In prehistoric times, shells, animals' teeth and other natural materials were used to adorn the body. About 5000 years ago, in countries such as Egypt and China, jewellery gradually became a sign of rank. This varied according to social status due to the expense of the jewellery and, at times, implied religious and spiritual importance.
The materials used to make jewellery developed from natural objects found in abundance to rare raw materials which were expensive to mine and required a high level of skill to be turned into handmade jewellery. Handmade jewellery has the quality, individuality and rarity which most appropriately and permanently marks the special occasions in our lives.
Advances in craftsmanship have meant that jewellery can be more ornate, elaborate and sophisticated and handmade jewellery has never been more desirable. A handcrafted jewel that has been carefully created by human hand has the individual character and feel that a mass-produced object can never achieve.
THE PROCESS OF HAND MAKING JEWELLERY
Creating our unique pieces begins with the design process; the small, all-important steps that go into bringing a vision to life. We start out with hand drawn sketches of the item of jewellery and when these are close to what you are looking for we use CAD software (Computer Aided Design) to perfect the final image in 3 dimensions. The ability for the designer to see the final item, and on occasion make tweaks, before it is crafted, is a great asset to the world of design.
Once the designs are approved, the precious metal must now be shaped into the required form. Through the use of hammers, anvils, blocks, forms, dies, dowels, and presses, the crude metal can be forced into the rough shape needed for forming the jewellery. The jeweller will continue shaping the metal through the use of files of various grit, size, and shape. After shaping comes piercing. After drilling fine holes into the material, a fine jeweller's saw can be threaded through the holes in order to trim away areas and leave behind the desired shape. After all of the materials are formed and shaped, they must then be assembled and soldered, or welded, together by torch.
Within the workshop there will be a craftsman dedicated to the setting of the stones. Our resident gemmologists will have selected the primary stone in advance but even the smallest diamonds in our jewellery are selected carefully to ensure that the relationship to one another gives the maximum visual appeal. Secondary stones will be set first of all; this is done to reduce the risk of damaging the centre stone while completing the article.
With the final stone set in place the metal is polished with the correct buffing wheel. To polish 18 carat gold takes a different set of materials than those needed to polish platinum. There are three main steps the polisher will use to achieve the required lustre; deburring is the removal of all sharp edges, air bubbles and burrs on a piece and polishing is the use of abrasives to get general surface finish improvement. Finally buffing creates a smooth, bright and high lustre final finish. The most common tools used are often made of cotton but are sometimes seen in felt and also chamois. The tightest recesses require polishing threads. These threads are strands of cotton or silk which are used in a similar way to dental floss to get into nooks and crannies to create a high polish. We pride ourselves on creating pieces of jewellery that not only look beautiful but achieve an immaculate finish.
Once polishing is completed the jewellery is soaked in a high-frequency cleaning tank called an ultrasonic to remove residue and polishing greases. Finally, the jewellery is cleaned by steaming with a high-pressure nozzle and left to cool.
Quality control is undertaken throughout the process but most rigorously once the piece is completed and due to be sent for hallmarking. Polishing must be flawless, claws must be smooth and correctly aligned, there should be no soldering marks, and stones should be perfectly set in symmetry and height. The craftsmen work closely with our quality control teams in each department, ensuring that standards exceed our customers' expectations.