An Inside Peek: The Why and How Behind the Materials Used in My Jewelry

Wulfenite stone

Wulfenite stone

There is a science to making one of my LoriMeg creations. I carefully select the precious metals and semiprecious gemstones that will go into each piece. These materials, combined with the elements or designs I see in nature, inspire the truly unique pieces of jewelry you’ll find in my collection.

That said, there’s a lot of consideration that goes into why I choose certain materials—and it’s somewhat unconventional from what they’ll teach you in a jewelry-making class.   

Generally speaking, in school they’ll have you start working with copper, brass or nickel-silver. They do this to cut back on costs while still providing the experience of working with metals. These non-precious metals are far less expensive than any of the precious metals like silver, gold, palladium, or platinum.  

However, I started working with precious metal right away—mostly sterling silver. I did this for two reasons: 1) I don’t like the colors my skin turns when I handle or wear non-precious metals, and 2) To be honest, I’m a little bit of a snob when it comes to fine jewelry.  I truly believe that there is value in design and fine craftsmanship regardless of the quality of material—but, personally, I feel better about selling work that also has some intrinsic value.

The precious metals I use

Azurite stone

Azurite stone

I love the contrast of oxidized silver with gold, so I’ll often use these two metals together.  I’ve also shifted from using sterling silver to argentium silver. The reason for this shift is that I’m able to fuse both pieces of oxidized silver and gold to the argentium silver, which decreases my need to add solder. Also, if I want a piece to remain bright silver, argentium provides some tarnish resistance.

Where I get my metals

As far as metals go, I source them from trusted companies like Rio Grande, Stuller, and Hauser & Miller.

The stones I can’t live without

For all my jewelry, I look for interesting stones that have a rough surface or are cut in a unique way. I will sometimes use more traditionally cut, faceted stones such as sapphires and diamonds—but I only use these as an accent, not the main focus of a piece.

Hemimorphite stone

Hemimorphite stone

When I see a stone that speaks to me, I can envision it in a piece of jewelry. It’s almost as if I can instantly see a special setting, a story or the start of a whole new collection at first glance.

Some of my recent stone purchases are featured in this post to the right. As you can see, they are all very different and special. These stones will, no doubt, make one-of-a-kind pieces that will be quite memorable.

Where I get my stones

I have a few stone dealers who I can count on to have something fabulous and unusual. While I do feel better seeing and feeling the stones in person, I’ve also found some great stones while scouring the internet, Instagram and Pinterest.  These latest purchases will hopefully turn out to look even better in person.

Check out my collections to see how all of these materials blend together to create the unique look of the LoriMeg Designs brand. 

Lori Gottlieb