Monday, 28 October 2013

Media (Precious Stones and Metals)

As a jeweller it should be obvious that the media I use more often than any other would be precious metals and gemstones. There is a far greater variety of materials for a jeweller to work with than one might expect. Different coloured gold alloys, coloured gems and several not so traditional materials like wood and even plastic are all possible as successful jewellery elements. 

Gold and Diamonds

The most obvious and also most classic and spectacular medium remains the traditional gold and diamonds. The most often "variant" that one encounters here would be the options of white gold alloys and platinum.

There is nothing more classic than the combination of a white metal and a diamond.

Typically the most commonly accepted form of gold is in its standard, naturally occurring yellow colour. 

White and yellow gold successfully combine in a single jewellery piece as well. 

In this traditional sphere, the adding of traditionally accepted precious stones like Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby and Pearl are also often used materials. in these photos above we can see a sapphire at left and rubies at right.

Silver and Precious Stones

Silver is far more common and cheaper than gold but not cheap outright. It also qualifies as a noble metal and its "white" colour makes it far more versatile than the limited yellow colour of traditional gold. Contrary to some popular myths, diamonds may and can be set in silver with no adverse results. The rose ring pictured here is set with a diamond.

Silver may be polished gloss or be textured and combines easily with any coloured stone whether genuine or synthetic. 

Here, very rough worked silver sections is combined with uncut Tourmaline crystals. 

Silver and Synthetic Stones

Due to silver's low cost it is far more accessable in large quantities and thus allows for "bigger"and more austentatious jewels. If you combine it with synthetic stones, the effect can me quite spectacular and at a very reasonable price like in this tiara above.

The necklace is set with coloured Cubic Zirconias. When using silver, most of the client's budget can go to craftsmanship rather than a gram or two of gold.

Gold and Silver Combined

Gold may be combined with silver and then allows for a budget to be stretched with amazing results. This ring uses gold, silver and synthetic stones. 

Silver may also be oxidized allowing for a "blackened" effect that is impossible with white gold. The stones in this ring are Tanzanite and diamonds. 

Other Materials

Many other materials may be combined with the more traditional jewellery materials. I have use many innovative materials ranging from wood to liquid filled vials. Here follows some of the more "professional" options.

The dark blue stripe in this ring is resin enamel.

The red patches in these cuff links are perpex. 

The beads in the chain are glass, the wings of the scarab are resin enamel and the rest is silver, a blue Cubic Zirconia and a genuine Lapis Lazuli Scarab. 

The necklace is made of rubber. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Work Stages (Design Inspiration 2)

It must be partly due to my grandfather's influence as he was a great fan of the grace and beauty of swans and also because of the obvious fact that our surname is Swanepoel (loosely translated to Pool of Swans), that I too am very inspired by swans in general. You will find me always doodling, whenever I am sitting in conversation or when needing to relax with a sketch pad. Inevitably the first things flowing from my pen will be either a crown, or wings or swans. 

My most recent swan "doodle", done in Oct 2013, involves the idea of combining a swan with the mythical concept of the phoenix. This will make a great tattoo or perhaps could become a neckpiece.

Done around 2003, this copy of a rough ballpoint pen sketch was inspired as part of my comic book project. 

This A2 pencil sketch was done in  2012 as a full drawing meant to tell the story of how our actions, whether graceful or not, have a ripple effect that can be far reaching into our lives. 

Different swan inspirations of which the top is a pre-sketch for a digital painting, the middle is an idea for a personal monogram that includes the letters "D" and "S" and the bottom one could end up being a jewellery piece like a brooch. 

My personal monogram/logo design has the obvious swan as the main theme coupled with the letters "S" and "D". It also includes a Royal Crown and lightning bolts, both symbols very dear to my heart.

The swan as one of my greatest inspirations had no other option other than to be included in what I, as a jeweller consider to be the apex jewellery piece, the tiara.  

These ideas are meant to represent hairpin tops. the swan and eagle motifs are obvious.  

One of many swan tiara ideas. 

This is one of my favourite tiara concepts.... can be seen here in the original drawing where it first manifested. 


...and more.

This was one of the most comprehensive designs I ever embarked on and even included full cost of manufacture as can be seen in the photo. It was completed somewhere in 2003 but never manufactured as a piece of jewellery. 

This is my latest design for a swan tiara and is almost complete as an idea. I love the idea of a swan taking off into flight from a body of water. It is often forgotten that swans can fly. I like expressing the hidden aspects of swans, not just their obvious graces. 

I would really like the opportunity to make one of these tiaras one day, cost permitting.