Handmade Jewelry Metalwork – A Variety of Techniques
Working and shaping metal into exquisite pieces of handmade jewelry takes time, patience and the knowledge of various metalworking techniques such as chasing, repoussé, hammering and piercing. Expert craftsmen use a variety of techniques on each piece of jewelry to create the various masterpieces within their collection.
Handmade Jewelry Using Repousse and Chasing
Chasing and repoussé are both very similar techniques used to form patterns on the surface of a metal used in many forms of handmade jewelry. A jeweler chases metal by forming imprints on it without altering the reverse side. These markings are clearly seen on the chased copper bracelets by John S. Brana. With repoussé, a raised design is formed on the front by working the back of a metal sheet.
Hammering – A Basic Technique Used in Handmade Jewelry
Hammering is the most basic technique but is also one of the most versatile. By striking hot or cold metal with a hammer, the craftsman is able to bend and twist it as desired. Jewelers typically use an iron bench block for a solid base and a highly polished planishing hammer so as not to leave unwanted marks on the metal’s surface after it has been shaped.
Piercing is exactly what it sounds like. The jeweler will remove pieces out of a metal surface and create intricate shapes by using a very fine saw blade. A drill will have to be used first if the hole is to be made in the center of the metal sheet. For an example of this, have a look at the chased copper earrings with garnets by John S. Brana. These feature an oval hole which would have been created by piercing.
Using a combination of these techniques, jewelers all over the globe are now creating stunning earrings, necklaces and bracelets in a multitude of designs, so that we can enjoy wearing a range of accessories while out and about.