Here at By Alona, we're proud to say all of our pieces are hand-made and hand-finished in the UK. Our London workshop is where the magic happens, based in Clerkenwell the jewellery capital of England, this is where the key stages of production take place and where we work hard in getting your jewellery pieces perfectly made, for you.
The design process all starts with a sketch, each design is created by Alona, inspired by her life and her travels. You can say each piece has a personal story and life experiences weaved into its craftsmanship.
Designing requires being technical and planning in advance how pieces are going to sit on the body and react to movement and wear. Once the piece has been sketched and initial design concepts are in place, it is either modelled into a CAD (Computer Aided Design) or carved by hand into wax to make the master piece. This master will be used as the lead sample in production; having a physical sample is important as it allows us have a more realistic image on how the final piece will look, sit on the body and allows us to make important design changes before it goes into production.
Our Lola hoop being perfected before a mould is made:
Waxing and Casting
Once the master is created the piece will have a rubber mould made, as we use the lost wax casting process to create our pieces.
Being based in Clerkenwell we are just around the corner from Hatton Garden, known as London's jewellery quarter. We work with a London-based casters in Hatton Garden to help with the waxing and casting process, they use a method called the burn-out process. Here, the wax mould is applied to a rubber tree-shaped base known as the moulding sprue and a plaster is poured in and set to create the moulds.
These moulds will then be filled with molten metal to create the jewellery pieces.
A rubber piece will also be made to allow us to make more of the final design in future production runs; we prefer to work in small runs to ensure each piece is special and to prevent any excess and waste.
Once the mould has been made and the metal cooled and set, we bring it back to our studio for filing and polishing. The piece is filed to remove any rough edges and any casts that were connecting it to the moulding sprue - we recycle these extra pieces back to the casters to be used again in future designs and production runs. No waste here!
This will leave us with a piece that almost finished, it is true to size, shape and weight and ready for final touches. We then use a polishing wheel to polish the piece, this allows the metals natural lustre and shine to come through.
Once polished, it's back to Hatton Garden to our platers who plate the piece with a durable, high quality, thick plating. Our silver plating is sterling silver while our gold pieces are 18k gold plating.
The jewellery is electrocleaned. Electrocleaning is a procedure that results in an exceptionally clean piece of jewelry. Then they are electroplated in baths like these:
Any finishing touches such as stones, engraving or string pearls etc will be completed in our workshop. Then packed and shipped with love :)
Every piece made is a small story and work of art, we love passing our story onto our customers and seeing them style their perfect pieces.