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It starts at the design stage…and, as every artist knows, it can take a few days. Inspiration can come suddenly pop up; a perfume, a picture or a landscape may create a collection. However, there are other times when days or weeks go past. They design something then erase it then try again and then give up again… But then, once again, like the calm after the storm, the design takes its form, as a ring, a pendant or some earrings… From this point on, the Salvadori Jewel starts to come alive.
Each jewel requires different techniques. A piece of metal can start to be worked on straight away and the hand-drawn design can be tranferred onto a computer, for greater accuracy. From this moment on, in addition to the dexterity and experience of the goldsmith, some technical work will take place, made to thousandths of a millimetre, with corners, edges, curves.
Following different paths, a model with finally be made. Sometimes we are lucky and they are just perfect. Other times this doesn’t happen, and the process is started again, making changes; some parts are thinned, made fainter or strengthened. When they are sure of the form, they begin to drill. We must choose the size of the holes, because this is where the jewels will be placed. The drilling should follow the shape of the object, it must be gentle and progressive. They work to achieve the desired result. It is here that the final quality is chosen, determining the price that a particular object will have. Some pieces, however, require the setter to then determine the holes.
It is necessary to adapt to the needs of a particular jewel. The entire processing step to obtain the first prototype, in gold or platinum, can take up to three or four months of work. Sometimes even more for complicated pieces.
The piece is polished to reach all surfaces, even the most hidden. From the workshop, they go back to the store. Another long and tiring process of selecting diamonds starts. There’s no mention of carats this time, but of millimetres and of sieve sizes. They choose the diamonds one by one according to their size and the size of the holes and prepare the maps for the setters. On the map the number of the stones, the total carat weight and the number of sieve will be shown.
This is how the art of gem setting starts. It may take weeks to embed the diamonds in an object. A bracelet can accommodate up to five hundred or more gems. As tradition dictates, there should be a single setter for a unique piece of jewellery. An object cannot be finished by two different hands. All the stones must be embedded in a uniform manner. The equipment used is very small in size to allow for tiny processing. There is a further decision to be made, the type of setting; pave, prong, bezel, channel, bead-set and burnish… The embedded jewel is ready for further cleaning and polishing.
Finally the Salvadori Jewel is returned, complete, to the store. However, the artistic director will give it a final inspection. With a 10x magnifying glass, all the work is inspected. If the piece is worthy of holding the purity of its diamonds, then the Salvadori jewel is ready for the purity of the feelings of those who will buy it.