There are several methods used in the design of jewellery. It was not long ago where everything was produced on a workbench, hand crafted, step by step. It was unusual for one craftsman to be an expert through every step of manufacturing. Workshops typically included a team of skilled craftsmen who were specialists in their areas. Repair jewellers specialized in correcting, adding to and adjusting precious jewellery from the most simple, to the most intricate pieces. A slight error such as putting more heat on an item than planned, an unsteady hand, a momentary loss of concentration - all can be disastrous and even result in personal injury. Quick, detailed and fastidious repair jewellers were and still are worth their weight in gold.
Making an item from scratch is a truly creative art form. It is a little like singing a song. Anyone can sing but singing well has to do with quite a number of factors including:
- being well trained, experienced and highly skilled
- delivering with a personal, appealing style - not just a good copy
- reflecting genuine emotion through the art form
The great jewellery masters have a passion and love for their craft. That 'Something Special' sparkles through every piece. We hear our Master Jeweller checking his work as he holds it up to the light, asking himself "Is it coming along well enough to give to mum?". He puts his head down again and continues to perfect the piece, coaching himself through hours of minute adjustments, until his standard is met.
Once his part is done it is handed over to our setter - a specialist in setting gemstones into jewellery. This area of expertise is often broken out into multiple specialists for different types of setting. Setting diamonds into a channel is quite different than setting them with little beads that hold them in place. Great skill comes with singular focus, many years of practice and relentless attention to achieving perfection.
Our engraving specialist may play a part as well. He engraves all day - every day. That is all he does. Our gemstone cutter also focusses on one area. Every gemstone is different. How to capture and bring to life the beauty and potential of a gemstone requires a good deal of experience and skill. These specialists are the people who are the best at what they do.
Back to the Master Jeweller goes the work in progress to check it, make minor adjustments and assess the overall piece. The Repair Jeweller then begins the finishing work with cleaning, polishing and detailing. The Master Jeweller does the final 'good enough for mum' check. Then the item is given another rinse, is steamed and passed to the next stage in the process of quality control.
In contrast, many retail Jewellery businesses today provide CAD services to design custom Jewellery or can order an item to be custom made using this technology. Computer aided design programs make minute detail and accuracy possible. It remains though that the creative talent and technical skill of the designer determines the quality and overall result, whatever form of manufacturing is undertaken. Lovely looking designs that can be seen on Pinterest and Instagram may not always be practical to manufacture. Structure, strength and stability are essential features of Jewellery with longevity. These are factors that skilled jewellers understand, making them effective guides in the design process.
A changing world has the traditional work bench combining technology, design and manufacturing expertise and hand crafting services to produce beautifully made lifetime treasures. A gift of jewellery is something very special that will have meaning and hold value for a lifetime and more. It is worth keeping the highest standard benchmark in mind when you are making your choice - is it good enough for mum and would I be proud to give it to her.