The AO team are excited to let our customers know that, starting with Geometric [C-01], all Alex Orso jewellery will now be manufactured in the UK. To celebrate this, we want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the meticulous 12-step production process we use across our collections.
A broad range of techniques are used throughout our production, some methods are traditional and have been used for centuries, while others embrace technology and innovation requiring specialist digital equipment. We use these techniques, old and new, to safeguard the high manufacturing standards you have come to expect from us.
1) Product Design
A hand drawn sketch by Alex is the starting point of every AO product. These are carefully crafted with a focus on detail and finish.
2) CAD Rendering
A 3D model is created using the dimensions and specifications from the hand drawing. The 3D model allows us to adjust the structure of the product and experiment with scale.
3) High Resolution 3D Printing
Using a high definition 3D printer, a 3D model is printed from which the moulds can be made.
4) Mould Making
Moulds of the 3D printed designs are created using a cold-cure process. The cold-cure process is perfect for capturing and replicating the details of small intricate designs.
5) Wax Injection and Pattern Cluster Construction
Molten wax is injected into the negative product mould shapes. Once cooled and set, the wax products can be removed and assembled into pattern clusters around a central wax sprue. The completed pattern cluster is then set in plaster to create a mould for casting.
6) Vacuum Injection Casting
The plaster mould is heated to over 700°C which results in the wax melting and evaporating completely, leaving a negative impression of the pattern cluster. This negative space is then filled with molten Sterling Silver at a temperature of 1040°C, using a vacuum injection method. Once the space has been filled and left to set briefly, the entire plaster cast is submerged in cold water which causes the plaster casing to disintegrate, leave behind the solidified metal cast.
7) Primary Finishing
The primary finishing stage involves removing the individual items from the metal pattern clusters. The individual products are then filed down using specialist filing and sanding tools, removing any excess metal from the casting process.
Styles like the Rotation Ring are made up of several individually cast elements. These separate pieces are assembled and fixed together using a hand-held soldering iron or a laser soldering process.
9) Secondary Finishing
This is one of the final stages of the jewellery making process where surface textures are added to the product. Various grades of mops are used to give either a polished or brushed finish. To achieve the dappled surface on the Oval Pendant, Disc Pendant and Hex Ring, each product is individually hand planished using a special hammer and anvil.
10) Laser Engraving
The AO logo is laser engraved on to each design using a laser engraver.
The penultimate stage of the process is the plating. Each sterling silver product is electroplated in either 22kt Gold, Rhodium (silver in colour) or Black Rhodium.
To complete the manufacturing process, each Sterling Silver product is hallmarked at the The Goldsmiths’ Company London Assay Office. Hallmarking is used to verify the quality of the material used in our products.