Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Making Jewelry

I thought it might be good to start by examining what I do and how I do it.  A large part of what I do is work with clients to create custom jewelry. Engagement rings and wedding bands make a big portion of my business and the process is really fun. 

Step One: A nervous guy gets in touch because a friend of a friend recommends SL jewelry.
Step Two: We work together to try to determine the special lady's likes and dislikes. 
Step Three: We look for a stone.  This can be a challenge.  Most people who are unrelated to the jewelry industry are completely baffled when it comes to diamonds.  An engagement ring may be the first time they have ever purchased a stone.  MY JOB- A Crash Course in the Four C's.  Ultimately, by balancing the four we are able to find a beautiful stone that fits within the budget.  
Step Four:  I create a number of rough sketches based on our conversation and then create a photo rendering of the design using computer aided design or CAD.  
I included a rendered design from a recent project below.

Step Five: A prototyping machine will carve a wax from the computer file we designed.  When we get the wax back it looks like this.  I can check the ring size and the fit of the diamond to be sure it is correct.
Step Six:  The ring is cast through a process call lost wax casting.  A plaster mold is made of the ring. The mold is place in an 'oven' where the wax melts out leaving a cavity that is the exact shape and detail of the design.
Step Seven: The gold, silver, platinum or metal of choice is heated and poured into the mold.
Step Eight: When we remove the plaster we have a rough casting.  This casting still needs to be cleaned, polished and set.  The diamonds are set using a series of techniques and a final polish is put on the piece.
Step Nine: We have a final product, which is photographed and delivered to a happy client!

The Challenge of Following Your Passion

"Creating is a journey that starts with inspiration, continues with struggle, collaboration, breakthroughs, and learning, and comes full circle in success or failure. It is a journey that is worth documenting. It is a journey that others share and will be inspired from."-Tara Gentile

I am not a writer or a sharer by nature, thus the decision to start a blog was not one I took lightly.  I have spent the first 3 months of 2010 wondering what I could possibly say that would be interesting for others to read.  Then I came across this quote from Tara Gentile. She writes a blog called, Scoutie Girl, that promotes handmade crafters.  The quote was my 'AH-HA' moment...

The process of creating is one that challenges me on a daily bases.  The perpetual question-- "How do I balance running a business, being a new mom, staying inspired and all the rest of life's responsibilities?".  I know that my challenges are the same as many entrepreneurs and I cannot say that I have infinite wisdom on how to do any of it successfully.  I have certainly had my fair share of should-a, could-a, would-a's. My hope is that this blog will me help to track my progress--successes, failures, and everything in between.  I won't be arrogant enough to claim that my story is beneficial to anyone other than me, however, if you are reading this--My promise is to document my pursuit to follow my passion and my struggle to do it successfully with honesty and sincerity (and probably a large amount of comedy).

Happy Blogging
Samantha Louise