Handmade & Casting Methods
Our business caters to all styles and budgets and in this ever-changing world of technology we like to embrace the use of new methods such as CAD/Cast, alongside using the traditional hand drawn designs and traditional hand fabrication methods we’ve become renowned for.
The quality of our jewellery is something that we are immensely proud of and the way that our jewellery is made and constructed is of paramount importance. In certain circumstances cast can produce great results for your piece, whilst we don’t rely on cast it is a useful tool for some pieces.
No matter if you choose to have a piece hand fabricated or cast all our designs are created in house to your exact specification. The method used to produce your piece with our guidance regarding suitability can then be chosen by you.
How We Make Our Jewellery Pieces
We prefer this to be carried out face to face but is often achieved by a combination of telephone, email, or video call to accommodate our customers further afield or in another country. Your piece will be made from start to finish in Nottingham.
- Design consultation
- Metal and stones chosen
- Hand drawn design images are created
At this stage alterations can be made to the design as per your specification.
- Piece is either Hand fabricated, Cast or a combination of both methods
- Metal is hand forged in house
- Metal is prepared for setting by hand
- Piece is sent to Birmingham Assay Office for Hallmarking
- Stones are handset
- Piece is hand polished
- Hand drawn design – Designs produced so you can see how the finished piece will look.
- Hand Fabricated – Our precious pieces are hand fabricated in wrought alloys in our on-site Nottingham workshop.
- Casting – Wax relief method used to cast the metal components.
- Hand Setting – Process to set stones into the metalwork.
- Hand Polished Finish - The final process used to polish your piece before collection.
We offer a free lifetime re-finishing service for all pieces purchased from us.
We also offer a photo book service to document the process of your piece being made.
Hand Fabrication Process
Hand fabricated is the rarest type of jewellery construction. It means taking a wrought piece of precious metal, such as Platinum or Gold. Then going through different processes the metal is shaped into the required design.
It is this process that hardens the metal which the casting process can’t replicate, making handmade jewellery almost 50% harder than cast jewellery, this is why cast pieces wear differently.
Regardless of being hand forged or cast we only use the finest and strongest cast metal alloys available.
“We specialise in traditional hand fabrication which means forging a piece by hand…”
Hand Fabrication Benefits
- Can withstand the strain of day to day wear over a lifetime
- The range and complexity of designs we can offer is infinitely increased
- We can set more finely and delicately due to the stronger tolerances of our hand forged metals. This method allows us to utilise the forged metal strength to offer "tension set" rings
- Modifications or alterations during making process are much easier
- The finished piece will be totally unique
Casting begins with the designs being carved by the CAD/CAM machine into wax models, then a specialised plaster is then cast around them on a "tree". Once the plaster has set, the wax is melted out, leaving cavities inside the plaster.
Molten metal is then poured into these cavities. When the metal has cooled, the plaster mould is removed, and the individual jewellery pieces are clipped off the “tree”.
The pieces are then polished to remove the exterior casting texture and then the gemstones are set.
Casting trees - image courtesy of IJM
We only use the finest and strongest cast metal alloys available, and the designs we offer to be cast are selected extremely carefully in order to provide the highest quality end result.
- Production costs can be lower
- For pieces with many parts i.e., decorative bracelet links it can speed up production and keep uniformity
Many jewellery companies claim to make bespoke, one-off or custom made rings, when actually they are using the casting method of mass production. Our definition of bespoke is a truly unique piece created by us using customer input and direction of their vision of the finished piece.
Large Industry Production
In today's world, a huge percentage of jewellery is mass-manufactured. With the advent of Computed Aided Design and Manufacturing software (henceforth CAD/CAM), jewellery is commonly made by a process called "casting".
For large jewellery manufacturers, hundreds of the same design are created and then standard size gemstones are set into them. Whilst this works perfectly well for these companies our methods are more focused on selecting individual gems and then producing unique customer tailored pieces.
Mass cast production methods include:
- Carving an original one-off ring in wax, getting it cast and then polishing
- Buying cast components and soldering them together
We do not consider the above production to be handmade but a method used to mass produce a standardised product.