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What does a jeweler want to make more than anything?? (In my case, at least :) ) The answer would be: a 22k gold handwoven chain.
I’ve made chains in fine silver before and I love the process: the flexibility of the metal, the involvement in every step of the way, from making the rings to the weaving. And the end result is a truly timeless piece.
I had only dreamed of maybe one day making one in gold. But I didn’t have to dream for too long, and it was wonderful, just as I thought!
As enjoyable as it was to make, this bracelet was also STRESSFUL! The price of the gold alone adds a tension factor since making a mistake in your initial estimate (as I did, of course) might cost you hundreds of dollars in extra material, changing the estimate altogether. This is not even a factor with silver. That’s the difference between $50 versus 90 cents a gram, yikes!
Here’s a few photos from the process. [Not pictured: me sweating profusely and freaking out that I wouldn’t finish on time.]
Finallyyyyyy after much brainstorming and scheming, I got an invite to Pinterest, when I was least expecting it (I may have asked random people on twitter, have to admit, and sent a few emails with no response). My friend Seniorita Polyester was the giver of said invitation (¡¡graciassssss!!), and I will be grateful til my computer dies of so much pinning ( and eventually get another one and keep doing it).
If you do not know what Pinterest is, you’re in for a treat. It’s a way of bookmarking your favorite images around the web, and organizing them into ‘Boards’, aka themes, so they’re easily accessible and, best of all, shared. So, you’re able to ‘follow’ other people’s pins, your friends, bloggers, whoever. The result is a very interesting bank of images and inspiration ( I no longer do google image searches, I just search on Pinterest for a more ‘curated’ and less garbage-filled list of results).
I just started pinning last night, and have so far pinned mostly jewelry from my endless bookmark folder. Hopefully I’ll get the bulk of those out of the way soon and be able to pin away in other corners of the world wide web.
So go explore, and you can take a look at my boards and pins here.
Jewelry is an item that most people have, whether for adornment or cultural reasons. So does it really take a trained jewelry designer to think of a great piece? I think that sometimes knowing too much about the trade might hinder your creative impulses, and in those cases ‘naive’ jewelry designers can come up with ideas a seasoned jeweler would never think of. In the same way, a trained jeweler can quickly solve technical riddles that only countless hours in the workshop could tackle.
This is an interesting conversation since we jewelers all have a little bit of both in us: we all learn from different people, schools, methods, and under different circumstances. However, we might have already categorized ourselves in one of these categories. Do you think it really matters?
I might have steered away from my original point here, so here it goes:
Non jewelry designers: what would you design? If you had all the skills (or an excellent jeweler at your service), what would be your first creation?
*Image is mine. Preliminary sketch from my jewelry design class at GIA NY.