JoR Art: Jewelry-making Techniques
There are numerous materials and techniques for jewelry making. Which one to use depends a lot on the materials one is going to use. In JoR Art, the most common materials we use are precious metals, with silver being the one used most frequently.
JoR Art jewelry can be divided into 2 main categories:
- UNIQUE ART JEWELRY usually handcrafted out of silver or gold, with precious and semiprecious stones or experiments with other materials
- SOUVENIRS inspired by the Croatian cultural or natural heritage
Even though souvenirs in modern society often represent brevity and consumerism, JoR Art souvenirs are in fact born out of the same techniques used for our unique jewelry. Matter of fact, each and every JoR Art souvenir was first a unique artistic interpretation of a motive in silver, only to be cast later on in silver-plated zinc alloy.
To beter understand the work behind both JoR Art unique jewelry and souvenirs, one should get a better understanding of silversmithing.
The JoR Art jewelry making relies a lot on a family knowledge, because Julijana grew up in a family of goldsmiths and silversmiths.
The techniques and tools have not changed radically throughout the centuries. Quite to the contrary - already in old Egypt the goldsmiths' workshops were at their highest level. What did change, however, were the materials used for the productions of tools.
There are 3 categories in silversmithing / goldsmithing education:
- Goldsmith /silversmith – specialist for jewelry making
- Stone setter – specialist for precious and semiprecious stones
- Engraver – specialist for hand engraving
Nowadays the machines take over more and more of craftmanship professions. Many believe the goldsmith profession is soon to be extinct now that the 3D printer is available and can produce a finished product in short time. There are also jewelers who merely distribute and resell the jewelry, as well as designers who usually cannot make the jewelry themselves, but make sketches and hand it over to master goldsmith for production.
In Croatia you would usually find a combination of master goldsmith and designer. Some still know how to insert gems and semiprecious stones, and the engravers are the hardest ones to find. They are near to extinct, and in Croatia there are, to our knowledge, only three of them left.
The industrially produced jewelry dominates the market more and more, but we would dare to say that, regardless of the challenges of the modern age, nothing can replace a human touch and spirit. Even if the goldsmith profession meets its ruin in the current form, it will probably survive as an elite branch of creation. There is always an audience that feels and values the spirit in its expression through metal, colour, or any other type of art.
Which techniques does JoR Art use in jewelry making?
Warming up the wire while making JoR Art jewelry
If you ever happen to find yourself in the JoR Art studio, do not be surprised when you find the author there melting, coining and drawing the metal – all by herself!
She also draws wires. It is a basic procedure for making links for chains or necklaces. Nowadays there are machines who can produce just about any type of pattern of links, entirely even and identical.
Long time ago the wire was made out of thin strips of sheet metal which would be rolled between two stones. In JoR Art we melt the metal and use a cast. After this has cooled, this newly attained piece of metal is rolled under rollers of the pressing machine. In the end, the thinned piece of metal is drawn into thinner wires by hand until it obtains the desired thickness.
The usage of metals is most often connected to the ancestral Mother Earth. When one wears precious metals jewelry, one celebrates their own affiliation to Earth. One belongs. We convey the tendency to aim for the universal beauty. We recognize our own reflection through characteristic shapes and symbols.
In the making of JoR Art jewelry, usually these techniques are applied:
Using hammers for shaping the materials
Thinning out a sheet of metal in a machine that presses and thins the metal
Processing of edges and all surfaces of the material
Final processing of all surfaces
Sawing using saw frame and saws od different size
The true art of this technique is in great precision of connecting tiny parts – SOLDERING. Only when the attachment to the surfaces or so called solder cannot be seen, one can be sure a master craftsman has produced it.
Earrings – partly shiny, partly patinated& Earrings „Butterfly Wings“ - made out of 11 parts, 9 of them soldered
Smoothing of the material surface with various brushes and rags
Make surface matte by machine that ejects sand at a great speed
There are different types of patina, and most frequently used in treating silver is the liver of sulphur
There are many tools and machines required for each piece of jewelry, but in JoR Art the unprecedented ruler is the – file! It is used to create different tiny slots, edges, borders are evened out and it is, all in all, the author's favourite final touch!