Victoria Lansford is an extraordinary jewelry artisan. She is not only skilled in all kinds of metal work but also a passionate modern day master of ancient world jewelry making techniques.  Some of this Atlanta, Georgia artisan's most exquisite work is in the art of filigree metalwork. The kind she does is known as Russian or Open Back filigree.

Curves in the Right Places II : Russian Filigree

Victoria does not take the easy way out with filigree work. She said, "I build the frame from 18K gold or sterling silver wire and make the tiny "filler" wires from fine silver (.999% pure silver) for flexibility and contrast. I shape and cut each individual wire to tension fit it within the frame so that I can turn the piece over with the wires still in place and solder from the back. This method preserves the integrity of the wires'patterned edge.'" She says she is not in the least patient adding,  "I do filigree more by feel than sight, particularly in the wee hours of the night with an impending deadline!"

Egypt Lily : Russian Filigree and Roman Chain
Even the chains she makes are based on Ancient World techniques.  Her Egypt Lily design featuring koroit opal and tigereye gemstones is supported by a Roman (loop in loop or foxtail) chain.  Mediterranean jewelry masters used to fuse and form each individual link before weaving them together. Time consuming work indeed!  Victoria also creates her own chain patterns.

Star Dust on My Sleeve : Russian Filigree (hinged cuff)
Her modern interpretation of the Ancient Etruscan art of granulation is inspiring!  For centuries, people did not understand how these past masters managed to attach tiny gold grains to metal work without soldering. It took until the 20th century before the mystery was solved. The Etruscans used copper carbonate, water and fish glue to stick the grains. When heated, the copper carbonate fused with the gold thus creating a solder-less bind.

Rivers of Gold Bracelet : Granulation and Kum Boo Clasp

Rivers of Gold is a gorgeous example from Victoria's gallery which shows off her granulation skill. The original mesh pattern bracelet is made from fine and sterling silver as well as 24K gold.  The beautiful clasp features the granulation technique as well as an ancient Korean one called Kum Boo which involves using heat and friction to bond thin 24K gold sheets to the silver.

Watch this great  HGTV feature where Victoria shows how she created the angel fish inspired parure below in her studio.  She makes making the little silver balls, fusing and soldering look so easy! Worth a watch just to see how she used liver of sulfur to get the gorgeous patina.

Something Fishy : Granulation and Kum Boo

Victoria also uses the Eastern repousse technique for some of her designs where the metal is worked on so it forms a "puffy" sculptured look. She does not use molds - just her tools to hammer on the metal front and back. This technique was used by the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks.  One stunning repousse example from the past is Tutankhamen's golden mask.

Turkish Delights Earrings : Eastern Repousse and Kum Boo
She said "Eastern repousse is the secret knowledge of how to get metal to do almost anything I want (except clean my house for me)!"  With awesome skills like hers, she really shouldn't have to clean the house!

Check out Victoria's site for more gorgeous jewelry and information on the techniques she uses.  She also teaches (classes and DVD).

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips