A Crafted Process - accompanied by pics / sketches? (steps-of-jewelry-making-process)
Gold and silver is rarely used in its pure form as it much too soft to take the hard knocks of daily wear. To begin, we alloy these elements with other metals to obtain the desired balance of colour, ductility, hardness and strength. Propane is mixed with oxygen to create a flame to melt the metals quickly and evenly in specialized ceramic crucibles. The molten metal is poured into a mold to cool.
The cooled metal is repeatedly struck with a hammer in a process called forging. This alters its internal structure at a molecular level, effectively increasing the material’s hardness and tensile strength. Multiple passes through a rolling mill complete this step with the added benefit of pre-smoothing / evening the surface.
Don't let the dainty appearance fool you. This little jeweller’s saw is capable of doing some big things. Its wire blade allows a great degree of freedom when maneuvering through curves and into tight spaces. The saw is a must when cutting the starting forms / shapes from metal plate.
The hands are the most important tool in crafting our jewelry. It takes years to learn not only the techniques, but also to the develop the muscle memory required to create each piece – from forming, sculpting, and everything in between.
These purpose formulated alloys act as the ‘glue’. Their lower melting point allows us to fuse the parts of jewelry together without the surrounding components disintegrating. The utmost of attention is exercised here, to prevent the solder from running. The welds are sanded afterwards to ensure a seamless appearance / surface, and more importantly, to check the join has filled properly.
Filing is arguably the most difficult skill to master. It is the principal way our goldsmiths sculpt the metal. Precision counts. The practiced form of the goldsmith must be perfect, even machine-like. Improper form can result in lopsidedness, an uneven contour and dull edges.
In this final stage, the deliberate / practiced, careful movements of the goldsmith bring out the finish of the jewelry that is held against a spinning buff. To achieve a mirror finish, several buffs are used, each preloaded with a polishing abrasive from coarse to fine. A bath in the ultrasonic cleaner is used to remove any excess polishing compound before being placed on a drying rack.
We work from a palette or precious metals ranging from sterling silver, fine 14 karat, 18 karat, and 19 karat gold. Each alloy has been carefully selected to present / provide the best balance of ductility, strength, malleability and beauty. Over time, each piece will develop a unique patina, an identifier/ signpost specific to each owner.
- 925 Sterling Silver (92.5 % pure silver)
- 18k yellow gold (75% pure gold)
- 18k rose gold (75% pure gold)
- 19k white gold (79.1% pure gold)
Using a multi-step process, each piece is buffed to a high polish. The top surface and and edges are brushed to evoke an industrial aesthetic.
Leaving our stamp on the larger world. / Doing our duty while making less of one.
Low Footprint Manufacturing
Reflecting our commitment to socially responsible labor practices, Noren products are handmade in Vancouver by our in-house studio. Craft is a natural extension of our heritage as specialists in custom jewelry. The foundational / core techniques were honed over centuries, preserved by passing on the collected body of knowledge from master to apprentice.
A Greener Quality
Products made to last longer and be repairable reduce the strain on the resources are extracted from Earth. By keeping production local, we retain close oversight over quality while reducing carbon emissions related to shipping had manufacturing been moved overseas. We intend to return greater value to items and to undermine the culture of disposability so ingrained today.
Metals - Reusing more, taking less.
We make our products using only recycled sources of gold and silver. As precious metals, why waste such an invaluable resource? Aside from mining’s exploitative labor practices and notoriety for fuelling conflicts, mining generates tons of waste and degrades the environment.
Our suppliers are committed to conservation, and have undergone rigorous independent audits by Scientific Certification Services (SCS), a global leader in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, testing and standards development.
Diamonds - Lending some clarity
Noren abhors the role conflict diamonds have played in our industry and are grateful that in 2003, a process to keep these stones out of the legitimate market was installed. These controls are called The Kimberley Process and although not yet watertight, are a fantastic improvement over what was present before.
A pragmatic reality has entered the industry where people have come to see that good comes to their countries and citizens from having open and free markets for legitimately mined stones. The cessation of war in Sierra Leone and Angola vastly reduced the supply of conflict stones. If nothing else, self-interest now deters even the unethical from continuing to deal in conflict diamonds.
We insist on stones recognized only as being controlled from mine to dealer by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). Essentially, this process has the governments of over 80 countries attest to the legitimacy of each package leaving their territory. Each sealed, tamper proof package contains diamonds in their rough state from only legitimate and certified mines. These boxes are passed by courier up the sorting, diamond cutting and selling chain under the same sealed-packet system, assuring those of us in the trade have only conflict-free stones to sell.
