Category Archives: Approach

08.22.2014

Approach 05 / Path Ring

SOMMI Jewelry Path Ring

When it comes to fabricating rings one of the most challenging parts of the process is making the designs in all the different ring sizes. Since I work in wax, most times I get to re-carve each ring at least three times. For example, I have already carved the Aura Ring twice, in sizes 7 and 8, and I still have to carve it in size 6 and probably in size 9 as well. Although you learn the ins and outs of a design and the best approach to carving a piece the first time around, somehow the process can be more difficult the second time because you are not only carving, but also replicating the piece.

My “production” approach for the new collection (FW14) was to have the ring designs ready in one or two sizes before the launch and then, after the big day, I would carve the extra sizes based on the orders I received. This week I had the chance to re-carve the Path ring for a special friend and decided to take some photos along the way so I could share them with you.

When I started sketching the Path ring, I wanted to create a double banded ring that was shorter in height than the other double banded rings I had already designed. My one requirement for this ring was to have some sort of straight vertical line connecting both bands in the middle of the ring. The solution was to create the connection by making the bottom band gradually become one as a vertical line and elongating it all the way to the top band.

Wax Carving Path Ring SOMMI Jewelry

Above you can see the sequence of photos that show the main steps I took to complete the design (total of seven hours), starting with a solid wax shank and ending with a shaped ring. For this piece, I carved the main part of the design first and then I added some wax to create the small tip on top of the ring. When the wax model is ready I send it to be cast in metal and once I get it back, I polish the piece to a bright shine.

I hope you guys enjoyed taking a peek at how this ring was made. It’s nice to be back to jewelry making after spending some much-needed fun days in Vancouver. I’ll try to share more about my trip in the coming weeks!

(If you want to see more on my approach, you can do so here!)

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

–Alexandra

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06.04.2014

Approach 04 / Stacking Ring

Sommi Jewelry Stacking Ring

One of the things I wanted to include in the collection was stackable rings. I explored the idea of dainty and organic rings while sketching, but somehow, every time I started drawing ideas, what came out on paper were architectural designs with dynamic angles. It became clear to me that the books on ancient architecture and art that I had submerged myself in, before I started the design process, were coming out in my designs. So I decided to let my ideas run free, and I pursued an approach to stacking rings where they would have a slightly chunkier and geometrical feel.

While designing this ring, I thought a lot about how the angles could create an interesting visual, especially when reflecting light. One way to do this was to apply some continuity on the design by extending the multiple angles on top of the ring through its sides. After thinking all this through and drawing the concept on paper, the hardest part began. The carving process was really slow as I had to constantly stop to check for symmetry of both sides of the ring.

Sommi Jewelry Wax Carving

Above you can see the sequence of photos illustrating the main steps I took to complete the design (total of thirteen hours), starting with a solid wax shank and ending with a shaped ring. When the wax model is ready I send it to be cast in metal. And once I get it back, I polish the piece to a bright shine and oxidize the arrow markings on top of the ring.

I’ll share how this ring can be stacked on one of my upcoming approach posts. Stay tuned!

–Alexandra

05.23.2014

Approach / 03: Cuff Ring

Sommi Jewelry Cuff Ring

When I started designing the jewelry that will be part of the FW14 collection, it became clear to me that the majority of its pieces would be worn on our fingers. I can’t explain why, but almost all of my designs came in the form of rings. Although I wanted to include earrings, bracelets and necklaces in the collection, I decided to let my ideas flow in whichever way felt right.

Sommi Jewelry Alexandra Nieto Sketching

As a result, I had a lot of options when it came to deciding which rings I would carve in wax. The selection process was slow. I carved many rings that in the end didn’t make it to the final group. At the same time, I had a few sketched ideas, that even before I started carving, I knew would become part of the collection. One of these rings is the cuff ring shown in the first photo of
this post.

I loved the idea of designing a cuff ring where I could visually use the negative space created by the opening. I explored the idea of lines and how these could wrap around a finger creating an intricate, yet simple, visual. I thought it would be interesting to close the opening lines of each side of the cuff, resulting on an open polygon as the focal point on the top of the finger.

Sommi Jewelry Carving Cuff Ring

Above you can see the sequence of photos illustrating the main steps I took to carve the design (total of 12 hours), starting with a solid wax shank and ending with a ring ready to be cast in metal. Once the wax model is ready, I send it to NYC where they cast it and send it back to me. I, then, polish it to a bright shine.

(If you want to see more on my approach, you can do so here!)

–Alexandra

05.14.2014

Approach / 02: Cuff Bracelet

Sommi Jewelry Cuff Bracelet

 I spend a lot of my time carving the designs I sketch. Lately, I have been trying to take photos of my process, so that I can describe how the pieces come to life. A few weeks back I showed you the inspiration behind this ring and how it went from an idea to a finished product. Today, I want to share a few photos of one of the cuff bracelets that will be available once we launch.

The shape of this design was inspired by Arabian arches like the ones on the cover of this book. My goal was for the top of the cuff to resemble these architectural elements. I also enhanced the sides of the cuff by incorporating some geometrical textureinspired by ancient African art. I wanted the texture to be prominent, so I made sure to make the grooves deep as to create enough contrast once the cuff was finished.

Wax Carving Cuff Bracelet

Above you can see the sequence of photos illustrating the main steps I took to complete the design (total of eight hours), starting with a solid wax block and ending with a shaped cuff ready to be cast in metal. When the wax model is ready, I send it to NYC where they cast it and send it back to me. I, then, oxidize the textured grooves and polish it to a bright shine.

–Alexandra

04.30.2014

Approach / 01: Double Band Ring

Sommi Jewelry Ring

Today I want to take you guys behind the scenes and share with you a little of my design process by describing how this ring, shown above, came about. When I sketched this design on paper I had already submerged myself in art and architecture books from ancient civilizations. But it wasn’t until I stumbled upon an image of a dress (from a fashion show) with a very interesting pattern on it, that the idea of this ring took place.

As soon as I saw this dress, a specific set of lines drew me in and the concept for the ring was born. I sketched about five versions of this ring and tried two of them in wax. Below you can see a sequence of photos that depict the steps I took to complete the design (total of 12 hours), beginning with a wax cylinder and ending with a tridimensional version of the sketched design.

Sommi Jewelry Carving Process

Once I’m done with the wax model I send it to NYC, where is cast in metal and a mold is made. It usually takes about 10 days to get the ring back, at which moment I begin the finishing process by grinding off any porosities and excess metal on the piece, and polish it to a bright shine.

As you guys can imagine, I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I see a design come to live from concept to a ready-to-wear piece. I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at my process and now have a better understanding of what goes on behind the scenes!

–Alexandra