Wrap Earrings

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How the Wrap is Made

In these times where everything around us is created in mass quantities and with such great speed, we would like to take the time and share how we individually hand craft each pair of earrings especially for you.

Depending on what your order is, we take seventeen steps to complete your earrings. Each step is a category that requires different levels of skill to execute.

In order to maintain a quality of design, we had to master three separate jewelry disciplines. Wax Carving and Casting of Metals; Hand Fabrication and Soldering; and finally matching and Setting of Your Stones.

(1) Wax Carving - Casting - Mold Making
(2) Hand fabrication
(3) Soldering
(4) Rolling Mill
(5) Vibrating Tumbler
(6) Hand Buff
(7) Ultrasonic Machine
(8) Pearls
(9) Steam Clean
(10) Steel Shot Tumbling Finish
(11) Wash All Jewelry
(12) Set Your Stones
(13) 14K Vermeil Jewelry
(14) Set Your Stones
(15) Inspection of Your Jewelry
(16) Carding Your Jewelry
(17) Entering Your Order

(1) Wax Carving - Casting - Mold Making
If the pair of earrings that you ordered has a leaf or flower soldered to the design we had to make that item initially in wax. Mark carved and shaped the leaf and flower out of sheet wax. Then he carefully engraved the details, highlighting lines to suggest veins in the leaves and flowers. The finished wax model is then attached to a wax sprue and mounted on a wax base. This whole structure is then set in a round metal flask. Investment, like plaster, is poured into the flask. The investment settles in every area and then dries. The investment can imprint even a human fingerprint! After this process is done, the investment flask is put into a kiln. The hot kiln evaporates the wax model, leaving a hollow cavity. This hollow cavity is then filled with hot molten Sterling Silver or Solid 14K Gold. After the casting process, the investment is washed from the cast structure. The structure is cleaned, and then a rubber mold is made. After the mold is made, hot wax is shot into the mold to make multiple waxes of the original. These are then attached to a center pole of wax in the figure like a tree with branches (called a sprue). This whole structure is then put into a metal flask, investment is poured and then the flask is put into a hot oven. Once again the wax evaporates, leaving a cavity. Hot molten metal is poured into the cavity. The structure is cleaned, and the cast pieces are cut from the sprues. A final cut is made to remove any unwanted sprue. The pieces are then lined up on the soldering board.

(2) Hand fabrication
Working with metal wire requires a person to develop the skill to bend metal the same way a thousand times to create the consistent look. Each pair of earrings has its unique feel that requires the jeweler to be adept at handling and forming metal. For your pair of earrings, we pull the metal straight, cut and then bend the initial shape that forms the earring. All designs are made as a flat one-dimensional piece. After we solder all the necessary wires together, we pickle the wire in an acid bath and then rinse the pair of earrings. We now use jigs to standardize the look, but in the old days when we first made these designs, everything was laid out and bent by Mark's hands and with small jewelry pliers.

(3) Soldering
The joining or soldering the Solid 14K Gold or Solid Sterling wire demands many hours of practice before a person can create a finished piece of jewelry. Because we solder our leaves to the wire with a butt joint, this demands the highest level of skill in handling the torch. The flame must be perfect, the jeweler's attention becomes riveted on the flame and the joint, and then the he must remain attentive and wait at the same time. The flame heats up the wire, and the solder is applied. Then again, the wire is heated and the metal is joined with a piece of metal, a cast leaf, flower or stone setting. If the flame is not correct, or the attention of the jeweler is not present, either the solder runs wild over the casting or the setting is melted. Either way, the process must start over again.

For most people, it takes at least one year to develop the skill of soldering where mistakes are few, and one's attention can remain fixed on the job at hand for hours and hours of each day.

(4) Rolling Mill
After we solder the Wrap earrings flat on the jewelers board, we then roll the part that wraps around your ear. In the past we used to hand hammer each of the wraps. This skill took a long time to master so the hammered part would look "even" throughout the piece. The vines are now rolled through the mill.

(5) Vibrating Tumbler
We put both the wraps and the vines into a vibrating tumbler with porcelain cones. Many hours of tumbling creates a mat finish for both the Solid14K Gold or Sterling Silver metals.

(6) Hand Buff
For the Vine earrings, we buff each wire that goes through your ear. We make sure that the wire is smooth so that you never feel the wire going through the pierced hole.

(7) Ultrasonic Machine
After we buff the wires, or we tumble the work in the porcelain cones, we put the jewelry into an ultrasonic cleaning machine. This process cleans the jewelry by sound waves breaking up the particles of buffing compound or residue from the coning process.

(8) Pearls
For your earring that has pearls, we hand drill a hole through the pearl. We purchase the pearl already strung. The hole that is drilled in these pearls is very small to allow for the thread. When drilling the pearl, we set the drill press to drill the pearl 7/8 ths the way through the pearl and then stops. We drill the pearl this way so that the wire is not seen when the pearl is glued.

(9) Steam Clean
All the jewelry is cleaned in the ultrasonic machine. We then steam each piece to clean it thoroughly.

(10) Steel Shot Tumbling Finish
We put the finished jewelry into a tumbler filled with steel shot. This process takes anywhere from 12 to 24 hours depending on the piece. The steel shot rubs against the jewelry and makes a very shiny finish.

(11) Wash All Jewelry
We have to wash and sort all the jewelry whenever we ultrasonic, cone, or tumble in steel shot. After the steel shot process, we match each pair of earrings./font>

(12) Set Your Stones
At this point we have options. We either set the cabochon Wraps or Vines; set the faceted stones, and for Solid Gold orders and Sterling Silver orders, we glue the pearls.

(13) 14K Vermeil Jewelry
For 14K Vermeil orders, we wrap the Solid Sterling Silver earrings with a loop of copper wire so that the gold can be electroplated to it. A thin layer of nickel plating is added to the silver so that the 14K gold will have a shinny look when plated. When this process is complete, we have to cut the jewelry from the wire and then match the earrings.

(14) Set Your Stones
If we have not set the stones for your pair of earrings, now is the time. Depending on your stone choice, we lay out a selection of stones and then we carefully select a matching set for color, clarity, and quality of cut.

(15) Inspection of Your Jewelry
At this point, we are inspecting the pair of earrings for flaws in the manufacturing of the product, making sure that the solder joints are clean, the finish is smooth and shiny. We make sure that your piece is perfectly matched and that the setting securely holds your stones.

(16) Carding Your Jewelry
After all this, our carding department does a final inspection for quality. We card your earrings, label the bag and stock your pair of earrings for the shipping department.

(17) Entering Your Order
When your order comes to us via our web site, through our 800 number, by mail, or through by fax, it is entered into our computer. We then begin all the the previous 16 steps. Now that your pair of earrings are finished, we do one final inspection of the work, match your order with your jewelry, and then we invoice and ship your earrings to you.

THANK YOU! Thank you for your time. We hope that you enjoy wearing our jewelry. We know you will receive many compliments! We look forward to serving you in the future.

 

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