process_mh

THE PROCESS

Becoming a customer of Michael Smiley’s can involve so much more than just simply walking in and picking out a piece from the showcase. There are many steps in the process of having a custom piece of jewellery made.

consultation_img
STEP 1: THE CONSULTATION

Before any of the actual jewellery designing begins, Michael sits down with his clients to get to know them on a personal level. This includes discussing likes and dislikes to streamline the design process.

Next, customers use pictures, physical pieces in his inventory, and verbal descriptions to convey to Michael what they envision for their piece. This reciprocal communication allows for Michael to get a sense of direction towards what the customer is looking for in their custom piece of jewellery. Michael will sketch a few things to convey ideas during this step in the process. We will also discuss what gemstones may be required for the piece.

 

STEP 2: GEMSTONE COLLECTION

Based on our initial conversation, if Michael didn’t already have the stones required, the customer will return to choose from gemstone options that we’ve resourced and brought in on their behalf.

gemstone selection
Michael Smiley Sketched Designs
STEP 3: SKETCHED DESIGNS

If a specific gemstone is chosen (if required), Michael will sketch a number of design options based on his conversation with the clients. The customer will choose from those sketches, discussing any modifications to the design based on personal preference.

STEP 4: WAX MODEL OR FABRICATION

Depending on design the piece will be fabricated (made by hand) or cast (a wax model is required) or the combination of both techniques. If the piece is cast, two-dimensional sketches and images come to life in a three-dimensional wax model. Some pieces are carved by hand, others are created using CAD rendering. If the CAD process is used the wax model would either be cut with rotary cutters or printed with a 3D printer.

casting
STEP 5: CASTING

The wax model of the custom piece is used as the original form in the lost wax casting process. The wax is encased in a flask containing a plaster-like substance (called investment).

When the investment dries, the wax is burnt out to create a cavity into which the molten metal is injected using centrifugal force. The investment is destroyed in order to remove the casting from the flask. The rough casting of the piece is dull and unpolished.

 

STEP 6: METAL WORK

Michael will take the casting and any other raw materials required and assemble them by hand.

Fabrication could vary from something as simple as bending and soldering gold rod all the way to very intricate manufacturing of mechanisms and design elements. He will then polish the piece fully prior to the setting of any gemstones.

 

metalwork
stonesetting
STEP 7: SETTING THE STONES

After the piece is properly prepared, the stones are set into the metal using traditional gem setting techniques.

STEP 8: FINAL POLISH

As the second last step of the process, the custom piece of jewellery is fine-tuned and given its final polish and clean.

finalpolish
STEP 9: FINISHED PIECE

Once the piece is complete Michael photographs it for our portfolio. It is then ready for the customer to pick up and enjoy for many years to come.

 
process_mh

THE PROCESS

Becoming a customer of Michael Smiley’s can involve so much more than just simply walking in and picking out a piece from the showcase. There are many steps in the process of having a custom piece of jewellery made.

consultation_img
STEP 1: THE CONSULTATION

Before any of the actual jewellery designing begins, Michael sits down with his clients to get to know them on a personal level. This includes discussing likes and dislikes to streamline the design process.

 

Next, customers use pictures, physical pieces in his inventory, and verbal descriptions to convey to Michael what they envision for their piece. This reciprocal communication allows for Michael to get a sense of direction towards what the customer is looking for in their custom piece of jewellery. Michael will sketch a few things to convey ideas during this step in the process. We will also discuss what gemstones may be required for the piece.

gemstoneselection
STEP 2: GEMSTONE COLLECTION

Based on the initial conversation if Michael didn’t already have the stones required, the customer will return to choose from the gemstone options that he has resourced and brought in on their behalf.

sketcheddesigns
STEP 3: SKETCHED DESIGNS

After a specific gemstone is chosen (if required), Michael will sketch a number of design options based on his conversation with the clients. The customer will choose from those sketches, discussing any modifications to the design based on personal preference.

model_1
STEP 4: WAX MODEL OR FABRICATION

Depending on design the piece will be fabricated (made by hand) or cast (a wax model is required) or the combination of both techniques. If the piece is cast, two-dimensional sketches and images come to life in a three-dimensional wax model. Some pieces are carved by hand, others are created using CAD rendering. If the CAD process is used the wax model would either be cut with rotary cutters or printed with a 3D printer.

casting
STEP 5: CASTING

The wax model of the custom piece is used as the original form in the lost wax casting process. The wax is encased in a flask containing a plaster-like substance (called investment). When the investment dries, the wax is burnt out to create a cavity into which the molten metal is injected using centrifugal force. The investment is destroyed in order to remove the casting from the flask. The rough casting of the piece is dull and unpolished.

metalwork
STEP 6: METAL WORK & PREPARATION FOR STONE SETTING

Michael will take the casting and any other raw materials required and assemble them by hand. Fabrication could vary from something as simple as bending and soldering gold rod all the way to very intricate manufacturing of mechanisms and design elements. He will then polish the piece fully prior to the setting of any gemstones.

stonesetting
STEP 7: SETTING THE STONES

After the piece is properly prepared, the stones are set into the metal using traditional gem setting techniques.

finalpolish
STEP 8: FINAL POLISH

As the second last step of the process, the custom piece of jewellery is fine-tuned and given its final polish and clean.

Finished_mobile
STEP 9: FINISHED PEICE

Once the piece is complete Michael photographs it for our portfolio. It is then ready for the customer to pick up and enjoy for many years to come.