In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on cast jewelry and how it’s made. This is one of two primary manufacturing processes used for diamond and other fashion jewelry, and the other is known as the handmade jewelry process.
At AAA Jewelers, we’re happy to discuss the manufacturing method for any of our fashion jewelry, engagement rings or other fine jewelry pieces. Today’s part two of our series will go over everything you need to know about the handmade jewelry manufacturing process and how it differs from casting, plus a hybrid process and some important terms to be aware of in that realm.
Handmade jewelry, also known as hand-fabricated jewelry, is much rarer than cast jewelry. It involves a jeweler working with a metal from scratch, crafting an entire jewelry piece using no models, molds or anything but their hands and certain handheld tools. Such tools may include hammers, cutting tools, shaping tools and several others depending on the desired piece.
When it comes to hardness and durability, handmade jewelry is the way to go. It’s significantly harder than cast jewelry due to its density from hammering and shaping, meaning it has better scratching and bending resistance in most cases. Handmade jewelry also allows for finer designs, plus the linking of multiple metal types within the same piece – this is not possible with casting. Finally, porosity development is not possible with handmade pieces, like it is with casting.
On the downside, handmade jewelry tends to be far more expensive and can also be tougher to source due to its simple rarity and the complex process involved in creating it. It also doesn’t allow for clients or manufacturers to view a model of the piece in advance, and there can be variations in cases where you’re looking to replicate a previous design by hand.
In many cases, jewelry designers will pull from both these areas while creating a piece. Certain parts of the jewelry piece will be created using only handmade methods, but others may involve certain casting procedures to speed up the process or help with some other area.
We want to remind clients of something we noted in part one here: These hybrid jewelry pieces should not be referred to as handmade only, but it’s common to see this sort of designation anyway. This is because some manufacturers want to highlight the handmade elements of their pieces to try and get maximum value out of them. In reality, only a jewelry piece that involves zero casting and is completely made by hand can be referred to as solely handmade or hand-fabricated.
For more on the differences between cast and handmade jewelry, or to learn about any of our jewelry sales or appraisal services, speak to the staff at AAA Jewelers today.