Jewelry making covers art, commerce, and science. In Critical Notes, experts address these facets and give advice to both beginners and professionals.
Quality matters to Michael Bondanza; he has been known to rebuild entire finished pieces — some containing hundreds of precisely inlaid stones and articulated component parts — to ensure that the gems aligned exactly, the hinges opened smoothly, and every detail met his exacting standards. Such dedication to craftsmanship has earned him world renown over his 30 – year career, as well as a clientele that includes The Johnson Familys Diamond Cellar, Lux Bond ‘ Green, and Tivol, to name just a few. Yet not every detail requires great investments of time or money to produce. In this arti cle, Bondanza describes three small improvements that can be made at very little cost, but which can transform the quality of a piece from average to exquisite.
Although the basic anodizing principles involved in the reactive metals have been discussed in the past, a deeper insight into the process can aid the artist in solving some of the technical problems encountered. The publication of my thesis, “Studio…
The Art versus Craft issue is a complex question and one that has bedeviled creators a great deal in the last fifty years or so. I once heard a gallery owner say that the difference between an art object and a craft object is $3000. The American Craft Council’s director Carmine Branagan says that the discussion is unimportant, that the craft/art debate is one of craftspeople talking to themselves, about issues that do not matter at all to the general public – they do not care about this particular debate. She holds that if we are educating the culture as makers then the real issue is getting the work and what it means out and before the public, especially through galleries, museums and publications, the validators in society.
Design is a perennial issue for all who produce objects meant for a specific use, utilitarian, in contrast to objects which have an exclusively expressive function. In America the postwar period dating from the 40’s was characterized by a concern for functional…
There are a number of basic principles in storing chemicals. Know what your chemicals are, what their hazards are, their.
Have a fire plan; ask your fire department for advice. Keep the appropriate extinguishers around and in good shape. Get ABC all-purpose extinguishers. Get the manufacturers manual and read all the instructions carefully at least three times. Review your fire safety now and then. Make sure you know how to use an extinguisher properly, sweeping back and forth at the base of the fire from 6-10 feet away. Realize that your extinguisher will only work for 15-20 seconds, so have more than one around. Mount them near exits. Dry chemical extinguishers of the stored pressure kind need to be.
If you know what the chemicals are that you use and what their dangers are you will be less likely to hurt yourself with them. In your “Right to Know” binder your should have a list of the chemicals in your workshop (a chemical inventory), MSDS sheets and chemical profile sheets which tell you important information about the chemical. A chemical profile sheet is theoretically easier to read than a standard MSDS sheet. There are several places on the internet where chemical profiles are available.
For someone new to the jewelry industry, the sheer assortment of tools and equipment in the typical workshop can be overwhelming. That’s especially true when it comes to technology, which changes so rapidly. If you’ve invested in your own computer-aided…
This form may be used if you have an idea for a product and wish to approach a manufacturer. It is a very good protection against a company stealing your idea.
I met a sled designer at a party in Montreal once, we discussed this subject, he had paid thousands in legal fees to have this form designed. He sent me a copy and gave me persmission to share the form.
As many jewelry manufacturers and goldsmiths know from hard experience, cracking in jewelry can occur at any time during its manufacture. It can also occur much later, after the jewelry has been sold to the consumer or during repair. Cracking can also occur in the processing of the starting materials (the casting grain and mill products from which the jewelry is to be made), and may not be detected until several stages later in the manufacturing process.This article discusses these causes as they relate to cracking and the steps that can be taken to minimize their occurrence. The particular focus is on karat golds, but much is also applicable to silver and platinum jewelry.
This is a method to reduce technical problems which one repeatedly experienes. We all find during the learning process that there are times when the same problem presents itself over and over again. Sometimes when beginning one overworks pieces to death in attempts to effect repairs, getting ever deeper into a mess by trying to fix the mistakes, rather…
This is an academic paper, not a technical ‘how to’ guide. Many of the procedures described are unsafe in practice.
This article is a set of predictions for what the jewelers bench and workshop will experience in technological change in the future.
Goldsmiths and silversmiths use hammers frequently in their work, silversmiths especially. A regular trade goldsmith might use a bench hammer with a ring on a mandrel twenty or more times a day. Blacksmithing operations use coal fires, gas torches and kilns..
This diagram shows how jewelers approach working in the field in terms of how they relate to the material. The approaches chosen will ‘filter’ the results available, that is that what kind of work you do is partly a reflection of the way you approach working with the material. Traditionally much jewelry has been ‘cut and bend’. This diagram allows you to examine how you approach working with metal and then perhaps gives you clues about where you might want to experiment so as to push yourself.
