Jewelry-making is an alchemy - a blend of art and technology. The craftsperson applies
his skill and expertise to transform basic elements such as silver and gold, into
beautiful and lasting works of art. At Gerhard's studio, each piece is created entirely
by hand. Working closely with one trained assistant, manufacture is a labor-intensive
process whereby each piece undergoes several stages of development. First, a sheet
of metal is cut to shape. Next, it is formed utilizing traditional handforging and
anticlastic raising techniques.
Initial blank for earring style 608 shown below. Cut from SS/14K Gold sheet.
Forging and anticlastic raising are processes in which hammers are used to shape
the metal by simultaneously stretching and compressing the material. Like a sculptor
who develops his forms from a block of clay, the accomplished metalsmith skillfully
demonstrates the intrinsic plastic quality of metal and generally renders the original
shape unrecognizable in the finished form.
Sequential stages of the anticlastic forming process for earring style 608
The images above illustrate some of the various stages of the manufacturing process
of earring style 608. Once the forming process is complete, the metalsmith then sands
and polishes the piece, resulting in a beautiful piece of jewelry.