Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come from anywhere. You don't always need to have all the details sorted out either, part of my job is helping in the process. Some of my clients bring me their ideas already completed and all that's left for me to do is build the design. Other clients have an idea that we develop together, some people need me to take the lead on the entire process, everyone and every job is different. The Diamond engagement ring pictured above is a modified replica of my clients girlfriends favorite ruby ring that she wore every day.

 I built a Sterling Silver 1957 Chevy belt buckle based solely on a picture that my client brought to me.                 
  A recent client wanted engraving that was symbolic and had meaning to both he and his girlfriend. After much back and forth I prompted him to think of travels they had had together and places they had been, objects that they had purchased while abroad  that were prominent in their home. He settled on a replica of some patterning in a carpet that they had brought home from the middle east. It's a focal point in there living room and now in her ring as well. Keep an open mind and inspiration will find you, if it's taking too long, call me and let me help.                                               

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Crazy Chunky Dream Ring

I like my job. It is creative and artistic and allows me to bring ideas to life. But rarely do I have the opportunity to work with a client who is even more passionate about pushing the boundaries of an idea than I am. This job provided me with that opportunity. My client had been dreaming about this ring for years. Literally having dreams about it. So my challenge was to get inside her head and envision this ring that she already saw clearly in her mind. Daunting, yet exciting and challenging all at once. We knew the ring was going to be big and chunky. We knew that it was going to be adorned with many gemstones, some of which were sentimental and provided by my client, and some of which I had to find to compliment the idea. We knew that it was going to be organic and some what dark, with an influence we described as like roots or bramble bushes. It was going to be two tone, both gold and silver. The bezels surrounding six of the thirteen stones were to be cast in 10k yellow gold, so I started there. Carving and building those six bezels and having them cast. Once I had the gold bezels I carved the basic ring shape in a block of wax and sunk my gold bezels into the wax by gently heating them and melting them into my wax ring/block. I then completed the wax carving with the gold portion embedded firmly into the wax that was due to be cast into sterling silver. I cast the silver with the gold already in place and although the gold seemed solid then soldered them permanently in place. The next step involved a great deal of grinding and sanding to achieve the fluidity I desired, it also helped me eliminate extra bulk and weight. After polishing and applying a colored patina, it was time to set all of the stones and complete the final finish. I'm proud of the final product and even more importantly, my client was thrilled. It was a pleasure to work on and it sounds like there may even be a matching pendant in the future!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Custom Christmas Rock Star Buckle!

I've shown this process on my blog before, but the feed back I get from people is always so great, so here I go again. This is how I carve a block of wax into a custom made belt buckle. This particular buckle was given as a Christmas gift to one of the members of a great local band here in Vancouver, BC, The Washboard Union. I started by cutting a slab of wax from a large wax block using a special wax blade on my jewellers saw. Using a cheap file and rasp that I bought years ago at Canadian Tire I then flatten and smooth the slab until I deem it ready for the template. I've re-sized the bands logo on my computer and printed it out to be the exact dimension that I need for the buckle. This to me is by far the hardest step as I'm much better at carving wax or hitting metal with a hammer than I ever will be at using a computer. The very fact that I'm uploading blog posts sometimes boggles my mind! Once I've taped the printed template in place I begin the painstaking process of transferring the image onto the wax, this is done by poking little holes through the image and into the wax using a sharpened scribe. I often have to do this step in a couple sittings due to hand cramping. Once completed, I remove the paper template and begin connecting the dots. The next step involves pulling out a bunch of old dental tools, each one specially modified so that it can reach here, or scrape away wax there, where another one just might not do the job. Again, a few sittings were required to completely remove all the wax from the unwanted negative spaces. If an error occurs I also have an electronic wax pen that can re-add wax where it is needed, allowing me another chance to get it right. I then begin on the finishing details, laying out the back, adding little wax skulls for findings. Modifying them to make a hook to hold the belt. Adding a custom inscription, shaping the edges and adding a border, etc.. etc.. When I'm completely satisfied with my wax it then gets encased in investment material which is sort of like a high tech concrete. It's then put in a kiln, so that all the wax melts away, leaving a perfect void inside the investment in the exact shape of my carving. Using science and the wonders of centrifugal force, molten metal, in this case jewellers bronze is injected into the void. Once cooled, the investment can be broken away revealing our bronze buckle. There is still a great deal of sawing, filing, sanding and polishing that needs to take place before it resembles the buckle shown here in the picture, but this in essence is the process of creating a Custom Christmas Rock Star Buckle!