Jen has been a handprint jewellery designer for four years with Hand on Heart Jewellery. Her talent for creating beautiful personalised keepsakes and an excellent eye to detail ensures that each piece of jewellery she creates meets our high standards.
What is your average day?
When I arrive at the Studio, Heather (Production Manager) will fill me in on where we are at with Production. She will let me know the different pieces we have at each stage of the making process and she will update me on how many orders are due to be dispatched that day. Making handprint jewellery is a unique process with many different stages, it is crucial that each piece goes through the correct process.
What are the different stages for Handprint Jewellery?
The design stage is when we will take the actual handprints that the customer has sent to us and shrink them down to fit the piece. We work with tiny baby handprints, children's handprints and even adult prints. There is a fine balance on shrinking a handprint enough to fit the jewellery and keeping the unique detail of the print! Once we are happy with the design, we can then begin to create the impression for the silver.
The impression stage is the most ‘magic’ stage and my favourite. This is when we turn the handprint, footprint or paw print into a miniature 3D replica, ready for the making of the silver jewellery. This stage is all about perfect timing, a dark room and a lot of patience!
Once we have the perfect impression, we can begin to make the silver charm. We do this by pressing the impression into the silver. We also inscribe the name at this point.
The next stage is the sanding and firing of the silver. We sand using very fine sand-paper to achieve the desired shape and finish. The firing of the silver charm is a two stage process which includes heating the silver to 900oC.
After the charm has been fired, we can then begin the polishing and finishing process. This part involves a lot of hard polishing and very sore fingers! There are machines that can do this polishing for you but nothing beats a hand polished finish! We polish the piece until the charm is sparking. We can then darken the print using a special dye to really bring out the detail.
Once the charm has been through all of these stages and we are happy that the piece meets our high standards, we can then pass it onto the packing team who will gift wrap the piece and dispatch.
What’s the biggest challenge of the process?
Definitely the risk of a piece going wrong half way through the process. If a charm gets over fired or forms a tiny air pocket, it has to be scrapped and re-started. Our commitment to high standards mean that quality is never compromised.
What’s your favourite part of the process?
I love the finishing process. It’s not until this stage, that the jewellery really shines and I love seeing the tiny details of the handprints on the charms.
Jen is part of a team of skilled Handprint Jewellery designers based at the Hand on Heart Studio in Penrith, Cumbria. All of our pieces are available to order world-wide and include a FREE handprint kit and postage. View our handprint charm range.