A Glossary of Jewelry Terms
Confused by the jargon? Know your carat weight from karat gold with this guide to the array of terms used in the world of jewelry.
- A gold alloy consisting of 58.3 % pure gold. Also known as 583 or 585 gold.
18k yellow gold
- A yellow gold alloy consisting of 75% pure gold. A more balanced proportion of copper and silver in the remaining 25% give the metal its characteristic color.
18k rose gold
- A pink hued gold alloy consisting of 75% pure gold. A larger proportion of copper in the alloy give it the rose tinted shade.
19k white gold
- A bright white gold alloy containing 79.1% pure gold that’s quite popular in the Western Canada. What makes it special is that no additional rhodium plating is required to enhance its color, meaning reduced maintenance costs. It does however, contain a small amount of nickel. For those in the minority with nickel allergies, keep this mind.
585 or 583 gold
- A gold alloy consisting of 58.3 % pure gold. Also known as 14 karat gold.
- A gold alloy consisting of 75 % pure gold. Also known as 18 karat gold.
- A silver alloy containing 92.5 % pure silver. Also known as sterling silver.
- In a ring, the round tubular section that a finger slips through.
- A bracelet shaped into an ellipse with an opening at the base to allow for slight adjustments in the fit. Also referred to as a cuff or bracelet.
- An oval shaped article of jewelry worn around the wrist. An opening at the base makes the bracelet easy to put on and remove, plus it facilitates small adjustments in the fit. Also referred to as a bangle or cuff.
- A finishing technique, usually applied by hand to give a surface a matte texture that looks like a bristle brush. It creates depth when offset against a polished finish.
- A unit of weight reserved for gemstones. 1 carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams.
- Clarity is the relative absence of microscopic internal and surface imperfections called inclusions and blemishes. These can take the form of tiny white or black crystals.
- For white diamonds, color refers to the relative colourlessness of the stone. We use grades of H or better.
- It is a measure of how a diamond’s facets interact with light. Cut refers to the proportions, symmetry, and polish of a diamond and has a direct influence on its sparkle. We use a grade of very good or better.
- A bracelet shaped into an ellipse with an opening at the base to allow for slight adjustments in the fit. Also referred to as a bangle or bracelet.
- A precious gemstone made of pure carbon in crystalline form. It is the hardest naturally occurring substance known. Diamond’s resistance to wear make it a perfect choice for jewelry.
- the act of shaping an item / jewelry with one of many of bench files. One of the primary ways a goldsmith / craftsman sculpts jewelry.
- The act of shaping a metal into a desired shape by bending, hammering, pressing, etc.
- A way of personalizing an item by cutting or carving, either by machine or hand, a date, initial or word to commemorate an important event or milestone in life.
- A surface effect or texture typically done in the last stage of the jewelry making process. A polished finish is one example.
- A craftsman / craftsperson who makes gold, silver and for some, platinum articles. An apprentice must begin training as a silversmith before graduating to become a goldsmith. Only the most proficient may go on to work in platinum. A recap: a goldsmith is also a silversmith, but not all are platinumsmiths.
- A unit of mass used in the metric system, defined as one thousandth of a kilogram. The predominant unit used in the jewelry industry as each item is relatively light.
- A measure of the purity of gold. 18 karat gold, for instance contains 75% pure gold (18/24).
- An intense beam of light that we use to engrave jewelry to add a level of personalization to an item.
- A measure of length in the metric system equal to one thousandth of a meter or one tenth of a centimeter.
- A smooth, highly reflective finish obtained by buffing the surface of a metal with various abrasives.
- A restoration of the original showroom finish. As refinishing involves sanding to remove deeper scratches, this process is not suited for all. Contact us for advice.
- A periodic routine maintenance of jewelry. We recommend a service once every year. A service involves a visual inspection, shining, cleaning and for pieces containing gemstones, tightening any that are loose. Contact us to arrange for one.
- The round tubular section that a finger slips through in a ring. Also referred to as the band.
- The act of lightly buffing an item to restore some shine. Minimizes the removal of metal during the shining process at the expense of leaving deeper scratches behind.
- A craftsman / craftsperson who makes silver articles.
- Gold or silver alloys formulated to have a lower melting point to allow fusing jewelry parts together.
- The act of using a hardened steel instrument to impress a mark on an item. We use stamping to add our maker’s stamp. It is a marker guaranteeing the quality of the precious metal and a seal of our approval.
- A silver alloy containing 92.5 % pure silver. Also referred to as 925 silver.