Third Time's a Winner - My First, Second, and Third Iterations

My approach to design and making may be unorthodox. I didn’t spend years in a design studio and I’m not certifiably trained as a goldsmith. However, I have learned all of the fundamental skills necessary to make all of the pieces that I love to make.

I approach a new design in the way that’s makes the most sense to me - with a Staedtler pencil, sketch pad, scalpel, ruler and appreciation for the fact that I’m continually learning new, and better ways, to achieve the final result.


Going from paper to wax, the carving process was meticulous and detailed. I really wanted the piece to be delicate, yet robust, and of a size that could be worn neatly, but large enough to contain a little note that could be personalised. Needless to say, this was an ambitious challenge.

There were quite a few wax breakages, quite a few design modifications as the piece developed, and I learned to use tools in ways I never knew I could. My wax gun became my best friend and my humble scalpel really stepped up to the challenge (but unfortunately it didn’t survive the battle).

Ultimately, my aim was to make a piece by hand, that didn’t look handmade. No problem, right?

In the end, I had produced 3 different wax carvings with each one taking about 35 hours to perfect. (The pics below, going from top-down, Version 1, Version 2, Version 3)


The first carving was designed so that the jump ring and hinge would be soldered on after the casting process, and it was quite simpler in it's design. I quickly learned how intensive the soldering process would be, so back to the drawing board I went. 


The second cast had the hinge and jump ring incorporated into the wax carving, which completely removed the need to solder - meaning I’d have a much cleaner piece straight from casting. When I did this second redesign, I also made the entire piece more solid and square, but still with soft edges. I initially thought this piece was the winner.  After road testing it, I realised it just wasn't going to work as the hinge hung too loosely when opened and closed and just didn't give the stability I wanted.

Finally, the third time was the charm. I get all of the design details but I reversed the hinge which gave the piece much more stability when being opened and closed. We finally had our winner!

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