From concept to reality, there are many stages to make a piece of jewelry work! For me, it all starts with an outline to be inlaid in stone, like for example the scarab in the SunRa collection!
After deciding the contour of the stone inlay it's time to adapt that idea to create different three-dimensional models for the pieces that will compose the collection, rings, pendant, earrings etc.
During the first years of the brand, I hand sculpted all the models out of jewelry carving wax, using dental tools, blades, files and burrs to get the shapes I wanted.
These wax models would later get cast into metal through a process called lost wax casting, which was invented in Egypt and is still used broadly in the jewelry industry.
Wax carving is a fun craft, It requires few tools and it's fairly forgiving to learn. The process can be very meditative and the results are really satisfying as you can translate your pieces to silver, gold or any other metal! Definitely worth a google search for those of you who are looking to work on a new creative outlet!
As 3D technology became more available and the number of 3D printers in the Manhattan diamond district grew exponentially, I started taking advantage of it to refine the area of the pieces that would be inlaid with stones, so I could achieve cleaner joints and overall better inlay quality. Still, I often hand sculpt other parts of the pieces so I can retain that warmth that comes from handmade shapes.
Nowadays it's fair to say pieces bounce multiple times between the computer and the bench before they are right. At which point it's time to make some decisions about the stones that will be featured.
You can see how I simplified the shapes and constantly kept in mind the thickness of the lines as well as the real dimensions of the parts.
It is important to be mindful of stone pieces that might be just too small to inlay, so you can see how I marked a leaf on the left edge to maybe modify or remove if it became too treacherous.
Most jewelry pieces that are designed digitally are 3D printed in wax, and then finally turned into metal through a very ancient process called "lost wax casting".
In that manner, I cast my first model into silver so I could retouch some things and soften the edges by hand to give it a more satisfying feeling.