Anatomy Of Design

Posted by Nicole Humphries on

Have you ever wondered how jewelry artists create their beautiful designs? What inspires them to sit down at the bench and painstakingly saw, file, and set tiny stones? Every designer has their own creative process, and I am going to take you on a tour of that process at Emma's Jewelry Box.

My designs can sometimes begin with a color inspiration, a photo that sparks my imagination, or just a need to sit at the bench and play. One of the best ways for me to flesh out an idea is to sit down with a pad and pencil and create a rough sketch of the design. It isn't about drawing the perfect picture, but about getting a feel for where the design can go.


Once the designs are down on paper, the real magic can begin. For the sketch of the ring above, (with the round disc shape, and purple stone), I used a template to draw a circle on a sheet of metal, and used a jeweler’s saw to cut it out. After a little filing, sanding, and shaping, and it was ready to be soldered onto its ring shank.


Now comes the fun (or stressful) part-setting the stone. Working with gemstones that are 2mm or smaller can definitely give you gray hairs. I use a special visor to help me see the piece a little better, and begin the process of drilling a series of holes into the metal. This becomes even more challenging because the disc has been domed; but with a little patience, and a steady hand, I can cut a seat that will hold the tiny gemstone.


Once the stone is set, a little polishing is all it takes to complete this tiny treasure. I chose to give this ring a matte finish to highlight the color of the Amethyst. 


Artists find inspiration from all kinds of things, but its the attention to detail, craftsmanship, and passion that brings ideas to life!

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