Describes Her Approach To Jewelry Crafting
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....... I work mainly in high carat gold, generally 22K. I do everything from the ground up, using no pre-made parts such as bezels or ring-shanks, so everything is truly hand made, starting from the pure 24K gold. I alloy it myself using formulas not commercially available. It is a very satisfying process to see the pure gold in nuggets transformed into a chain or other piece, knowing the piece intimately each step of the way. Even the wire for the chains is completely hand made using a rolling mill and drawplate. The wire-making for a chain is nearly a whole day's work by itself.
....... I love to see precious and semi-precious gemstones mounted in high karat gold, further decorated by ancient granulation techniques, where tiny beads of gold are fused to the piece using no solder at all to form a pattern or border. (The technique of granulation, used extensively in Classical jewelry, was lost for centuries before being rediscovered only in 1933. ELO)
....... My focus is on historical jewelry techniques. I prefer not to make direct copies of pieces, but look at them in the history books, close the book and carry the feel of the historic piece with me and make a piece that has the feeling of the particular period. My latest mission is to create and bring back the custom of Posy* rings, found generally in the Middle Ages in Europe. The custom continued into the 1700's. Posy rings were love tokens or wedding bands, with an inscription called a Posy either inside or outside the ring. The earlier examples were mainly inscribed on the outside of the ring shank in Blackletter or script. The rings I am making are in 22K gold, with modified Old English lettering, and are engraved freehand onto the band before the ring is made round and fused. They have a slightly irregular look, rather than what would be seen in engraving today at a commercial jeweler using an engraving machine. This gives the right feel to the ring which is supposed to look very old.
....... You could say my heart goes into every piece I make. I have trouble parting with many of them, but coundn't possibly wear all that I create, so I love the thought of someone else having a piece and considering it special to themselves, the feeling of having found a 'good home' for the piece.
....... Iris Nevins
....... *Posy is short for poetry, as they were often inscribed with a short verse. In the 15th century it became the custom to accompany the gift of a posy ring with a bouquet of flowers, and the term got transferred to the flowers, a usage much more common today than the original.