Hugo Jamain is a talented jeweler, making handmade pieces in his shop out of sustainable materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Check out our blog from a few weeks ago on his brand, STYX. For this week’s blog, Hugo decided to get a little more involved in the details on the jewelry making process for a 101-tutorial guide for anyone that wants to try their hand at making their own jewelry.
Firstly, Hugo goes through boxes of scrap metals and searches for materials that he can use, such as stainless steel and brass. He mainly uses stainless steel because it’s high-quality and is one of the strongest metals.
Stainless steel is a very common metal used to make products like sink faucets, home appliances, and furniture. For this reason, there is a lot of stainless-steel pieces that end up in the garbage as scrap metal.
Once Hugo chooses the good pieces of scrap metal, he brings them back to his shop to be transformed. He first cleans each piece by hand and then analyzes the best way to move forward with each piece. He tries to maintain the true shape so that there is as little waste as possible. Since the jewelry turnout depends on the shape of the material at hand, each piece ends up unique. For example, rings are generally made with tubing and earrings are usually made with thick sheet metal.
This is where it gets fun! Hugo sits down with his pen and paper and gets creative with some design ideas. He tries to make pieces that are bold and unique, stepping away from concepts that are too mainstream. He wants to create timeless pieces that can last a lifetime. Each piece is created to be one of a kind as he doesn’t follow any specific pattern.
Hugo uses four main tools – a hammer, saw, sander, and polisher. Once the materials are cleaned and the concepts and designs have been thought through, he gets to work in his shop. Firstly, Hugo uses an electric saw to cut the steel into the shapes he wants. Since jewelry is very small, he then uses pliers to cut the specific shape and go into more detail with the design. He will then add some texture using a hammer which creates ripples on the metal. Afterwards, Hugo uses three different types of electric sanding disks to sand down any imperfections. Lastly, he makes holes in pieces such as necklace pendants and earrings before attaching the chain or earring hooks. The last step is to polish and add a protective spray for the perfect shine!
If you’re interested in getting into the art of jewelry making, Hugo suggests starting simple and moving to more complex projects as you learn. This blog includes the steps Hugo takes to design jewelry with metals but there are many videos and tutorials out there as well to get you started! Along with metal jewelry, there are plenty of other types of jewelry you can make if you don’t have a shop or equipment!