Ever wondered how our jewelry is made? Behind every piece of Curious Creatures jewelry lies a meticulous and fascinating process by hand that brings precious metals and gemstones to life.
The process starts with an idea, a vision. Our talented jewelry designers sketch, render, and conceptualize the jewelry's form, drawing inspiration from the raw nature of gem stones, travels and nature.
Then, depending on the design, gemstones, pearls, or alternative materials like enamel are considered.
Before we decide to retail each design, a rubber mould based on the drawing is created to produce samples first. We wear the sample pieces to make sure they’re comfortable, does not cause any inconveniences (think designs with pointed edges), and of course – look good (😉), before they are being produced in batches.
Production officially starts at this stage – multiple wax replicas are created from the rubber mould by injecting wax into the mould’s cavities. The wax pieces are soldered onto a stem, known as a casting tree.
The casting tree is then put into a container and a concoction of plaster is poured into the container. Once the plaster solidifies, the containers are placed in a furnace which melts the wax and further cures the plaster, leaving a negative space of what the tree was.
At the Casting process, silver is poured into this space and allowed to cool off. Once cooled, the plaster is dissolved and what we are left with is the model of the wax tree but now in silver form.
Fun fact: Silver in its original state is very ‘white’, unlike what you see when you receive your jewelry. They need to be filed, polished and plated to achieve the final look.
The jewelry pieces are individually removed from the stem and tree, before getting filed (smoothened), polished and thoroughly cleaned. This step is crucial for removing any imperfections, rough edges, blemishes or contaminants from the metal surface, in preparation for the next stage – plating.
Each piece is then carefully placed on the plating racks, which will be immersed in the plating bath where the electro-plating process takes place. This process repeats 5 times (that is, 5 layers!) in different metal baths starting with the following for the respective jewelry metal colour:
Silver: Silver → Silver (again) → Palladium → Platinum → Rhodium
Champagne Gold: Silver → Silver (again) → Palladium → 18k Champagne Gold* → Anti-tarnish Coating
Rose Gold: Silver → Silver (again) → Palladium → 18k Rose Gold* → Anti-tarnish Coating
You might wonder, why so many layers?
The plating process is a crucial step in jewelry production as it enhances not only the appearance but also the durability of the jewelry. The choice of plating material can significantly impact the final look and quality of the jewelry.
Silver is highly reactive and oxidises very easily. Plating the first 2 layers with silver helps to protect the base metal (silver). The palladium plating gives another layer of protection as palladium is a much less reactive metal, is strong and durable. The fourth layer is what makes the final colour of the jewelry and the last layer helps with the inevitable oxidation that happens to most silver jewelry in a humid climate, like Singapore.
💡Do you know..
Most jewelry that are advertised as tarnish-free uses stainless steel as its base metal. It’s important to ask or find out what material the jewelry is made of, especially when it’s being described as being gold or silver-plated but doesn’t specify a base metal.
And finally, at the last stage of production is the setting of gemstones, as well as final touches which can include a last round of polishing and buffing to enhance the jewelry’s lustre. Thereafter, another 2 rounds of quality control takes place before they are being packaged and delivered.
For every piece of Curious Creatures jewelry, hands-on craftsmanship is essential at every stage of production from start to finish. Hence, we only produce in small batches to maintain quality over quantity.
Got a question about how we make our jewelry? Ask away!