It's a question I often get asked and one that is incredibly difficult to answer! As most of my work is one offs, every piece takes a different amount of time. Sometimes I make a piece that can take me an hour, sometimes, it may have taken months.
But, making the product is only half of the story as each piece has had to be "designed". I think this is something that is often forgotten in every product that we use. I'm not really magic and I don't have a head full of finished pieces of jewellery that I can just make. I have to go through the design process with every piece, just as the designer of virtually everything we use or wear has also done.
So, I thought I'd try and explain what goes into each piece and you can make your own mind up about the amount of time it's taken....
1. Design Brief - This may be a clients idea, a competition, or a brief I've set myself for a new collection.
2. Research - Talking to the client, taking photographs, finding out about the occasion / theme, agreeing a final design brief.
3. Initial Ideas - Producing several initial pencil sketches based on my research or clients brief. There might be lots of these!
4. Developing Ideas - Producing more detailed drawings, showing measurements, materials etc. These are the ones the client gets to see. Sometimes this also involves making a prototype.
5. Costing - Working out how much everything will cost, materials, time spent designing and making.
6. Showing my ideas to my client. This is usually by email but there are sometimes changes and another set of drawings to produce.
7. Making the piece - a very small part of the process!
8. Hallmarking - Every piece of jewellery made in a precious metal above a certain weight has to be hallmarked. This usually takes about a week.
9. Setting stones, polishing and packaging - Every piece will have its final finish applied and will then be photographed, boxed and if required, packaged for posting.
10. Post / meeting the client - All of my jewellery is posted using Royal Mail Special Delivery and will be insured. Alternatively, if you are local, then collection can be arranged.
See why I find it so difficult to explain how long a piece takes to make?
You can see from all of these stages, that the making part is a very small part of the who process of making a piece of jewellery. There's some photo's of just the making part below....