Professional Jeweler Archive: Three Classic Styles of Finishes

August 2002

For Your Staff/Selling Jewelry Styles

Three Classic Styles of Finishes

This is 22nd in a series of articles Professional Jeweler is presenting on different styles of jewelry. Learning about different styles, selling points and where they come from can make your job more interesting and profitable


Fine wire, often gold or silver, is formed into delicate, intricate patterns to create lacy filigree. It’s a dramatic departure from the broad, bold lines and large, flat surfaces of contemporary design. The popularity of estate jewelry and open metalwork primes consumers for filigree. But plan ahead when you want to stock it because the number of artisans who do this handmade work is limited.

Platinum French lace bangle. Cathy Carmendy Inc., Santa Monica, CA; (310) 396-3120, fax (310) 399-5902.


Surface patterns created with tiny gold balls look fresh and innovative, though the process dates back to the third millennium B.C. Short lengths of wire are melted into round granules that are placed on jewelry in the desired pattern and held in place with a temporary glue. In the best examples, the balls are then attached permanently with heating (which evaporates the glue), not soldering. It’s a difficult process because the temperature has to be hot enough to fuse the ball to the surface, but not enough to melt it into an amorphous puddle. The purer the gold, the easier it is to achieve the fusion required for granulation. (See pp. 98 in this issue for a new granulation technique.)

22k gold cuff links with granulation are $2,090 suggested retail. Maija Inc., New York City; (212) 249-6236, fax (212) 535-8684.


This process provides a bit of shadow, a hint of age, a dimension of character by blackening the surface of sterling silver or karat gold. It can occur naturally or with the application of a potassium sulfide solution. Oxidation is applied to a range of jewelry, especially mesh, cable, engraved and textured pieces. Because rubbing can wear off oxidation, it’s usually used in crevices.

Oceana stack ring in sterling silver with 18k gold accents features oxidation and evergreen topaz. John Atencio Creations, Denver, CO; (303) 830-7733, fax (303) 830-0891.

– Lorraine M. O'Donnell, A.J.P. Photos by Robert Weldon.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications