Custom Jewelry Gallery
Step 1: In Studio Design
Our design team members each have more than 25 years in the jewelry industry and a wealth of knowledge to share with you about your choice of metal, gems and style options.
We know that this is a unique expression of YOU so we will listen carefully to your vision and offer suggestions based on the level of input you would like us to share.
We will sketch out the design for you from several angles so that we can be sure that what you have pictured in your mind is what will be created in reality...it's a fascinating process and we can't wait to share it with you!
Step 2: Wax Model
There are several ways to create a custom item, some can be made directly in metal, but often we use a "lost wax" casting process. Once we have agreed on a sketch for your design, our master jeweler will hand carve all of the parts of the design that will be metal out of a special type of wax. This is where Eddie's experience, artistry and sculptural abilities really shine!
While some manufacturers use CAD/CAM machines and computers to render a design, we believe that a true work of art comes from the soul. Eddie's creative fingerprint is on every unique work that comes from McNulty Jewelers.
Once the wax model is made, we will set up an appointment for you to see the design in 3D! You will have the opportunity to see the height, width and general proportions before we do the final casting.
The wax model is then attached to a wax "sprue" which acts like a funnel at the top of the mold to allow the metal to flow properly into the mold. A flask with holes is taped or sleeved so that the investment (mold making material similar to a heat resistant plaster of paris) fills in every space around the wax model and then this is vacuumed to be sure that the mold is compact and air bubble free. The mixture is allowed to set overnight and then the tape or sleeve is removed. The jeweler then puts the mold in a kiln to burn out the wax leaving a precise mold.
Step 3: Mold Making
Step 4: Casting
The metal is then melted and poured into the mold using a centrifuge. This allows a more consistent flow of molten metal as well as less porosity than other methods which can allow more air to be trapped in the casting. This method causes the metal to be more dense and therefore more durable. Once the metal cools a bit, the whole mold and metal casting are quenched in water. The mold dissolves to reveal the casted item.
Step 5: Finishing
The rough casting has a slightly fuzzy appearance after casting so the jeweler then clips off the sprue, files and polishes the metal to the desired finish. Each gem is hand picked to be sure of well matched color, clarity, size and make. He then sets the gems into the settings. This is an exacting task in which a "seat" is cut into each prong or channel that exactly fits the shape of each gem selected. Metal is folded over each gem to assure secure settings and a final finish polish is done. Your piece is now complete! What was once an idea is now a reality, a unique to you, wearable work of art.