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Inside the studio with Metalicious

The Jewelry Making Process

Our collaboration with artisan Stephanie Maslow-Blackman of Metalicious is arriving August 26. Get an exclusive look at Stephanie’s jewelry-making process, in her own words. Scroll down for a special video from our day at the Metalicious studio.

 – Tessa

The Process

I’ve been making jewelry for over 20 years and one of the main questions I get regularly are, “You MAKE your jewelry? How do you do it?”

I love walking people through my process. Even though it’s something I do every day I still find it exciting and I’m grateful to get to do what I love for a living.

Step 1: Design

My designs are influenced in part by my surroundings, so you’ll see a lot of architectural details and organic, nature-inspired shapes. I’m both a city and a country girl at heart and my work is definitely influenced by both. Once I’ve thought about what I want to create, I’ll sit down with a pen and paper and start sketching out some designs that have been swirling around in my head. 

Designing jewelry

Sketching is a great way of working out the 3 dimensions of a piece of jewelry. I’ll not only sketch the front view but also the side and sometimes the top so that I have a sense of what the finished piece will look like, feel like and how I’ll build the first model.

Step 2: Model Making

From there I’ll go to my workbench and start shaping the piece – usually with a combination of wax and metal-smithing techniques. This will become the model– or the original piece that all others are made from– so it has to be perfect. 

To make sure it’s as close to perfect as possible I measure the depth, thickness, and height many times until it’s exactly right. For me, this means going back to the piece over and over again. It’s incredibly detailed work so I’ll take breaks to help me keep my sanity! 

Some models take a few hours to carve and some take a few days, it depends on whether or not the piece is cooperating with me.

Step 3: Casting

Once the model is finished, I need to have a mold made so that it can be duplicated and we can customize the metal, gemstone, ring size to fit you perfectly.

I work with a local family-owned casting company here in NYC to make my castings. They are experts at what they do and I trust them with my work.

Casting takes a lot of heat and time, and of course molten metal!

Step 4: Clean up

Once I get the raw metal castings back I have to check them for any imperfections and clean them up. I’ll remove any excess silver, smooth out the surface, solder on posts or jump-rings and oxidize them if they need a patina.

Step 5: Stone Setting

Next up is my favorite part because I get to play with gemstones (it’s literally like candy to me)!

I use an electric hammer to close the bezel over the stone to hold it securely in place. This is the most nerve-wracking part because there is a risk of breaking the stone if you slip and the hammer hits the stone. But it’s worth it in the end because it holds the stone very tightly and I love the bezeled look.

Step 6: Polishing

The final step is polishing, and it can go quickly or it can show imperfections that I may have missed earlier in the process. Sometimes I have to start all over again if the piece doesn’t meet my quality standards after it’s polished. I am a perfectionist and want my customers to LOVE their Metalicious jewelry so I’m particular about what I send out.

Inside The Metalicious Studio

That’s the whole process! I hope you can see how much love I put into every piece of jewelry we make and that you wear your Metalicious jewelry with pride that you’re supporting a woman-owned business!

– Stephanie

Learn more about Stephanie from her Q+A. Read Now >

Follow @SilpadaDesigns on Facebook and Instagram for updates, weekly sales, chances to win free jewelry, and more! 

Shop Stephanie’s exclusive collections for Silpada when they launch on August 26! 

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