Always try to understand, that you are your own best enemy. Be nice to yourself when tackling the unknown. Realize that you are going to fail a lot before you are going to succeed. ALLOW TIME FOR THIS FAILING TO…
Here’s something to aim for: a well laid-out, orderly workshop, well-lit by multiple non glare light sources, well-maintained equipment, electrically and fire safe, with low dust and few procedures involving solvents, with excellent local ventilation at the appropriate work.
This talk briefly reviews issues of studio safety and discusses ways of recognizing risks in the studio and reducing hazard by substitution of materials or processes. The premise is that any reduction in risk improves the safety conditions of the goldsmith and artist. This approach to safety is practiced officially in European countries but is fairly new to North America. This paper today can only touch on things, be a skim, a snapshot. It is in fact a work in progress. The subject is a gigantic one, it feels rather like climbing a mountain where when you crest what appears to be the top of the rise there is yet another peak in front of one. This paper therefore skips and minimizes many important details. The book we are working on will address things in more depth.
For many years, I have struggled to find ways of conveying the meaning of art and its importance. I had come to believe that when critics and teachers talk about art they primarily only talk about what we see on the surface, the formal issues of design, composition, materials, technique, and craftsmanship. In my quest to develop significant ways to justify art, I wanted to go further to the invisible and emotional aspects of creative work. This society badly needs art, and I feel we must find ways of understanding why art is so important to our entire culture if we ever expect it to become a healing and nurturing force in our lives.
An art school is in some ways a difficult place to learn to be a metalsmith. Traditional systems of industry education took from 3 to 7 years of concentrated time to educate a goldsmith. This is because metals, as Jamie Bennett puts it, are a ‘process oriented media’. By this is meant there that there are often many more ways of working and manipulating the material than in other media.
Four areas in the jeweler’s workshop produce harmful substances that MUST be properly removed from the shop in order to maintain the jewelers’ health. The toxic particles produced are generally chronic in nature. This means that immediate reaction is not apparent, but twenty or thirty years of continued exposure can lead to poor health and sometimes early death.
What does it mean to be a gallerist today, especially one who deals exclusively in art jewelry? To find out, we investigated three twenty-first-century galleries in the United States launched by a new generation of dealers. We learned that they are carrying the jewelry field forward in highly personal ways, while acknowledging the importance of their forerunners, who helped establish the concept of jewelry as art.
We use a method for cutting down firescale when using a Presto-Lite Torch along with an acetylene B tank. The torch tips are engineered to take in so much gas through the gas orifice and so much air through the air inlet ventura so they burn to their max.
Jewelers use so-called -oxidising- solutions to darken metals like silver, copper, brass, nickel silver, bronze and, with specialized mixtures, on gold. Metalsmiths patinate both large and small objects, as well as jewelry. We usually think of patinas as being green, but they come in many colors. There are also metal dyes which are very adhesive. Paints, epoxy resins and other materials are also used to darken recesses on work. Metal coloring solutions are often made up of chemicals in toxic concentrations, so all chemical-lab precautions need to be taken with them.
Jewelers treat soldered objects with dilute acid solutions to remove oxides produced from heating and soldering as well as glassy flux residues. This process is called pickling. I believe the term comes from the chemical jewelers once used to do the job: Alum, such as is used traditionally for making pickles. Many jewelers today are not aware that they can use alum for this purpose. Here is what I think happened.
Jurgen J Maerz of the Platinum Guild International USA outlines factors to consider when adding platinum to your line of manufactured jewelry. Technical education is the key successfully manufacturing platinum jewelry. Platinum is often regarded as a difficult metal to…
This is an example of a production project proposal involving the reproduction of two historically important buttons. This shows how the project is described in terms that allow the client to see what is involved in manufacturing. It is a sample of a description that allows the client a sense of the scope of the job.
With over 300 tonnes of gold used in electronics each year, end-of-life electronic equipment offers an important recycling potential for the secondary supply of gold. With gold concentrations reaching 300-350 g/t for mobile phone handsets and 200-250 g/t for computer circuit boards, this “urbanmine” is significantly richer than what is vailable in primary ores.
Procrastination can sometimes lead to wonderful discoveries. Tom Arnold, owner of Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Virginia, found this out first hand, when his avoidance of a particularly nasty sizing job led him to whittle away some time on a…
The following is Consignment Agreement contract. It is intended for information purposes only although if you wish to use it that’s okay too.
