The chainsmith – an independent profession with tradition
Making necklaces is essentially an ancient craft. Starting in the Bronze Age, the traditional profession of chain goldsmith has only changed today through the development of efficient tools and machines. Although it is now possible to produce delicate chains industrially, this production technology does not meet the requirements of larger, high-quality jewelry chains and bracelets. With the elaborate production of semi-solid Chain links can also be used to create fantastic jewelry chains in larger shapes, without putting too much weight on the wearing comfort as is the case, for example massive Chains of the same size are the case.
At the beginning of every piece of jewelry, including the chain production, is the raw material. For LILLY CLOU bracelets and necklaces, this is silver. Around the for jewelry To achieve essential properties such as a certain hardness and forgeability, the fine silver is alloyed , i.e. mixed with other metals. For the commercially available silver alloy, 7.5% copper is added. This creates 925 silver, also known as sterling silver.
Using rollers and Pressing the material is compacted , hardened and reduced to the desired sheet thickness. In industrial manufacturing and mass production, very thin material thicknesses are primarily used. The thin-walled pieces of jewelry produced from it Although they are light and therefore cheaper, they also have unpleasant disadvantages. Anyone who wears a bracelet of this type will be able to notice that if the weight is too low, the piece of jewelry appears “tiny”, which can be seen not least by its rattling noise. That's why we at LILLY CLOU attach great importance to slightly thicker-walled raw materials. The resulting pieces of jewelry are significantly less susceptible to signs of wear and feel valuable thanks to their pleasant weight.
(The material is compacted using rollers and presses)
After rolling the silver sheets, they are made by the chain goldsmith bent and brought into tube shape by using a so-called drawing bench. In order to avoid kinking and flattening of the precious metal tube during the deformation process a copper wire, which the chainsmith calls “soul,” is drawn into the tube. The transformation of the silver tube into individual eyelets is the next step in the chainsmith's work process. The precious metal tube is wound spirally around a steel mandrel. By cutting through each individual winding with fine saws, a large number of silver eyelets are created - the initial shape of every link chain. The copper soul that was initially drawn into the silver pipe must now be dissolved using acids so that only the valuable silver remains. The corrosion resistance of the precious metals is used here, because while the copper wire is eaten away by the acid, the silver remains undamaged. This process is also what makes the production of semi-solid jewelry chains so much more complex and time-consuming compared to solid jewelry chains.
( the precious metal tube is wound spirally around a steel mandrel )
Now the precious silver is once again exposed to extremely high temperatures, because the chainsmith carefully hangs each eyelet by eye and solders each individual joint with a flame hotter than 800°C.
(the anchor bracelet is soldered)
Many different types of chains can be created through deformation , for example by twisting the chain like ours Paola bracelet , or by stretching the individual links, creating the characteristic looks of our Anne Colliers or Grace bracelets arise.
The crowning achievement in the production of chain jewelry is ultimately the polishing. Various polishing brushes and wax-like pastes gradually give the initially matt piece of jewelry its fascinating shine.
(The Paola bracelet retains its shine)
- High-quality silver necklaces and bracelets are meticulously handcrafted and require a variety of work steps.
- Semi-solid silver chains offer the highest level of comfort and are very resistant to signs of wear thanks to their thick-walled raw material.
- Silver chains that are too thin-walled are usually manufactured industrially and appear tinny (clatter).
- Using special techniques, the chainsmith creates a wide variety of chain shapes.
Author : Marco Mauchle, goldsmith