I will be attending the Santa Fe Symposium of Jewelry Manufacturing Technology this month to keep up with emerging technologies and insights in jewelry manufacturing! This year marks 40 years of my own experience in jewelry design and manufacturing and this conference keeps me current on emerging industry technologies.
Here is a look at a couple of pieces from my custom jewelry making past. I am particularly proud to have participated in the creation of a belt of Conchas presented to Eddie Bell, founder of the Santa Fe Symposium. A Concha is a typically a round decorative piece of metal seen on a western saddle and other horse equipment descended from the Spanish tradition.
I have presented research topics there 5 times so far and will contribute again. Making this Concha for Eddie’s belt remains a highlight.
Gary Dawson Jewelry Design~Quality & Integrity…Always
First posted on August 7th, 2011 in this blog, the ongoing Janus project has developed a life of its own as one of the most popular designs I offer. The Janus charm featured in the movie The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie was the original inspiration for this project. I haven’t kept the best records going back that far so I don’t have exacting info but my version of the Janus design has shipped to many far-flung locations in Europe, Asia and Australia over the past few years!
Since I elaborate on the development of the design in that 2011 post, I won’t do it again here. If you haven’t seen that post and are interested, you can use the blog’s search feature using “coupla” as a search term and get right to it.
Earlier this month I got a call from Cathryn Feely (name used with her permission) in Southern California asking about the possibility of a two-toned version of the Janus pendant/charm. This is something I had thought about before but had not yet implemented. This is the story about that implementation and it is a perfect example of the juxtaposition of old and new technologies…the idea of “appropriate technology” being one of my current focus points.
In working with Cathryn, the first step was to do a concept rendering. For this I imported an existing photo of the pendant in Sterling Silver into Rhinoceros, my 3D design application and simply superimposed a circle of yellow beads around the perimeter.
We agreed that it looked pretty cool so far! We then proceeded to discuss the idea of also making the connection jump-ring and bail gold. Using a fantastic little (and free) application called Zsurf I was able to create a hightfield-difference surface of the Janus image and use that instead of the photo to create the rendering above.
Then, by trimming an injection-wax version of my original Janus
carving, and printing the bead ring with bail connector on my trusty B9Creator®, I was able to show Cathryn a live version of our progress.
Upon receiving Cathryn’s enthusiastic go-ahead, I cast the two components separately, the trimmed Janus faces in Platinaire® (a Sterling Silver alloy containing 5% Platinum) and bead ring and bail in a warm-toned 14K yellow gold. Mating the two with a laser tack-weld to insure perfect alignment and then soldering with silver solder resulted in this finished piece!
This two-toned Janus is now part of my ongoing offering and can be found here on the Gary Dawson Jewelry Design website. Juxtaposition isn’t only one of my favorite words, it can be a useful way to think about design. Maybe when it comes down to it, it *is* design!
Jewelry Design Inspiration = Designspiration!
The ideas of multiverse, teleportation and inter-dimensionality seem to co-mingle frequently in popular culture, perhaps reflecting recent insights into the building blocks of our perceived universe. (e.g. Higgs boson, et al.) Two movies released in 2014 are good examples. “Predestination” a Michael and Peter Spierig take on Heinlein’s short story, “All you Zombies” is one contemporary-classic mind-fuck that I can highly recommend. I thought it was very well done as the plot unfolds slowly, layer by layer to the twisted end. “Interstellar”, is a Christopher Nolan epic that didn’t fully captivate me but did hold my interest. In fairness, the theme of inter-dimensionality is a tough row to hoe, (pun if you’ve seen the movie) so I think a little slack here is appropriate especially as it offers up the sublimely profound statement, “Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends time and space”. Think about that for a moment and you may have an epiphany. I found the statement by TARS, the robot, “I have a cue light I can use to show you when I’m joking, if you like.” less profound but amusing. I wonder if I can get one installed on my forehead for those that just don’t seem to get my humor?
So after a recent late evening in my studio, I flipped through entertainment options as I indulged myself a cocktail and began to prepare my dinner of various leftovers. Alysia was somewhere else and I was, for that moment, completely in my own space. I’ve always been a sci-fi fan so without any real fantastic options I landed on a 2008 Doug Liman movie, “Jumper”. This movie apparently had a great opening weekend but pretty much got ravaged by the majority of critics. The fact that I didn’t even finish it may attest to its banality but I suspect it was the second, or maybe third drink that eventually put me to bed prior to the end. I’m usually good through any movie that I start.
The following morning, I woke up with this exact design in my head…
…and at that point had no idea where the heck it came from. I had a Jewelry Design Inspiration or “designspiration” and I was intrigued enough to sit with “Design Station”, (my trusty built-for-me desktop) while I had morning coffee and create this fairly simple geometry. Still a little baffled about from where the inspiration for this design came, I posted it on both my personal and business Facebook pages with the query of, “Does this mean anything to anybody?” An acquaintance of mine, another well-known jewelry designer said that it was an inter-dimensional portal. I had to like that comment because…
About then I remembered Jumper and the entire fascinating concept of the Multiverse, something I actually think about a lot. It dawned on me that this design probably wasn’t a portal, but could
be a key to a portal! Layers of meaning began falling into place as I took this design through the printing process on my trusty B9Creator© and then cast one in 14K Rose Gold and one in Sterling Silver.
Toying with the cast design, I note interesting visual effects when I peer through one grid pattern onto the opposing one.
The most fascinating thing for me remains that empirical science seems to be circling back around to include metaphysics. I found this button sometime around 40 years ago and it has since decorated my workspace environment along with an amulet given me by my best friend of that time.
Maybe we all, mostly unknowingly, make our own world after all!
Check out Gary Dawson Jewelry Design to make your jewelry dreams come to life!
And speaking of portals, stay tuned next week as we revisit the Janus project, with the introduction of a new twist! Janus, of course, being the Roman god of portals and new beginnings. Thanks so much for reading this and sharing it with your friends!
Steps to Gem Cutting
Once the gems are shaped and polished they can be set into the ring.
Ring with one gem set
Using a graver to clean up the bezels holding the gems securely in place.
With both gems set, the bezel is cleaned up with a sharp tool called a graver.
This demonstrates a very primitive, but effective gem cutting process. To see the work of one of my favorite cutters check out the award winning page of John Dyer!
Cutting edge 3D jewelry printing augmented by old-fashioned rock cutting…appropriate technology at every step of the way.
I went from this…
In several steps.
I had taken an order for this ring design, created with CAD and 3D jewelry printing, with an unusual gem placement request from my client. Instead of putting the two gems he wanted on the top of the ring, he wanted them place at the 3 and 9 o’clock position on the shank. For this purpose they had to be not only a certain diameter, but fairly shallow so as not to impose on the sides of adjoining fingers to the point of being uncomfortable. Not only did I not have the perfect gems in my inventory, I couldn’t find them as I called around my normal supply chain. I did have, however, a few nice rough, river tumbled Montana Sapphire crystals. So I cut them myself…
Next week: The Steps.
Stay tuned as Gary Dawson Jewelry Design walks through the steps of cutting rough Montana Sapphire into gems to integrate into a CAD design. Custom Jewelry at its finest!