Combining Jewelry Design, Art and Illustration into my newest Line of Hand Engraved Gold Jewelry!
The year 2020 has been full of ups and downs for all of us! Today I want to highlight a huge UP for me, which was learning the lost and traditional art of bright cut hand engraving. This year I took a week long "ornamental hand engraving" workshop with Jason Marchiafava at New Approach School for Jewelers in Franklin, TN. I had been wanted to take this course for years, and I finally had the opportunity to. Out of everything I have learned and been challenged with in 2020, learning to hand engrave has been a dream come true and my favorite skill that I have learned in quite a while.
You may be wondering why I have always wanted to hand engrave jewelry. Well, I have always loved drawing and illustrating. For every jewelry class I took while getting my Bachelor of Fine Art at the University of Georgia, I also took a drawing class. During my time getting my Master of Fine Art degree at Rhode Island School of Design, I referenced drawing and line in almost all of the jewelry I created. I have always been looking for ways to incorporate these two skills.
I have been drawing custom house and pet portraits for years. And this year, I illustrated my first children's book (coming soon!) for Asheville, NC author, Beth Roberts. As much as I love these projects, I would love to more closely incorporate my drawings and jewelry.
When I was first exposed to hand engraving many years ago, I fell in love at first sight. The "bright cuts" into yellow gold were gorgeous. I knew right then that I had to learn how to do it. As a hand engraver, you can literally draw into metal. You can include ornate patterns, floral elements, vintage motifs and so much more. I began learning how to do it by practicing traditional, ornamental patterns that you may see along the edges of vintage engagement rings. After a lot of practice, I began coming up with my own drawings and figuring out how to break them down to be hand engraved.
Hand engraving is done by using a series of tiny cuts (literally shoveling out tiny shards of metal) with tiny very sharp metal hand tools. I carefully dig the razer sharp corner of a rod of steel into the surface of metal and delicately scoop out metal curls. It is extremely difficult, but I am loving it!
I am so excited to have now released my first set of hand engraved 14k yellow gold stud earrings and pendants. My "Rose" and "Fern" designs are based on my simple black and white illustrations. The stud earrings are very small and easy to wear. They are around 9mm in diameter each. The matching pendant is around 12mm in diameter.
I really hope you enjoy these new jewelry designs as much as I do! Stay tuned as my illustrations and hand engraving develop!