Although we have previously written about the concept of Steampunk fine jewelry, it seems that the idea of handmade jewelry still generates some doubts. This blog post pursues the objective of clarifying what we mean when we talk about handmade fine jewelry.
Instead of giving a speech regarding the theoretical differences between jewelry making techniques, we think that the best way to clarify this is publishing a couple of blog practical posts including:
- A brief theoretical explanation (part 1).
- An example (Part 2).
This said, let’s go ahead with the first part: the theoretical base.
1.- Jewelry-making techniques
Firstly, and although this may seem obvious, there are many different jewelry-making techniques: beading, chain maille, electroforming/electroplating, enameling, etching, metalsmithing, metal stamping and wirework, just to name a few.
Secondly, many of these techniques have subcategories. Metalsmithing, for example, includes annealing, dapping and doming, fusing, fold forming, hammering, pickling, soldering, texturing and others.
We recorded this video in December 2011 with the purpose of showing you some of the traditional silversmithing techniques that we use in order to manufacture Decimononic’s jewelry pieces:
2.- Handmade jewelry
After the previous introduction to the world of jewelry-making techniques we would like to deal with the issue of handmade jewelry.
In a strict sense, only the jewelry pieces assembled and formed solely by hand power or hand guidance (as opposite to the use of machines) should be stamped or called ‘handmade’. This means that jewelry pieces manufactured using lost-wax casting, computer numerical control (CNC) machines or 3D printing machines should not be categorized as ‘handmade’. There is no need to add that jewelry composed exclusively of prefabricated findings should neither be included in this category.
In a broad sense, the use of traditional techniques that avoid authomatized guidance could be considered. For example the use of lost-wax casting, which dates back nearly 5,000 years (the oldest archaeological and literary evidence of lost-wax casting can be found in India, belonging to the Harappan period).
Genuine handmade jewelry, as result of an artisan activity, requires technical qualification and is labour-intensive; therefore each handmade jewelry piece is unique and tends to have a higher price than jewels manufactured through the use of specific machinery.
By way of example, the second part of this blog post will show the manufacturing proccess of one of our handmade jewels from start to finish. Stay tunned!