handmade jewelry

Natural Jewelry - How it's made

how it's madeKarolien Severins

This blogpost is all about how I use tiny details from nature to create Sterling Silver and (18ct) gold jewelry.

If you don’t like reading a lot, I also made a video about this topic, check it here:

When I go outside for a walk in the park or we’re hiking in the forest : I am always inspired by nature and I am keeping my eyes open, looking out for beautiful, natural details. Like little leafs from a tree or a plant or seeds from a flower. Anything can really inspire me! I might take pictures to use as a reference later or I pick small details from nature and bring them home to my studio, that’s were the real fun begins!

natural jewelry

I’ll start playing around with these natural pieces, combing them, trying out different shapes and compositions. Sometimes I see a ring or a pendant or an earring in a new combination and I’ll work further in that direction. So I usually don’t sketch my ideas for these type of designs on paper, since they grow kinda organically while working at my bench. Some other compositions I might really like, but I don’t know how or where to wear them as jewelry. When I have pieces like that, it might help me to sketch a little to figure out what kind of jewelry it can become. Most of the time these pieces will be put aside and I’ll check them again later, because sometimes it just seems very difficult to know what direction to go with a piece, but after a break it is much easier.

So how do I make those natural items stick together?

Well, I use the lost wax technique, it is one of the oldest techniques in the jewelry making history. I use melted wax like a sort of glue to stick the pieces together.

When I am happy with the designs, they’re casted into solid Sterling silver. The casting process is the only part of the process I am not doing myself, because I don’t have all the machines and materials you need for that. Luckily there are some casting companies nearby.

After casting in silver I finish the pieces at my bench. Sometimes they are perfect and just how I imagine them to be and only need some small touch ups or changes, but some pieces have little cracks or mistakes or casting didn’t work out perfectly. I finish all the designs and than see which ones I love most. The designs that I love most are selected to create a mold from, so the mold can be filled with wax and that wax again gets casted into silver or gold. This way I can re-create the exact piece again. Or well... exact might not be the correct word, since I finish every piece by hand and I like it that they’re all a little bit different and unique. So the steps of finishing after casting are the following:

STEP 1: I’ll start by cutting off the sprue with my piercing saw.

STEP 2: I’ll file the area where the sprue was to make it smoother.

STEP 3: With something like ear studs, for example, this is the moment I solder the Earring posts or do any other soldering that I need to do on that specific design.

When it is cleaned after soldering it is time for STEP 4: to sand down the whole piece, but I’m always very carefull with this step, because I don’t want to take away the natural texture of these pieces.

STEP 5: they are polished and cleaned up, ready for packaging and ready to wear. 

If you’re interested in finding out more, since this is just one of the many processes and techniques I use to create my jewelry, consider subscribing to my newsletter or follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Thank you very much for reading my blog and have a great day