You can't beat Mother Nature for providing the rough materials and a vivid color palette to choose from.
Flowers, crystals, gazing at the night sky...beauty is everywhere around you, lucky for all of us!
My education in jewelry design/construction began in 1992 at the Jewelry Arts Institute in NYC, and continued for 5 years until I was an accomplished enough goldsmith to venture out on my own. The school course of study continues to be ancient jewelry making techniques of the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. Detail work such as granulation and filigree were introduced and is still a fundamental building block in the majority of my designs.
Colored gemstones are a prominent design element and I love working with opals, moonstones, and labradorite because of the flashes of color and light that play below the surface of these stones, and at the same time have a neutral feeling.
More recently I have been incorporating small diamonds and raw colored diamonds to the gem palette. This echos my love of antique jewelry, giving the delicate collections a vintage appeal. Many of my chains are hand-wrapped with beads.
Most designs are conceived during a meditative moment, such as driving or daydreaming. Indian henna patterns help influence the filigree work, as well as handmade Persian carpet, architectural details, church windows.
Some sketching is done, mostly to save the idea. Very often, playing with the materials is the real way the final design comes together.
All filigree designs begin with wire, cut in different lengths and soldered together into a pattern. Granulation details are small balls of metal in different sizes, soldered as a finishing detail to many of my designs. Sometime I imitate this process in wax, to achieve a complex result in less time.
If the wire and granules are heavy enough, a rubber mold can be made to cast the design in different materials, offering the customer options in materials and price.
All jewelry begins in my lovely studio in Philadelphia, located on Historic Jewelers Row. Some designs begin in wax, with the use of a wax pen, or blocks of wax that are cut, carved, detailed, molded then cast outside of my studio. Once returned to me from the caster, sanding filing and polishing are the finishing steps, and sometimes a dip in 14kt gold electro-plating solution or a blackened, oxidized finish are applied.
Some designs, most often the filigree work, are made of cut lengths of sterling or gold wire and soldered together. Tools would include a ruler, pliers to shape the wore, an acetylene torch, sanding sticks and files, and polishing equipment. Sometimes they are molded and cast. Many bespoke pieces are one of a kind and custom made.