Your Jewelry Is Like A Romantic Dance

Crazy things you can do in Ireland

Have you ever felt so deeply about something in your life that you just couldn’t ignore it? A calling that the more you put off, the louder it got? That’s pretty much my experience to a tee. You see, I have a passion for working with my hands and learned that I love swinging a hammer. Sounds crazy, right? Well, not totally crazy. Before I started creating jewelry, I took a silversmithing workshop in Ireland. In that workshop, I learned how to use a hammer to hammer out simple shapes from copper sheet. Using a hammer I turned those shapes into bowls. It’s an AMAZING process! You might be thinking, “big deal, you made a bowl. How hard can that be?” To tell you the truth, it’s quite difficult. I wasn’t that excited about making a bowl at first, but I was there to learn all I could. So, in two weeks so with an open mind I did just that.
 
Jamie Santellano
My projects from a two-week workshop in silversmithing in Ireland.

Possibilities are endless when you make a bowl

At first, I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy the process of making a bowl much less the endless possibilities. You see, in silversmithing, there’s what’s called the plasticity of metal. A term I knew nothing about at the time. In simple terms, it’s taking a piece of metal and pounding it with a hammer, or bending it into a new shape. As I learned how to make a bowl (one of the most primitive items that can be made) I fell in love with the techniques we used. Most of the hammering techniques I learned were for shaping. One, in particular, is for compressing and work-hardening the metal. This technique is called planishing and done at the very end in most cases to work-harden the item.
 

Techniques you can use to create a gorgeous sparkle

Planishing is done by the hammer striking the surface of the metal repeatedly. As the metal form is slightly moved over a stake the metal is work-hardened. What’s left behind is a gorgeous sparkling texture. There are a few different uses for planishing and in making jewelry I use it for decorative purposes. It makes handmade jewelry look very distinctive. You can definitely tell when a piece of jewelry has been handmade when you see these marks. My favorite feature of planishing is the reflective surface it creates. When light hits the surface of the metal its reflected outwardly. It’s a gorgeous effect if you want to create a bit of sparkle, and it’s the mark of the silversmith and goldsmith.
 
Traditional Hammered Texture on Jewelry

When you’re swept away by beauty it’s fairytale-like

It was exciting to learn a technique I’d been admiring for years before and not knowing how it was done, or why. I’ve just always loved hammered textures. I remember going to the renaissance fair and seeing it on pewter goblets, and tankards. There’s something romantic about it. You could say, I’m swept away by its beauty…kinda fairytale-like. I wanted to capture this alluring hammered texture in my signature collection. That way you can experience the magic of it. It’s kinda like stepping back in time with today’s sophistication and style.
 

Creating your jewelry with his legacy and passion

Planishing is one of my favorite things to do in silversmithing and making jewelry. I find planishing a ring or any other item I’m creating to be meditative. It requires intense focus and I must totally be in-the-zone. Sometimes I get lost in the work and feel like it’s a dance between me and something outside of me that’s divine. Just last summer I lost my grandfather who also adored making silver jewelry. Grandpa Richard left his legacy for me to carry on. Making jewelry is a passion we shared and sometimes it feels like he’s here with me. Maybe that connection to the divine I’m feeling is him working through me? Who’s to say for sure? I just know that it’s exciting, blissful, meditative and at best a spiritual process that is full of passion and love.
 
Grandpa Richard and me

My gift to you

While I was creating the Eternity Circle NecklaceDiamond of Eternity NecklaceSterling Silver Threader Earringsand the Sterling Silver Hoop Earrings, I wanted that personal touch to shine through. By capturing the essence of the cycles of time that I’d seen while on my travels in Europe I used the shape of a circle to express the experiences I had. If you’ve ever been to Europe you’ll know exactly what I mean. That being said, I’ve made this traditional hammered texture a part of my signature collection. It’s my gift for you to enjoy daily and I’m sure you’ll feel like royalty as you walk around wearing my creations.
 

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