Behind the Scenes Part 2, let's get stuck in.
We’ve taken you through our jewellery design process in our ‘Behind The Scenes Part 1’ blog post we wrote a couple of months back (You can find this here to refresh your memory) and now it’s time to introduce you to the dirty work – quite literally! When the pretty designs are all signed off, this is where the real stuff starts happening…
So it’s been a few weeks, we’ve nutted out our new season designs, selected our bead colours and worked out the measurements of each piece of jewellery, its now time to start turning these ideas into our first physical samples of jewellery - Woo hoo!
Because we work across a number of mediums, I’m going to break it down by supplier for the purpose of this blog post (which sounds much more simple than it may well be in reality but that’s a whole other story to be shared over a bottle of wine!)
BEADING: I’ll invite our head beading guru Anise over for a cup of coffee and we’ll sit and go through each sketch that I have drawn. Sometimes I have created a (very average) first sample of the beading pendant / bracelet to show her the shape or design to follow. Anise has much more nimble hands than I and generally smashes my sample out of the park in terms of perfection first time around! But often I need to do this to explain the design in it’s entirety. Anise and I will go back and forward over the next few weeks while we perfect colour options of the beading as well as the actual size of the final pieces. I will also often cull a few designs at this stage, generally due to my indecisive nature up until this point, which is when we end of up a bunch of beautiful samples. (We are soon to launch our sample sale shop – watch this space!) SILVER: Designs made out entirely of silver work in a slightly different way. Here at La Luna Rose we work with creating a Wax master and casting our jewellery. Some jewellery designers create all their jewellery as one-off items in which the silversmith creates each piece new every single time. Each process has its benefits, but for ease of our brand and production continuity, we create moulds and masters to refer back to over time.
We work hands on with our wax carver who carefully carves our sketched 2D designs out of green wax to absolute to-the-mm perfection – right down to the ½ mm! Using an assortment of chisels, string and knives, this guy is an absolute genius at turning a drawing into a 3-Dimensional object. While we don’t employ a wax carver full time (as we only produce new collections once every 4 months) we make sure to use the same wax carver for each collection as, like all designers and craftsmen, each carver has their own handwriting and style.
(Side note. When I first started sourcing suppliers in Bali 4 years ago I was scooting around the island on my bike looking for someone to turn my designs into reality. What I had was a folder of all my designs in which I had drawn in 3 perspectives to get across my design in its entirety– Birds Eye, Front On and 3D. When I finally found someone who accepted my design and to come back in 1 week and they would have it ready, I came back to find 3 different rings, all according to a different view. They thought they were 3 different designs!! It was about this point that I knew I was going to need a) An interpreter B) A production manager who understood ‘western’ design or C) An English speaking manager and not just work with a guy who has a couple of silver polishing machines and carving materials in the middle of a rice paddie out the back of Celuk…This was all great learning!)
The Jewellery wax carver may take a few attempts to get the shape and dimensions looking perfect in which there are a few sweaty Denpasar missions on my scooter back and forth, but when we are at a final approval stage? It’s the best feeling of relief in the world!
Next stage is moulding. We take the very fragile little green wax moulds to a place to create the moulds of each design. Through this process, the wax melts away but forms a mould in which we later use to inject the silver inside. At this stage, we also create a Master. A Master is a solid silver ‘master’ of the design we have created to ensure that if the mould gets damaged at anytime, we can re-create a new one through using the Master. This is generally a very quick process of a couple of days in which after that – we are good to go for our first round of production!
The above probably all sounds very straight forward and simple but the reality is there is many many hours spent going back and forth between suppliers checking, re-checking, measuring, checking the beading pendant size against the silver / wax mould size, updating colour palettes, changing the design, adding a pendant we got rid of in the design process but now makes sense to have….did I mention double checking everything? All that beautiful production stuff we call production.
At the end of sampling and once we have a physical form of each piece is when we will sit down and work out the pricing for each item of jewellery. It is also now that we also may cull designs if we work out that a certain piece sits outside of our current pricing schedule, it has taken too many attempts to get right and it’s still not working or perhaps a design is using too many beads of one colour – anything can pop up!
It's also at this point that we will be designing new packaging for the up-coming collection. We like to keep our packaging fun, quirky, something special for our customers to keep and most importantly - something beautiful to look at and house your new jewels! I could write a blog post alone of the nitty gritty of packaging but let's just say there's a number of hours invested into sampling and getting sizes and colours correct - but its all worth it in the end!
Well, if you’re still reading and got to this point I hope I’ve enlightened you about the production process of our jewellery here at La Luna Rose. Go and take a look at the pieces of Jewellery you are currently wearing and appreciate the minute details that have gone in to getting that piece to the state of where it is today! If you have any questions at all about the manufacture of silver, be sure to flick me an email!
Images courtesy of Julia Atkinson / Studio Home
Liked this? Check out our recent interview with designer Jess from Ete Swimwear and learn about how she started her brand. Want to know about living in Bali? Head over here to read up on Bali Bible curator Rosie's life on the island!