Whether we start with images to spark design ideas, or begin with a blank slate to imagine your perfect design, lifestyle is a consideration we’ll discuss. Your custom design should be both the perfect stylistic match and the perfect fit for your lifestyle.
Let’s talk. During your design consultation we’ll sketch and chat to find the design direction. When you’re satisfied with the design direction, we’ll give you a quote. Your deposit let’s us begin the working and assures your place in the queue.
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Using the sketch as a guideline, we’ll create a wax or resin prototype of your design. Our artisans will either hand carve your prototype or they will create a 3D drawing using CAD software which will be transferred to a CNC milling machine or grown using the latest rapid prototyping technology. Our artisans may opt for a combination of hand carving and CAD/CAM to create your design prototype.
Prior to beginning the manufacturing process, you’ll be offered a viewing of your jewelry prototype. Try on your custom prototype and if any changes are required, we’ll rework the design. Once you are satisfied with the prototype, manufacturing will begin.
Your jewelry item is then cast, using a method similar to lost wax methods which date back 6000 years. A sprue or ’wax pipe’ is added to the prototype, forming a tree-like structure. The prototype, with sprue, is then attached to a rubber base and the entire structure is surrounded with a metal cylinder; the process is similar to suspending your prototype inside a can, connected by a pathway to the top. Extra sprues may be added to allow metal into all those intricate design details. Special investment plaster is then poured into the cylinder. The plaster fills in around all the details of your design. The investment plaster is left to harden.
Once the investment is hardened, the rubber base is removed and the cylinder is put into a kiln, upside down., so the wax can be melted out. This is known as the burn-out process and creates a mold of your unique piece of jewelry.
Casting is completed while the mold is still very hot. Precious metal casting grain is melted in a ceramic crucible until it is in a liquid state. With precision timing, the mold is taken from the kiln and the molten metal is poured in, filling the areas where the wax once was, but has now been melted out, following sprue channels to reach all those special details.
The investment mold is then immersed in water and removed from your cast piece of jewelry, which is ready for cleanup.
Your newly cast jewelry item is now ready to be cleaned and polished using a variety of mediums, tumblers, files and eventually the finest sandpapers and polishing wheels. Your item is polished to your desired finish. Some items are intentionally buffed with course materials leaving a matte or sandblasted look. Other items are buffed using polishing compounds to a high polish finish.
Your design may require hand-crafted metal fabrication. In this process, jewelry elements are created by casting or construction and then soldered or lasered to join the pieces together. Metal fabrication is required if the item is created using more then one metal such as a two-toned item. Filigree is done using metal fabrication. Small metal wires are bent and formed into design elements that are then soldered into open spaces of either a cast of hand-wrought piece.
Some designs require complete hand-fabrication as opposed to being invested and cast.
Once these processes are completed and your jewelry has the luster you desire, the gemstone setting process will occur. Our jeweler will begin by setting the smaller accent gems, followed by any side gems and finally the larger center gemstones are set. Additional polishing will occur after setting the gemstones.
Your inspired design has been sketched, carved from wax, invested, cast, and cleaned. Gemstones have been set and the final polish has been completed. Your unique piece is ready for delivery to you. We take special precautions to keep communication private. Just let us know in advance the best way to contact you.