Often craftspeople start out making craft objects in their living space, a kitchen, a living room, and sometimes continue working in them even when they have grown to the point that they need a separate studio. It is not wise to share one’s living and family space with workshop space. Usually there are chemicals, tools, equipment, processes, sounds, materials, wastes, dusts and so on that are unhealthy to be exposed to that are produced in a work shop.
While goldsmiths normally strive to have their solder flow easily, there are times you don’t want it to flow, such as spilling over a decorated surface, if it ‘freezes’ a mechanism, or if it threatens to open a gap in a seam soldered earlier in a construction. The best way of not melting earlier seams is.
Being more organized, and planning how you use your time will mean that you will spend less time on some jobs and you will therefore have this time available. I tell my students that they need to plan their time and work fast, smoothly and efficiently not for its own sake, but to have more creative time available. This greater efficiency also translates into more income from your working day.
How you light your shop, illuminate your working area, experience the reflection from surfaces and the paint you choose for the walls all have an effect on your ability to work in your studio. Poor lighting can strain the eyes, contribute to accidents and make working uncomfortable..
Jewellery design is generally considered solely from an artistic standpoint, and the jewellery is viewed as an expression of a designer’s artistic talent. How does technology fit into this scenario? Certainly design and technology are involved in making jewellery, but are they linked? What is the relationship between design and technology? In this presentation, I will try to explore this relationship in terms of jewellery manufacture, with some emphasis on technology’s ole in innovative design. I hope to show that technology is not irrelevant to creative design, and that each feeds off the other.
Ardagh now is scarcely more than a place-name; it is in County Limerick in Ireland. In 1868, while a peasant was digging potatoes he found at a depth of three feet some bronze objects and a silver chalice. These objects…
Fortunately, change is inevitable. Even for those individuals in the art establishment who assert that artists cannot and should not be active as curators or critics. This assertion is part of a traditional art would – one built on a foundation of hierarchies and exclusions that erode any modicum of power, control, influence, and authority that an individual artist has on or within the system. When artists actively participate as curators, critics, or arts administrators, this foundation starts to crumble.
In approaching this article, I found there are many avenues to pursue in the exciting and controversial subject of digital design. I felt it best to give an overview for those not yet informed about the technological waters nipping at…
Warming waters, changes in weather patterns, and increases in storm activity may all affect the future success of pearl farms, both freshwater and ocean-based. Precisely what impact they will have is a little harder to determine: Relatively little research has been done into oyster husbandry.
Each medium has its own vocabulary and so it is with enamels and enameling. The glass glaze material that is fused to the metal is enamel, the finished work is an enamel piece and the process is enameling. In other words, you enamel enamel with enamel.
I have always thought that if no other lesson had begun to seep through peoples’ inertia and greed, that at least a sense of the fragility of the earth and an obligation to ecologic diversity had begun to be routine….
Ask any jeweler to list the gemstones with which they prefer to work, and sapphires and rubies would undoubtedly rank near the top. With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, these popular varieties of corundum have long been considered nearly impossible to damage, and they can easily withstand the melting point of even high karat gold solders. Not surprisingly, many jewelers feel a comforting sense of security when faced with a ruby- or sapphire-set piece. Which may be a problem.
I believe the teacher’s role is as a guide, an instigator, a devils advocate as well as instructor. A teacher should provoke the student to constant re-examination of their work, guide the student to objectivity and clarity in conceptualization and decision making in their work and to learning how one may apply this approach during the creative process and in terms of ones developmental direction. Teaching is about opening and offering paths to the student.
The first reference that I have that links copperas with the collection of fossils is found in the ‘Life and letters of Edward Lhwyd (second Keeper of the MUSEUM ASHMOLEANUM) Oxford March 28th. 1695’. Below is an excerpt from ‘A Museum of the Early seventeenth Century’ By Cyril Edward Nowill Bromhead, BA, FGS, FRGS. (Read 18Th. June, 1947) referring to the Lhwyd letter.
This essay originated as a presentation at the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ conference in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1986. It has been revised and edited for publication in Metalsmith. Metcalf’s theme concerning the value of ideas as part of the…
In the Spring 2003 Issue we asked the question “What causes these marks on this casting?” Around 100 readers responded to the question. Everyone that responded said the same thing; Water Marks. Investment needs to be finished and set aside…