Monika Fairchild

"I am the sole creator of each one of my jewelry designs. The process usually begins by laying out many colorful stones and rare fossils.   The next step is sketching my design idea on paper, adding graceful lines that support the relationship of all pieces.  Then each stone gets its own custom bezel made, either out of sterling silver or 14 kt gold bezel wire, which I cut and solder closed and attach onto a flat piece of sterling silver sheet.  The thickness of the base varies according to the purpose of the piece of jewelry.  For example: earrings are made of lighter gauge, and pendants heavier. 

I cut shapes out of silver and gold using a hand saw and bend or texture them, mostly with small hand tools like pliers and hammers.  Once all elements are attached together through the process of soldering, the job of polishing begins.  It is a long, labor intensive and unpleasant process, and it is what differentiates quality work.  I use a buffing machine, holding the piece in my hands and pressing against the extremely fast spinning cloth wheel, feeding it with polishing compound every few seconds. The last step is to carefully set the stones in place using a bezel pusher and burnisher. 

My favorite part of jewelry making process is to see how great my creation looks on the person that has fallen in love with it and the joy it brings to them."