The Craft Of Julebox
The craft of jewellery making dates back thousands of years, to a time when ancient civilizations crafted jewellery for personal adornment. Created to display gemstones, express faith, and signify social status, artisans made jewellery that ranged from shells on hemp strings to rings and even crowns worn by Kings and Queens.
Through the eons, the continual discovery of new gems, precious metals, and ornamental materials, combined with advancement of tools, expertise, and metallurgy, have made it possible for almost everyone to own fine jewellery.
At Julebox our artisans have passionately pursued the lost art of jewellery making. Designing jewellery from gold, platinum, diamonds and precious stones, our master jewellers create original jewellery in our online shop. While still rooted in the spirit of old-world craftsmen, the equipment, and techniques Julebox uses for making jewellery have changed significantly since old times. Jewellery making procedures have advanced more throughout the past three decades than any other time in history. This includes the new ‘manmade’ Vs ‘Natural’ Diamonds that’s taken the market by storm.
When Jewellery making started, artisans made jewellery by wax carving. Miniature sculptures were carved by designers in preparation for lost wax casting. Using the ancient lost wax process, models were sculpted and imbedded in plaster. They were then burned into the models from the plaster to create an impression. Precious metal was melted by torch and thrown into the cavity with a manually wound centrifuge. Using files, abrasives and fundamental grinding tools, artisans’ then ground and finished the resulting castings to prepare them for soldering and welding.
The rest of the jewellery was created as handmade jewellery from raw gold and platinum as it had been done for centuries before. By alloying precious metals, they created the colour and karat desired. Once the metal was prepared, they, then shaped and formed it in the jewellery fabrication process.
Just a few decades later, master jewellers are designing and creating jewellery in a world of computer aided design. Sculptors who once worked in wax are now using keystrokes and a mouse to transform ideas into works of art. Through CAD jewellery design, skilled artisans create original models in a virtual world. Once completed, their works are milled from wax or grown in resin with high tech equipment driven by complex software.
In the past, jewellery mould making procedures were used to preserve designs. Uncured rubber was vulcanized around finished models to form moulds that could be filled with wax to recreate them. Today, you need only save the computer file which is containing the artwork in order to remake them in the future.
Using the same lost wax jewellery casting principles as the past, resin models are encapsulated in plaster and then incinerated through a burnout process. Today they no longer melt gold and platinum with hand-held torches. Using induction and high frequency melting, technicians can control both temperature and atmosphere in casting chambers.
After casting the models, they are cut loose and worked over with battery of abrasive compounds. Once a job that was done with handheld files and emery paper, they are now de-burred with finishing tools driven by hand-held flexible shafts and upright polishing machines.
After the preparation is complete, jewellers fabricate or assemble any additional settings, parts or pieces needed. Although the jeweller’s torch is still the dominant tool for soldering and welding, lasers play a big role in modern jewellery making. Using lasers, jewellers can do precision welding on areas of jewellery where heat needs to be controlled. The concentrated focus of lasers enables our Julebox designers to weld precious metal in close proximity to sensitive, valuable stones, without destroying or melting the surrounding work.
When all metal work is complete, the precious stones to be highlighted are added to the piece. Specialized jewellers skilled at the art of stone setting, use precision, hand-held tools to secure gemstones and diamonds in gold and platinum. The stone setters cut slots into precious metal, allowing them to sit level before they are tightened. The skilled hands of the setters apply just the right amount of pressure to finesse prongs, beads, and walls over delicate stones to ensure that they remain snug in their settings.
With metal work completed, the last step in jewellery making is polishing and finishing. Jewellery polishing is a multistage process whereby metal is buffed with soft rotary tools made from bristles or felt. Applied in descending stages, from coarse to fine, wheels are charged with various polishing compounds to achieve the desired Julebox look.