Making and manufacturing jewelry includes techniques used in all areas of metalwork, as well as techniques for working with gemstones, beads, glass, wood, leather, ceramics and other materials. A multitude of speciality tools and techniques for working with the small constraints of the jewelry form have been developed over the centuries.
- 1 Jewelry makers
- 2 Metalworking
- 3 Precious stones and gems
- 4 Other techniques
- 5 Tools
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
Jewelry starts with the work of a jewelry designer, who may design one-of-a-kind artistic items, or may design for small or large manufacturing processes. A bench jeweler (who may also be a designer) may manufacturer jewelry on a small scale, as well as repairing and customizing it.
Modern jewelry sold by large retailers may be made by industrial designers and producers, who produce identical pieces on a mass-production scale. This is the opposite of handmade jewelry, which is produced by an individual craftsperson. Many art jewelry designers may fall in the middle, producing several copies of each design, without reaching the massive scale of commercial jewelers.
Metalworking forms the core of much classical jewelry making. Metalworking techniques include shaping techniques such as hammering, decorative techniques that do not involve heat such as engraving and etching, and techniques that do include heat, such as soldering. Metals may also be formed into shapes through casting processes.
Techniques used to shape and form metal include hammering, bending, sawing, repousse, reticulation...
Soldering and heating
Soldering, annealing, anodyzing, brazing...
Industrial production techniques include vacuum casting, ...
Precious stones and gems
Stonesetting is a core part of modern and historical jewellry manufacture alike.
Glasses, ceramics and resins
Leather, wood, and other materials
Bone, leather, wood, ...
Costume jewelry is a catch-all term for jewelry that is not made of precious materials, but that often imitates these materials. Jewelry may be made of silver-plated metal with cubic zirconia instead of diamonds, for instance. This type of jewelry is generally made commercially in mass production.
Jewelry tools are, in general, made especially for working with small and detailed parts where both precision measurements and fine finishing are important. Jewelry tools are often smaller and more precision versions of common hand tools, such as hammers and pliers. The surface and finish of jewelry tools is important, as any stray marks made by the tools themselves may mar or damage the piece. Thus tool care and in fact tool manufacture is an important part of the jewelry trade. Some jewelers may forge their own hand tools, or adapt commercially-made tools for their needs.
Many types of hand tools have been used for centuries for metalworking and jewelry work, with designs passed down through the ages. On the other end of the spectrum, high-tech jewelry tools include casting, soldering and cad-cam machines that use recent innovations in engineering and electronics to produce precision results. Jewelry tools, like those in all other areas of manufacture, are constantly being innovated.
Soldering and casting
- Oppi Untracht (26 January 2011). Jewelry Concepts & Technology. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-78411-7.
- Jinks McGrath (1995). The Encyclopedia of Jewelry-making Techniques. Running Press. pp. 180–. ISBN 1-56138-526-3.