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The Art of Engraving

The Art of Engraving

In July, Stacey traveled to Louisiana and spent a week studying under private instruction with master hand engraver Sam Alfano. This opportunity has allowed her to dive deeper into the passion that drives all of her work in the studio; understanding and mastering traditional techniques of old world jewelers
 
The term engraving refers to incising a design into a hard flat surface by cutting grooves into it. Engraving is one of the oldest forms of art in existence. There are many prehistoric examples of engraved patterns on bone or ivory as well as petroglyphs from around the world.
In the Middle ages goldsmiths mastered the techniques of engraving to add decoration to their metalwork. What we think of as engraving onto metalwork such as weaponry, jewelry or musical instruments is now commonly referred to as hand engraving. Today a majority of engraving is done using milling type machinery, lasers or computer aided engraving machines. However a skilled master engraver can create such unique detail in a piece, that it can never be copied or duplicated, which is why banknotes are almost always created by hand engravers.
 
As Stacey returns to the studio this fall with new knowledge and skills, she is able to offer her clients a rare service in hand engraved designs. We are excited to expand our fine jewelry offerings and look forward to new and exciting projects this fall.
Creating Shape and Form with Ancient Techniques

Creating Shape and Form with Ancient Techniques

Stacey utilizes many different traditional metalsmithing techniques in order to accomplish her design projects. Techniques vary depending on the nature of the design.
Primarily, She works in one of two ways or with both in combination. One direction is to work by building the design in metal. She will start with strips or sheets of metal, then build her design by forging, soldering or using other tools to shape the metal and form her design.

Lost Wax Casting

The other main technique She employs is lost wax casting. Lost wax casting is an ancient technique, oldest examples date from over 5,000 years ago and evidence of the development of the technique can be found in ancient cultures on every continent except Australia. This type of metal forming has changed very little since it's ancient beginnings. It starts by carving or shaping a model of the design the artist wants in wax. 

In ancient times beeswax was shaped into a model then encased in sand or clay to create a mold. Today we use specially designed watertight metal containers and plaster. The model is mounted on a wax rod and placed in the metal container. The plaster-like formula is then poured into the container surrounding the model. It dries and is heated in a special kiln. During the Heating process the wax burns out as the plaster mold hardens allowing metal to be poured in its place.

Working first in wax allows Stacey to create greater detail and definition for complex designs. She uses many different small tools to carve away at the wax and reveal her design. Because wax is more delicate, often She will design in wax, but leave extra weight and thickness in the design allowing her to finishing carving and finalizing the details in metal, which is heartier and can withstand fine carving without breaking away or melting.
The results are always astounding! Using these techniques, Stacey can work with any design you might imagine and create a finished piece, whether it be a ring, pendant or even earrings and other accessories.
 
Mixing Metals in Jewelry Design

Mixing Metals in Jewelry Design

Adding Interest to Design with Mixed Metals

 Incorporating different metals can be a fun and unique way to manipulate your design. Mixed metals have increased in popularity providing new opportunities for designers to play with color and evoke different aesthetics. Practically, many women enjoy wearing mixed metal pieces because it allows them to layer other jewelry pieces together.  Different shades of metal in a piece can highlight stones and design features or soften and lighten areas that require less emphasis.

Gold is a great option for incorporating color in your design. Not only can jewelry be made in white or yellow gold, but in a variety of colors. By adding certain alloys in small amounts gold colors can range from pale yellow to rosey pinks and reds, and even shades of green. Most recently, Stacey has enjoyed mixing shades of gold and palladium in the wonderful anniversary ring shown below.