Ing’s Bracelet: A Jewelry Process

When the bell rings at the end of first lunch, Parima Chaopanitcharoen, a student from Thailand studying in her Junior year, is always in a hurry to go to room 115.

image03Ing, as Parima is called, is taking jewelry making class this semester with Kristine Chartrand.

“I find this class interesting… because my mother has a  jewelry business,” Ing said.  “I had never done such things before. It is really hard when we do it the first time. It gets easier only if we practice a lot.”

To create a  perfect piece of jewelry, a jeweler practices on waste metal to learn and improve. In class, students called these pieces “samples.”   

“In this class most of my metal work are samples… for practicing of different skills,” said Ing.

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Kristine Chartrand, the teacher of jewelry making class, said,  “Students have to really plan it out….often times they cannot change designs… if they made mistakes there is no going back. Metals are not very forgiving.”

Ing’s first project was a bracelet.

“My inspiration was a seagull bird,” Ing said.  “I went to Washington D.C. There I took a picture of a seagull as my inspiration. That is why I want to convert it into jewelry.”

“Some people don’t see it like a seagull or like a bird,” she said. “But I tried to make it like that.”  

image00Once she had her idea, Ing measured her wrist and selected the metal.  Ing’s bracelet was made from nickel silver.

Then she drew the design on the metal.  “I don’t want the bracelet to look all the way like a seagull so I made some triangles and rectangles,” Ing said.  

After the design was ready, Ing moved her piece of metal to the bench pin, which holds the metal for cutting.   She used a flex chef– an electric tool almost like a drill– to start the holes, saw blades to cut out holes from the metal, and a ring file to remove the edges. Ing said the polishing machine is the hardest part because the metal gets hot while polishing and also spins, so it is dangerous.  

Ing explained, “My bracelet has no texture, or stamping, just internal and external cuts, because I want my bracelet clear and shiny.”image02

“For perfection in my jewelry I try to cut it straight to make it even and smooth and I file the edges,” Ing said. “I think the filing is the most important part.”

Now Ing is working on a pendent, which is based on her identity.

“I have an inspiration from my mom, dad and the city where I was born which is the big city Bangkok,” Ing said. “My dad, he is an architect, so it can be shaped like a building.”