It seems like such a rare thing to have artists or designers walk you through how they create their livelihood ~ but I guess things are different with Feliz folks. Jewelry is one of those things that seems to just "happen" ~ cheap jewelry is so pervasive that it's easy to forget that the process of creating a unique/handmade piece, is fairly extensive and labor intensive. Elisha walks us through the steps it takes to make a delicate, simple and lovely ring from her eponymous line, Elisha Marie Jewelry.
Hi! I am the jewelry designer behind Elisha Marie here in Austin, Tx. As a jewelry designer, the most frequent question I receive is “How did you make that?” Well, I decided it was time to let everyone know just how my design process works.
First and foremost, I keep my sketchbook close at hand because you never know when ideas and inspiration will cross paths. When a really good design is triggered in my mind, I draw out a few rough sketches before I lose the idea. I then get a bit more serious and finalize each drawing with specific measurements for each piece. Then I calculate the cost for that design.
If I am happy with the design, I move to the actual wax work. This is when I hand carve and sculpt each piece in wax. I use several tools like the Wolf precision carving set and my pocket knife. I sculpt until I have a beautiful final model.
The next step involves sending my wax models to my local caster. She then casts the wax model into the metal of my choice like recycled sterling silver or recycled 14 karat gold. Since most people have never heard of lost wax casting here is a quick overview:
Jewelry casting is a process of making jewelry pieces, that involves the pouring of liquid metal alloy into a mold. It is usually referred to as lost-wax casting because the casting mold is created using a wax model that is melted away to leave a hollow chamber in the middle of the mold. The technique has been used for thousands of years and is still widely used today. Many jewelers use this method to make precise reproductions of original jewelry pieces.
Once the caster has cast my wax sculpture into a metal model, she then makes a mold, of that metal model. This enables me to make duplicates of my original piece. I can then take this mold to any casting service and have several pieces made at one time.
Once the pieces have been cast into metal, they are returned to me. I then hand polish, set the stones, and assemble each piece of jewelry. The piece is then photographed and uploaded to my online store. That is my design process.