(C)old connections

I've often been asked how I design the jewellery I make. How I decide on shapes, forms, and scale... what colour and materials to use and which attachments to use for each design. So I invited a small gathering for the first time this week to demystify some of this... and to help others realise their design ambitions too.

Aucanada Window brooch ©Sarah O'Hana 1981 Silver, wood, titanium, brass

Aucanada Window brooch ©Sarah O'Hana 1981 Silver, wood, titanium, brass

We started by looking at some cold connections, so called called because they are systems for attaching materials together without the use of fire for soldering. This brooch I made while still a 2nd year student at Loughborough College of Art, became a good example of an old favourite cold connection in action: tube rivets. You can see the four of them on the surface of the silver window. They are trapping the wood parts to the back of the brooch made of brass.

We had a good look at how solid rivets are made from a round copper wire 1.35mm Ø, and joined some sample materials together using a doming punch for greater accuracy and clean finish. I much prefer tube rivets myself, and have used them ever since I was taught how to make them. My insistence over the years in using titanium ( because it can change colour - but that's for another day!) and other non-metallic materials together, has meant I have used rivets for much of my work. I also like the aesthetic, so I have been known to use them even when I don't need to.

Here are some nice moving rivets on a brooch by Catalan jeweller Xavier Monclús - and the wheels do go round!

Basic Computer ©Xavier Monclús Silver, image, enamel

Basic Computer brooch ©Xavier Monclús Silver, image, enamel

Basic Computer brooch ©Xavier Monclús Silver, image, enamel

Basic Computer brooch ©Xavier Monclús Silver, image, enamel

You rarely get to see images of the backs of brooches so I though I would show you how this riveted wheel works. And while we're there, you can also see a part of the pin mechanism.

Wind badge ©Timothy Information Limited 2016 Brass, stainless steel, enamel

Wind badge ©Timothy Information Limited 2016 Brass, stainless steel, enamel

I was fortunate to also have this brooch to show, made by Tim Carson - known as Timothy Information Limited. An amazing piece of automata, this is a box with moving parts, also put together with tube rivets. As the handle is turned, different coloured figures appear in the window.

It was a good moment to bring our attention to the major event in the contemporary jewellery calendar: SCHMUCK, held at the International Trade Fair (IHM) in Munich. It happens annually at this time year for about a week. Since it was founded by Herbert Hofmann in 1959, art jewellers have been sending their work for selection by different specialists each year. It is now widely regarded as one of the most important exhibitions on the international jewellery scene and a unique meeting place for jewellery artists, students, gallery owners and collectors.

Swarm nstallation of pins ©Nanna Melland 2013 SCHMUCK

Swarm nstallation of pins ©Nanna Melland 2013 SCHMUCK

There are over 50 other exhibitions in Munich during Jewellery week, aswell as lectures and many other related events... all of them will amaze you and open your eyes to new ideas in jewellery. More than plenty to see if you're up for the challenge... Fancy coming next year?

The SCHMUCK conversation inspiration for featured jeweller: Hermann Jünger (


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