Behind the Scenes Snippet: On the Bench
Hello and welcome to a little look behind the scenes at Willow and Stag studio. Below you will find a few favourite pieces of equipment that we use to make your lovely jewellery, alongside a few techniques used to make you amazing items. Have a brief look inside our workspace and some of our minimalist designs.
Some Favourite Tools for making Handmade Jewellery
Here are a few tools you can find on the workbench. I run a traditional crafting studio where we cut, shape and smooth metal using hand tools, including setting the stones.
- Photo 1: My basic stone setting and burnishing tools alongside an eternity ring band and champagne and white stones ready for setting.
- Photo 2: My second favourite hammer- a goldsmiths hammer by manufacturer ‘Fretz’. My other hammer ‘old faithful’ is a more basic battered looking version which you might see in future posts. Old faithful has been with me almost since the start. I upgraded to a Fretz just a few years ago when things started to take off with the jewellery making. Tapping with a hammer is a good way to work harden metal like the gold wires shown, when making earring hooks.
- Photo 3: Here’s my hammer with a special type of mandrel that helps shape bends in metal. It works well for spinner rings like the one you can see in the photo.
Bending and shaping silver and gold into beautiful and elegant shapes is what we do. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the tools we use to make this happen. With a growing trend towards computer designed jewellery and 3D printing that allow producing a lot of jewellery quickly from one design, it’s becoming rarer to find traditional makers. I’m not averse to progress or technology, but if you are looking to buy fine jewellery then there’s definitely something magical about spending money on a piece that’s been made by hand, using traditional artisan skills and methods passed down for centuries.
Fabricating a Custom Baltic Amber Dress Ring
Life through as jeweller’s lense. Here’s a few images of the fabrication of a Baltic amber ring. This one was a custom order for an anniversary. The precious metal is flattened, cut, shaped, soldered, cleaned, filed and polished. Has a bezel (or other attachment) fitted/ soldered. Then cleaned and filed again and polished. One of the final steps is adding the gemstone (Baltic amber in this order) and fitting it into place with the help of some of the tools shown above. Then a final file and polish, check the ring size and band shape on a ring mandrel and finally it’s ready to go to its new home.
Baltic amber is quite a soft gemstone for a ring and I would not usually recommend it for this kind of design that could potentially take a few knocks to the round amber gemstone which is an organic delicate gem. But as this particular one was designed to be an occasional dress ring, with a little care it should have many years wear in it.