The Beauty of Fold Forming

Fold forming is a technique of metalworking, invented in the late 1980s by goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain. The method involves using a single sheet of a light metal. It is folded, repeatedly hammered, heated and cooled, then unfolded. At that point, the piece has taken on a dramatic, new three-dimensional silhouette.

This technique is about doing what the metal would naturally “want” to do. Instead of forcing a form upon the material, the shape is created from the natural tendencies of the metal. The beauty of fold forming is that it adds depth, dimension and texture to metal jewelry, making hundreds of complex forms and shapes.

My Large Spiral Necklace is an elegant example of fold forming. It was made with one flat sheet of silver, folded in half, with the ends tapered.  

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The hammer-folded edge was made with a cross peen hammer. I hammered it until the piece curled into a spiral.

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I opened the edge with a knife to give it volume. Then I added a bail, PAI and 24k gold leaf.

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This necklace is made out of fine, fold formed silver, which has been oxidized and hand-painted with 24k gold leaf. It is a light piece with multi-dimensional beauty. I think you’ll find that it compliments your work attire as well as a cocktail dress.  

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Lori Gottlieb