The ancient technique of hammering metal, widely used by Ancient Greek goldsmiths, was revived in the LALAoUNIS workshops in the late 60’s and used on jewels of 22kt gold.
Tiny hammers with rounded edges, tools often made by the master craftsmen, are used to ‘beat’ texture onto the surface of the gold.
These subtle indentations create a dappled, rippled effect that enhances the metal’s natural plasticity and accentuates the inherent softness of 22 kt gold.
The play of light and shade across the pattern of recessions and indentations adds extra luster to the gold’s natural sheen.
The procedure takes time. The jewel is stabilized in a bed of tar pitch and beaten rhythmically from the back.
The hardening tar enables the experienced goldsmith to exert a gentle and uniformly controlled movement.
Once the desired effect is reached, the tar is then reheated to release a superbly crafted, unique and entirely hand-made piece of jewelry.
The superb technique of granulation, where minute gold beads are fused onto the surface of a piece of jewelry to create a decorative pattern, dates back to the third millennium BC.
The amount of precision, skill and patience it requires renders it as one of the most labor-intensive jewelry techniques.
It’s a true labor of love as minuscule gold grains, some no larger than a millimeter, are painstakingly arranged and set, one by one, to create jewels that stand out for their intricacy and richness of detail.
A thin piece of gold wire is first looped around a rod and each tiny loop is then cut free.
On a stone surface the loops are fired until they roll up into minute balls which are placed individually with tweezers in the desired pattern and then fused permanently onto the jewel’s surface.
The process requires great concentration, not only in placing the grains of gold, but also in firing them as the temperature must be just right for the grains to adhere to the surface without melting.
Granulation usually involves high-karat gold as only the purest of alloys achieve the desired effect. The use of this ancient craftsmanship creates timeless jewels steeped in history and yet contemporary in design.
In Ancient Greece, especially during the Hellenistic period, chain weaving was used extensively in jewelry making.
A chain, though often associated with a pendant, can be worn alone as a jewel in its own right, especially when it is so meticulously crafted.
In antiquity chains were made of multiple, uniformly shaped links joined together in what is known in the goldsmith’s vernacular as the ‘loop in loop’ technique.
Today the process remains largely unchanged. Gold wire is wound around a hand drill and each twist cut with a pair of pliers. One by one the circular rings are soldered into closed circles.
This has to be done with extreme care so as not to alter the size and thickness of the ring.
These rings are then widened to receive the next links which pass through the two diagonally opposite “eyes”.
As complicated as it sounds it is like threading a needle again and again.
The result is a spectacular and very sturdy golden chain that can be worn on its own or be part of a more intricate jewelry creation.
This technique was used extensively in the LALAoUNIS workshop in the 60’s. Simultaneously, the LALAoUNIS workshop introduced another way of weaving the chain “end-to-end”, from a single piece of wire bent into a zigzag and then looped and knitted like lace around itself.
Repoussé, French for “to push back”, is a time-honored technique that dates back to the Bronze Age.
It was introduced into the LALAoUNIS workshop very early on to create glorious and elaborate jewelry and is still today a signature trademark of the great master’s work.
In repoussé, the reverse surface of a malleable metal is hammered to create a relief design.
The metal is ornamented and shaped to form a raised design, usually following a sketch traced on its surface. It is a time-consuming method as it requires work on both sides of the jewel.
The design, once embossed from the back, must be refined with tiny chisels on the front to bring out the exquisitely shaped forms.
The result of this technique is a surface decoration of sculptural beauty that has the depth and shading of a relief.
Filigree, a 4,000 year old technique, is delicate and intricate wire ornamentation soldered onto jewelry or metalwork in patterns.
The name derives from the Latin words filum and granum, thread and grain.
There are two structural types of filigree, ‘open-work’ where the jewel is built up by the actual weave of the wires, or, ‘surface filigree’ where the wire is twisted, plaited, curled and shaped and then laid down and soldered with great delicacy to pattern the surface creating a kind of ‘gold on gold’ lavish embroidery.
To make filigree wire you have to draw it out from a sheet of metal and then twist and shape it accordingly.
At LALAoUNIS the filigree technique is applied in bold and innovative ways to create exquisite and refined pieces of jewelry.
This is a metalworking technique mostly used during the 3rd and 7th century A.D. in Roman and early Byzantine jewelry. It requires holes to be punched in the gold metal creating very much a lace effect.
The play of positive and negative space within the gold surface also creates an ethereal and very feminine look. We first used this technique in our Aurelia collection and paired it with articulated creations for a very light and delicate look