My name is Bryony and I make everything by hand for my company The Nine of Hearts Jewellery. I am really passionate about handmade products, and the movement away from a throwaway culture. When buying handmade, you are not only investing in a quality product which is completely unique to you, you are also supporting an individual who has spent years investing in their craft, and you are sharing in their journey, and passion for what they do.
But exactly what is involved in the handmade process? Making my jewellery by hand involves me designing, carving, sawing, shaping, fitting, soldering, refining, polishing, oxidising, more polishing, packaging and sending - all with just my hands. I often spend hours refining and altering pieces to ensure they look just right. This extensive process results in every piece being completely individual, which simply isn’t possible when things are made in a factory.
I have always had a love for skulls, vintage and antiquities, and my house is full of bird skulls, mounted moths and butterflies and weird and wonderful finds. I love hunting through antique shops and vintage markets and want my jewellery to evoke that same special excitement of finding something really unique whenever a customer discovers my work.
I use a combination of both the lost wax carving and casting process (where I carve a piece first from wax which is then cast into solid silver) and traditional silversmithing (where I cut and shape the silver and fuse pieces together using soldering). I love both equally, and tend to use casting for my big, weighty biker style pieces, and silversmithing when I’m making my gemstone work. All jewellers have their own ways of doing things, but this is what I prefer.
Due to the high value of genuine precious metal, this opens up the unfortunate opportunity for fraudulent sales of jewellery. I feel it is really important that when my customers are spending their money investing in precious metal, that they can fully trust the piece they are buying is genuine.
In the UK we have a legal requirement to Hallmark silver jewellery over the weight of 7.78g, however I Hallmark everything I make, even under that weight, to offer piece of mind. I take everything to be tested and Hallmarked 925 Silver in The Assay Office in the heart of The jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, UK.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Hallmarking, please visit The Birmingham Assay Office website