Arpaia Gemstone & Pearl Strands
Among Arpaia Jewelry clients, we have several converts who, except for traditional pearl strands and fun pieces, did not wear much "beaded" jewelry before discovering Arpaia Jewelry. They did not associate gemstone "beads" with "fine jewelry". Regarding gem-quality stones, the main difference between a gemstone bead and a set gemstone is that the bead is drilled (center drilled, top drilled, side drilled, etc.). Gemstone beads are becoming more popular - we are seeing more and more sensational smooth and faceted cuts and shapes available. A gemstone bead can have just as good cut, color and clarity as a set gemstone. Gemstone beads, especially gem quality stones, can be very expensive due to the carat loss (material waste) involved to achieve the desired cut, typical 360 degree faceting, and to produce the drill hole. So gemstone strands can be very enticing and extremely high end.
Arpaia luxury pearl and gemstone strands are refined and glamorous, feel extremely light on and are most comfortable to wear – almost undetectable except visually. Clients often ask what makes Arpaia strands so sumptuous in look and feel. As always, we are thrilled to share and hope our website visitors might also find this topic interesting. At the top of this page, we identified several features of Arpaia strung jewelry: graceful elegance, delicate beauty, exquisite luxury, and supple drape. Selecting lovely gems and fabricating components for each design is a great start and this process can take months even years despite keeping things simple; but design and materials are just the start. For truly lovely pieces you need attention to detail at every stage in the follow through.
Below are some of the post-design steps we undertake to accomplish these tasks:
Sparkling Clean Components. Starting with really clean dry components is an absolute must. After the design work is done and all gems selected, and adornments, clasp and findings fabricated, we thoroughly clean everything separately by safe gentle methods. To avoid watermarks and keep things sparkly clean, we cool blow dry all components completely and then polish dry with a soft clean microfiber cloth.
We let all components sit the next day. We call it "air drying" to make sure everything is completely dry. This break provides an opportunity to look over the materials to make sure everything is exactly right. Things can look different when really clean.
The Right Stringing Material. We typically use silk thread or stainless steel cable wire specifically made for jewelry making. We keep lots of options on hand to enable us to pick the stringing material most suited for the project. Some selections are limited or even dictated by the color of the gemstones, the weight of metal adornments, or the size of gemstone/pearl drill holes (for example, diamond beads have very small drill holes and require thinner stringing materials than many other stones and pearls). The right stringing material fulfills function (sufficient strength and proper drape) as well as design - we prefer a wire that either disappears or enhances the look of the gemstones or open metalwork such as filigree beads.
Exacting Calibration. We love hand faceted and hand smooth-polished gemstone beads; their beauty is exceptionally compelling. With artisan craftsmanship, even extremely well-matched gemstones tend to be irregular in size and shape. Spatial relationships are important in jewelry. To make a visually stunning strand with wow factor it is necessary to achieve balance and harmony by proper placement of the gemstones along the strand. Whether graduated in size or similar size, hand-fashioned gemstones need to be conscientiously placed in their best possible position in relation to each other. Though we use precise measurement methods to assist, when working with irregularly shaped and sized gemstones we also must incorporate visual cues to yield the best results. The calibration process takes time and several tries; we do not stop until the overall drape and look are most appealing and the piece possesses a real easy sensuality. When working with 15 or 16" of very small gemstones, it can take a couple of days just to place the gemstones along the strand. Then, once the gemstones and any other adornments are in the right place, we restring the entire piece on brand new stringing wire - calibration compromises the integrity of stringing materials, so once the piece is just right, only then do we create the permanent strand with brand new stringing materials and findings.
Structural Engineering. Gemstones come alive when worn. There is something so sexy and gorgeous about gemstones against the skin. Soft flexible drape fosters proximity of strung jewelry with body curvature even during movement. Great drape doesn't just happen - it's created, and usually structural engineering is required to make it happen. Conversely, there may be times when a necklace needs strength and more solid shape to maintain good drape on the neck. Whether soft drape or strong form, or both in compliment, is needed, structural engineering can assist. Arpaia Lang hand makes high karat gold grommets and other tiny findings to serve as purely functional parts in the internal makings of certain strung designs, hidden in the structural form so that they do not show or interrupt the flow and beauty of the outside design.
Fine Finishing. In addition to how a piece drapes and looks, the finishing can be strong evidence of overall quality and workmanship. Unless purposely a part of the design, rough-hewn finishing can result from inexperience or lesser craftsmanship (e.g., quick nonchalant assembly of components into a completed piece of jewelry). Expert craftsmanship will include very fine finishing details. At Arpaia Lang, we spend an inordinate amount of time finishing our pearl and gemstone strand pieces. The strand must be as perfectly attached to the clasp as we can possibly achieve. Time is not a factor in finishing. We take hours to finish a piece, not minutes. The end result must look great - the finishing must be refined, smooth, neat, and strong. In addition, great finishing encompasses proper tension of the strand, which is essential to creating the ultimate drape we desire. Outer craftsmanship evidences inner craftsmanship. Refined details show expert craftsmanship and hint that as much attention was paid to the internal workmanship of a piece as to apparent beauty.
Reminder: Strung Pieces Require Gentle Handling and Care. By their nature, hand-strung gemstone jewelry is more delicate than chains and can break if pulled or caught. Valuable gemstone jewelry should be insured against damage because if a strand breaks you could lose many gemstones and precious metal parts. Click this link for more information on the care of fine jewelry