Category Archives: For the Public–How Jewelry is Made

Making Jewelry Storybook–Orange Citrine Necklace

The gem: a decahedron (12-sided) double star cut orange citrine, 13+ carats.

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The setting before soldering, with the seat ring at the top ready to be put in after the setting is soldered.

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The setting is soldered and the seat is soldered inside the setting. Now I’m working on the crown with a file. This file is sharp! I have a band-aid on to prevent cutting myself with the file.

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I’m refining the crown with a small hand file. Notice I now have 2 band-aids on because I cut my other finger with the sharp file, and I don’t want to keep having bloody fingers. Super glue is great for putting cuts back together, but need to prevent them in the first place.

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I’m polishing the crown setting with a pumice wheel.

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This shows the completed crown setting. You can see the seat ring soldered inside. This is for the stone to lay on. The crown points have relief cuts to protect the sides of the stone from chipping, and so the points will bend over more easily, since it’s made from heavy gauge sheet. A bail for the chain has been soldered on, and it’s pre-polished before setting.

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This is the completed necklace with the stone set.

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A little better photo with a close up of the stone.

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And the final piece with the neck wire that has a spring compression clasp. The neck wire looks a little odd in the photo because it has a slight curve in it to compensate for laying on the collarbones so that the wire looks circular in appearance.

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Hope you enjoyed the photo journey of how a piece is made. If you want to see stories of other pieces, vist the category, “Making Jewelry Storybook.” Thanks for visiting!

Repousse die forming

Making conchas are usually made with a matching male/female die called a repousse die. There are some commercially made ones, but many traditional silversmiths make their own. To make them and use them takes a good deal of skill, even with the commercially made ones. The commercial ones don’t come looking pretty like the one below. They have to be dressed, trued, registered and polished. Once that is done, then you can start using them.
This pair of earrings are made with small disks at the top to make the traditional round concha design, and the lower part of the earrings are made with a large fan shape from the same round concha die.

The conchas below are the typical round shape. The patterns are diamond cut.

Many people mistakenly call conchas “conchos.” Concha is from the Spanish word for conch and other sea shells, and it gender specific for female. However, in certain countries it is also slang for a specific part of the female anatomy. It’s not a nice slang word, so if you’re south of the U.S. border, feel free to use the word “concho”!

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

Fold forming

One of the techniques I use in some of my work is called fold forming. It can have soft folds that make metal look like fabric, sharp folds that cause the metal to stretch into three-dimensional forms, or a combination of folding and forging to make fantastical forms. The picture below is an example of a soft fold.
The leaves are an excellent example of fold forming because they have a central spine.

Here’s a leaf pendant made in an Art Nouveau style.

You can get great dimensional shape like these 3-D flowers and cups. These are more appropriate for sculpture, hollow ware and decorative elements.

This is a big leaf and a boat shape.


I like the fold forming techniques for their organic nature, but I lean more towards the score folding techniques because they’re more easily adapted to jewelry.

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

Stone shopping at gem shows

If I’m not buying directly from a lapidary artist (someone who cuts stones), then I go to a gem show and buy LOTS of stones at once.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a hard time resisting deeply saturated colors, and especially if they’re BIG. Aren’t these amethysts beauties? Other than the two round ones in the back, these are too big for anything other than pendants or necklaces, or an occasional focal stone for a bridal tiara.
Here are some Swiss blue topazes:

These are mostly the right size for earrings and rings, and a couple will look spectacular on a neckpiece. Topazes are among my favorite stones because they come in just about any color under the sun, even colorless. In fact, most topazes begin their lives as colorless. To bring out the colors, they can be heated, irradiated or diffusion treated.

Another stone I like are garnets. The come in various tones of red usually. But they also come in a lot of other colors, like a lovely orange. The garnets below are a sample of the most common red tones–Mozambique, pyrope and rhodolite.

These are mostly in sizes people would consider normal.

Later, I’ll show some of them in finished jewelry. All of these are just so yummy it’s going to be a joy to set them in something lovely!

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

Great 3-D jewelry

For many years I’ve used several techniques to get jewelry that most people have never seen. Below are some example of sample forms made in copper and a fully developed form made into jewelry. Would you believe the top three forms began their lives as round disks?

Do you recognize the gold pendant from the form in the middle of the picture above?


Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

Using handmade dies to make jewelry

Some of my work is made from dies that I cut. This allows me to get a 3-D form that’s lightweight. Here are some dies I’ve cut, along with copper samples.

Matrix dies

How they look finished
Made in silver.

Here is a pendant made from a handmade die. It is the amphora shape in the top photo, middle die.

Split matrix die
Even a simple shape can produce a variety of results.
 Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

What kind of jewelry do I make?

When looking at various shades of white snow for a good deal of the year, I’m eager to use stones with lots of color and interesting patterns.
Okay, actually I’m a girl that likes shimmer, shine, glitzy, COLOR! and usually big jewelry.
Then again, sometimes I like to make things that are delicate and lacy, like filigree.

Many of my pieces are simple, but bold in scale.

And some are just, “How did she do that? How does that work exactly?”

Whatever I make is going to get noticed, so it’s not for the faint of heart. You can check out more information at my website Metals and Gems and current pieces at Jazzn Jewelry Etsy shop.

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak