Jewellery making secrets
Have you ever wondered how jewellery is made? We share secrets of our work with you.
1. The Design
We get inspiration for our designs from the world surrounding us, from the nature, from the art, and often it is the stone itself, its natural shape and structure that inspires the creation of jewellery.
The designer first draws a theme of the collection, which is then transmitted to the computer and makes a detailed 3D design. At this moment, we already defined the size, proportions and technology of the project.
The designed model is then printed in a resin or wax and handed over to the jeweller who makes the prototype. However, for some projects we do not use a computer and 3D printers. The draft goes directly to the jeweller and he makes the jewellery in metal by hand from beginning to end.
In the next step, the project becomes " the matrix ".
The first piece of jewellery, from which more to be copied, is called "the mother". The jeweler makes it by hand or works from a wax model. Here the slogan "Perfection in details" truly matters, because every smallest detail of this piece will be duplicated.
So the jeweler grinds, polishes, measures and keeps checking every little detail. To make one such an item it takes a whole day, sometimes even several. At the end, he merges " the mother " with the sprue, which will be flowed with silver or gold one day.
Once he is satisfied, he hands over " the mother" to the next department. In the next step, from the first perfectly finished by a jeweler piece, we are duplicating the next ones, using rubber forms.
3. The mold
Perfect in every detail prototype, so-called "the mother", is handed over by the jeweler to the mold department. Here the "mother" along with the sprue is placed in a special jewelry rubber, which is then volcanized. The next step is to cut the rubber to pull out the prototype. Here the scalpel is in motion.
The rubber is not transparent and it takes years of practice and huge imagination to know how to guide the blade, not to damage anything and to make as few cuts as possible.
After the prototype is safely released, there will remain a space inside the rubber that will match its shape.
The mold is ready. It's time for wax.
4. The Waxes
When the rubber mold is ready, we can proceed to duplicate the model. As you remember, the jeweler merge the sprue to the prototype, which we will be needed to inject the wax into the mold from here.
For each design we determine individual conditions of temperature and pressure under which the wax will be injected - it must completely fill the mold. Then, the solid wax is gently removed from the rubber.
And piece by piece like that. Ready-made waxes are merge to the pin, creating a, so-called, “the tree”. It's time for cast.
"The trees", each created from waxy jewellery forms, is placed in a metal tube and flooded with gypsum. After it has solidified, the tubes are placed in the oven, where the wax is slowly burned for several hours at a temperature of nearly 800 °C.
Once it burns out, there will be empty spaces left in, which we will cover with silver or gold. This production method is called the "lost-wax casting".
In the meantime we are melting silver. Now, accurate calculations and synchronize everything in time is very important. Temperature ? 1000 °C!
When everything is ready, we place the tube in the casting machine and flood it with silver. Now cooling and cleaning from gypsum, already silver "tree".
6. The treatment
Time to cut off each piece from the silver pin and sand down the sprues. This is also the time for the quality control of the casting. All the pieces that do not meet the standards go into the crucible and are melted down. Only good quality pieces can continue the journey.
For the next two weeks the jewellery is being polished. Reels, shock absorbers, various profiles and wheels. Each design has a different process, prepared for it by the designer and technologists.
In the meantime, the elements are welded, assembled, engraved and still quality controlled. At the same time, we have to be careful not to mix up elements or sizes, and here our computer system is helpful.
When everything shines perfectly, it is time for galvanic coatings.
Perfectly clean jewellery goes to our galvanizing department, which looks a bit like a laboratory. Chemists prepare baths of gold and rhodium, in which they dip the jewellery. The electric stream flowing through the mixture makes the metal particles stick to the surface of the jewellery, forming on it a solid coating.
Pure rhodium is more expensive than gold and platinum, but because of it our silver does not become darker and looks gorgeous for many years. To produce a coating of yellow gold we use almost pure gold - 23.5 carats, while pink gold-plate has 18 carats, and its attractive pink color is the result of the addition of copper. We often combine different colors of silver in one product.
Then each element of the design must be treated in a separate bath, and then assembled. The galvanic coats are applied, so now it is time to mount the stones.
Clean, glossy or satin, rhodium-plated or gold-plated, ready-made frames end up in the assembly department, where we glue or fasten stones and put on the accessories - fasteners and chains.
We not only design jewellery, but also shapes of stones, which we use in our models. We also grind them ourselves. And all that in Gdynia!
When the jewellery is ready, it is time for the last polishing of the entire piece and final quality control.
9. Quality control
Surface quality, component assembly and stone fastening resistance are finally checked just before being packed. At the same time, we verify compatibility with the order, count and weigh all the pieces, enter data into the system. At the end, packing and shipping to the customer.
The whole process, from the beginning of the production to the final packing of the order, takes 6 to 8 weeks.
The time could probably be reduced, we could produce faster, cheaper and more, but quality doesn't like to be rushed, and at S&A, Perfection in Details is what matters to us.