Things Rich & Strange

Real Custom Design Jewelry:

Our jewelry artists work with you to create custom jewelry that is highly personal, finely crafted, and of the highest quality. Not just an altered mass market mounting, but real custom jewelry design from start to finish.

Things Rich & Strange is a division of Foxfire Jewelers, which has been creating custom jewelry since 1985.

Over the years we've made thousands of custom rings, custom pendants, custom earrings, etc for our custom design clients, each one different and unique. This is jewelry at it's very best.

See our Custom Design Portfolio



Most Jewelers sell jewelry that is mass produced by the thousands in a factory setting, the same design, over and over. Some alter this factory made jewelry and call it custom.
Real custom design jewelry is so much more than simply fitting a setting to an existing mass produced ring or such. It is creating an entirely new piece of jewelry from design to modeling, to casting, fabrication and finishing. It is what Things Rich & Strange and Foxfire specializes in.
The biggest thing which distinguishes us from other custom jewelers is the variety of our designs, and the care we take with each client. 
To see how custom jewelry is made, follow the story below.


DESIGN
Sometimes a product of our imagination and inspiration, or often the result of a custom design consultation with a client, our designs are unfailingly creative and truly different. We capture them in full color drawings which are done while our customer watches during the consultation.
We can usually find an idea for a client, based on a series of questions and our intuition. It's amazing to capture just what someone wants, sometimes immediately, sometimes through a series of drawings.
Our customers often express their delight to have something made which is truly, just what they want.
 
 
 




 


 
MODELING

For many pieces we use a process called Lost Wax Casting, and the first step is to carve a wax model of the ring, pendant or other jewelry creation. We use several different hardnesses of wax, from soft candle-like wax to wax resembling hard plastic. From these we fashion an exact likeness of what the article will be, using files, scrapers, rotary tools and sharp carving blades to shape the wax.

 
 
 
Often, we will build up the wax by melting with a wax pen, other times filing and removal are the preferred method. Sometimes we will even use manual or CAD/CAM (computer assisted design/computer assisted manufacturing) machining to achieve the perfect rendition of the design.
 
 
 
 
After the wax model is complete, our client comes in to view it. After all, a drawing is great, but it's only two dimensional, likewise a photo. The wax model allows you to see how thick, or wide or well, just, three dimensional the piece will be. Then, when you can see it live, we can make alterations to bring it more in line with what your vision of the design is.
After alterations, we will again show you to make sure the wax meets your approval, then it's on to casting.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
CASTING
The completed wax model is encased in a special plaster which will withstand very high temperatures. We then take the plaster mold, and put it in the kiln (a high temperature oven) where over the course of several hours it is heated to 1,250 degrees, so that the wax vaporizes leaving no residue.

 
 
Then it is time to cast. After stabilizing the flask at its casting temperature, it's placed on the vacuum machine in position so that vacuum pressure is drawn through the porous plaster. At the same time we will have melted the appropriate amount of Karat gold casting grain (like little BB's of gold) in the crucible, which we heat with a large torch. With the flask under vacuum pressure, we then cast the ring by quickly pouring the molten gold into the flask where it immediately solidifies.

We then dunk the flask in cold water where the remaining heat causes the plaster to boil away and dissolve almost explosively. Then we can wash off any remaining plaster from the ring and begin the next step.

 
We take a lot of pride in our casting abilities. Through careful monitoring of temperatures and alloys, we are able to achieve superior results, yeilding finished pieces that are dense and free from pits and voids.
 
 
 
 
 

FINISHING


After casting, the jewelry piece has the general shape and form of the final product but has a rough surface texture.

First we smooth the contours of the piece using the files, both coarse and fine, then sandpaper and various rotary tools to take any roughness away. This is a very important step for any variations here will affect the final shape of the creation. Then the article progresses to polishing. Using felt and cloth wheels on the polishing motor, the surface of the ring is refined to a high shine, first with Tripoli, then finally polishing with Rouge.
 
 

FABRICATION


Many times we will add some details such as prongs and bezel settings, and other design elements, after casting.

Some pieces, in fact are produced entirely by fabrication, that is, forming parts from sheet and wire and putting them together with gold solder.

Gold solder is unlike what most people picture when the word solder is used, for it contains no lead or other soft metals. Instead, the 14 Karat Plumb Gold Solder (and 18 Karat, Platinum, etc are plumb as well) Foxfire uses is actually 14 Karat gold. As we know 14 Karat gold is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts alloy. In gold solder the 10 parts alloy are formulated to make the solder melt at a slightly lower temperature than regular 14 Karat gold. Setting the stones and a final polishing completes the piece.

 
 
 


 
ADVANCED TECHNIQUES
Some of our pieces, particularly rings, feature hand engraving, a time honored and precise technique. Using carefully sharpened bits of steel called gravers, the goldsmith carves intricate designs directly into the metal itself, usually under a microscope for added detail. This is most often used to give the piece a vintage, victorian appearance. When combined with handmade filagree, the look is very striking.
Pave setting is a setting technique which uses those same gravers to form prongs to hold stones in place. Starting with a plain surface, the goldsmith carves and forms beads around the stones after placing them in precisely drilled seats. Then gravers are again employed to carve a bright border around the stones, completing the setting.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
Your Finished Masterpiece


A piece of Jewelry from Foxfire Jewelers and Things Rich & Strange is different from any other. It will fit well and be a beautiful adornment to be worn for many years. We set standards of quality for materials and craftsmanship which will ensure your satisfaction and pride of ownership, and we back these standards with warranties and service that set Foxfire apart.

Our designs and artistic approach contribute to make Foxfire Jewelers
and Things Rich & Strange stores with distinction, recognized repeatedly in feature articles in Ornament Magazine, National Jeweler Magazine, Lapidary Journal Magazine and in local newspapers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Things Rich & Strange is a sister store of Foxfire Jewelers (since 1985)
When in the Seattle area, please visit Foxfire's Studio and Store,
or see our webpages at:    FoxfireJewelers.com


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