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From Clay to Jewelry: Behind Our Process

June 02, 2021 3 min read

From Clay to Jewelry: Behind Our Process

 

Martti Jewelry’s pieces are made with clay sourced near our home, in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where multiple colors and consistencies of clay can be found. Once the clay is chosen for a particular design, the crafting process is long and entirely handmade by our Ceramic Artist, Marcia Campetti.  


Each piece may take 5 to 10 days to be completed, and each one is unique because it is the irreproducible result of a number of variants. Some of these are the organic manual shaping, the local temperature and air humidity of when it's created, where it’s placed inside the over for the firing process, among others.


One batch is never the same as another, which is why all our designs are limited collections.We hope you enjoy learning about the step-by-step behind our process of creating precious jewelry from clay! 

 

 

1. Preparing Clay

Before being shaped, clay must be prepared. Wedging is the manual technique we use to ensure the moisture is even through the clay body and that all air trapped within is removed.    

2. Shaping 

Once a clay body has been wedged, each piece is shaped using mainly 2 techniques: round shapes are thrown in the pottery wheel, while the more organic and free shapes are manually sculpted.

No molds are used in our shaping process.

 

3. Drying and Refining

Pieces are then stored to naturally dry, which can take 2 to 6 days. At the leather-hard stage (15% of moisture), they are trimmed by hand for a refined look and feel.

Martti’s signature and wholes for the metals are also applied at this stage.

4. Bisque Firing

This is the first high-temperature heating of the pieces. It is done to vitrify, which means to bring them to a point that they can have a glaze adhere to the surface.

 

5. Glazing

Biques are then sanded and painted with locally sourced glazes. Sometimes multiple glazes are used to achieve a desirable effect, such as dripping and mixing.

 

 

6. Glaze Firing

This is where most of the magic happens and previously fragile pieces become rock-hard and impervious to water. The glazed item is carefully loaded into the kiln for the glaze firing. It must not touch other pieces or the glazes will melt together. The kiln is heated slowly to the proper temperature to bring the clay and glazes to maturity (8-12 hours) then it is slowly cooled again (24 hours). The glazes react to the temperature, changing significantly its color and acquiring the final glass-like texture and shine.

7. Final Touches 

Some designs feature a layer of gold or platinum luster, which is manually applied with a brush at this stage and then taken to the kiln once again for a third and final firing (4 hours). 

 

8. Assembling 

With the ceramic pieces ready, it’s time to assemble them with its metal parts that have been previously welded in-house to match the desired design. Our metals are also locally sourced from family-owned businesses. We exclusively use 18 ct gold and rhodium plated over brass, nickel-free and hypoallergenic. 

 

9. Finally, the jewelry is ready to be packed and shipped to its lucky new owner! 

 

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the behind the scenes of crafting wearable sculptures. We believe knowing where your jewelry comes from and who’s behind it is an important step towards a more conscious and sustainable fashion industry. We appreciate you so much for being here!  

 

 

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