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Craftsmanship

| Home | Guy and Menna Morey |

| Handforming
| Casting | Gem Setting | Enamelling | Hallmarking |

Design in jewellery is always important, since the form, proportion, balance, unity and harmony of line and mass determine much of the beauty of a piece. Craftsmanship, however, is often the key to a beautiful design as workmanship not only creates texture, but quite frequently it is the only way to bring out the details of a well-developed design. A good craftsman knows that good workmanship, in itself, is a thing of beauty.

All pieces by G&M Jewellery are handmade in our own fully equipped workshops by experienced craftsmen, and stamped with our unique maker's mark as our guarantee of quality. We are confident and proud of our workmanship and design skills; you want jewellery to last a lifetime, we make pieces of a quality reminiscent of earlier periods in history.

We use many traditional techniques in the construction of our pieces, including:

Handforming

The forming of a piece of jewellery by hand from precious metal may be done using a variety of different methods, such as;

  • drawing down wire to a specific gauge
  • piercing out a design from metal sheet with an extremely fine saw
  • soldering together the component parts of a piece
  • hammering or chasing a pattern on the surface of the metal

These methods are carried out using a few well-worn hand tools, these processes rely only on the craftsman’s skill and judgement for successful completion of the finished piece.

Casting

Castings are usually made by injecting molten metal into a plaster investment, then breaking away the plaster until you are left with the metal replica of your pattern which then simply requires setting and finishing. The pattern may be made of metal, most commonly brass or silver, or wax. Metal patterns must be hand-formed in the same way as an individual finished piece, but will be able to be used many times. The wax patterns, being softer, are modelled much more quickly, but are lost after a single use.

Gem Setting

Stones are set in jewellery to give colour and lustre. They are selected to suit the design or the design is made to fit around the stone, thus making the setting and the design a single unit. The method to be used for settings is determined by the shape and cut of the stone and the construction and design of the piece. Common types of settings are:

Bezel. Where a band of metal is formed into a collar to fit closely around the stone. A strip of metal or wire is set inside the bezel for the girdle of the stone to rest upon. The bezel is tall enough to be tapped and burnished over the girdle of the stone to hold it firmly in place.

Claw. A claw or crown setting is made in the form of a hollow cone to fit the stone. The claws are made by sawing or filing the cone into the required number of ‘prongs’, left long enough to be burnished over the girdle of the stone to hold it in place. The base of this type of setting may be elaborately pierced for decoration or left plain and smooth.

Thread and Grain. Where the jeweller uses a sharp graving tool to lift tiny slivers of metal from the surface of the piece, which he then eases over the girdle of the stone. This technique is typically used to set a large number of small stones very close together to give the illusion of a continuous spread of stones.

Enamelling

Enamelling is one of the oldest forms of metal decoration. It is used in jewellery to add richness of colour and to enhance the beauty of stones. Enamels are composed of several ingredients which melt under heat to form a glazed surface either on a metal background or inserted in a network of wires without a background. There are five distinct styles of enamel; Champlevé, Cloisonné, Bassetaille, and Limoges all require a foundation of metal, Plique à jour is held between cloisons of wire without a background.

Hallmarking

Hallmarking of gold and silver is one of the earliest forms of consumer protection, indeed a standard for silver wares was instituted in the City of London as long ago as 1238. A Hallmark is a stamp applied to a piece of precious metal after test by assay, by an official Assay Office, to denote fineness of quality. In the Assay Office scrapings are taken from the various component parts of every piece and submitted to analysis. If they do not fall below the quality standard, the piece is passed for marking. The British Hallmark is of unquestionable integrity as a guarantee of quality. It is accepted as such in every part of the world.

 
     
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