The handmade jewellery industry is so diverse because of all the different effects that can be achieved with metals, jewels and wood. A Silver Circle design works with a range of tools in order to create delicate and fine jewellery, that subtly speaks of elegance. Some of the key tools used in the A Silver Circle studio are the saw frame, ring mandrel, rawhide mallet and file.
Jeweller’s Saw Frame
The saw frame is the first tool you learn how to use, because it is so versatile and can achieve a range of effects. The act of cutting with the saw is called ‘saw piercing’ and it is used to make intricate patterns or to cut lengths of wire and sheet. At A Silver Circle all our circle shapes are handcut, which is unusual, but it gives us greater control and precision over the circle form. For example, to create each of the Textured Studs, we have to cut the circle shapes out of sheet metal with the saw frame.
Ring Mandrel & Rawhide Mallet
The ring mandrel is a steel tapered tool which is used to shape rings or bezels (framework that holds in a stone). The mandrel has various grooved marks which assist with sizing rings, but also which hold rings in place to be shaped by the rawhide mallet. The rawhide mallet is made out of a coil of leather, creating a firm mallet which is soft enough so that it doesn’t dramatically indent the metal but strong enough to move and manipulate it. We use it to form and flatten pieces, to create the perfect circle shape around the mandrel. The Hammered Ring Bands have been shaped around the mandrel with the rawhide before being textured with a steel hammer to get the indents and facets that make this piece unique.
Files are used by metalsmiths for a number of reasons. At A Silver Circle they are used to clean off excess solder, to smooth out the surface of pieces, to even out joins, to prepare metals for the polishing stage and at times to create texture. The finer the grade of file, the smoother the finish of the product. The file is what gives A Silver Circle products finished edges and finely polished surfaces, as showcased by our Hexagon Plain Ring.
There are a number more tools used in the A Silver Circle Design studio, however these are some of the most frequently used tools for the effects desired by our brand’s collections. The extent of tools points to the scope of effects that can be achieved in the handmade jewellery industry. If you would like to have a go at some of these tools yourself, head over to the Workshops page to come into the studio and make your own piece of jewellery.