final image in 3D using CAD software (Computer Aided Design). It is a huge asset to be able to see the final item, and make any final tweaks, before it is crafted.
With designs approved, the precious metal is then shaped into the required form. The metal is formed into the rough shape needed by the use of hammers, anvils, forms, blocks, dies, dowels and presses. Files of various grit, size and shape are used to continue shaping the metal. Fine holes are then drilled in the metal – piercing – so that a fine jeweller’s saw can be threaded through the holes to trim away areas, leaving behind the desired shape. All the materials are them assembled and soldered, or welded, together by torch.
There will be a craftsman in the workshop who is dedicated to the setting of the stones. The primary stones will have already been selected by our resident gemmologists; even the smallest diamonds are carefully selected to ensure their relationship to one another gives the maximum visual appeal. In order to reduce the risk of damaging the centre stone, the secondary stones are always set first.
Once the final stone is in place, the metal is polished with the appropriate buffing wheel. A different set of materials are required to polish 18 carat gold than those needed for platinum. To achieve the required lustre, the polisher will carry out three main steps. First comes deburring to remove all of the sharp edges, air bubbles and burrs. Next is polishing using an abrasive to improve the surface finish. Finally, buffing creates a smooth, bright and high lustre final finish. The most common tools are made of cotton, although some are made of felt or chamois. Threads of silk or cotton are used as polishing threads in a similar way to dental floss. We pride ourselves on creating pieces of jewellery that not only look beautiful but also achieve an immaculate finish.
The jewellery is soaked in a high-frequency cleaning tank known as an ultrasonic after it has been polished. This removes residue and polishing greases. The jewellery is then cleaned by steaming with a high-pressure nozzle and then left to cool. The piece is rigorously quality checked before being sent for hallmarking. Polishing must be flawless, claws must be smooth and correctly aligned, there should be no soldering marks, and stones should be perfectly set in symmetry and height. Our craftsmen work closely with our quality control teams in each department to ensure our standards exceed our customers’ expectations.