About a year ago now, we kicked off this Field Trip series almost unintentionally. It started with one visit out to a neighborhood bar, then another quick trip to a favorite local restaurant, and has now become a regular monthly tradition that’s high up on there on the “What I love most about my job” list… and this latest field trip only reinforced my affection for the column. When the super talented team of craftsmen at Shaesby invited our team over for an afternoon of precious metals and rare stones, it was a complete no-brainer and we knew we were in for a treat. What we didn’t know, however, was that we’d be getting to design our own baubles to take home with us (eek!), and that Shaesby and his team are delightful hosts. Click through to see it all in action…

*Photography by Molly Winters

Every single piece of jewelry is made by hand by incredible craftsman in Shaesby’s Austin studio. Beauty is in the details.

We arrived to Shaesby’s north-central studio and found a mouth-watering spread of hors d’oeuvres and bubbly awaiting us, and of course…

… a most dreamy display of the most gorgeous jewelry  begging to be played with.

Shaesby (yes, that’s his first name!) invited us into his office where he shared with us his fascinating journey and this inspiration he’s collected from all over the globe.

After studying fine art, Shaesby was on the search for a way to combine his love for sculpture with creating a commercial product. The solution was an art form that isn’t observed from a distance, but rather, worn and incorporated deeply into an individual’s being. As such, Shaesby went from creating larger-than-life sculptures, to tiny, delicate pieces of art.

“I love to find something beautiful in nature, and then try to recreate the same design in metal. I take something geometric, and make it into something organic.”

Shaesby now employs a team of eight, and we were lucky enough to get an in-depth demonstration of how every piece of jewelry is made.

The very anvil that Shaesby used when he first began creating jewelry is still used in the studio today, and is polished daily so that the jewelry metal doesn’t take on any scratches.

Here Travis hammered away at what was soon to be an pendant, and showed us that a high polish hammer results in a high polish metal.

I was so moved by the notion that each piece of jewelry is created by the same two hands, from start to finish (as opposed to an assembly line model where products are passed off and mass produced!)… here, a wheel is used to shave down the corners of that same pendant.

So, here’s where things got heated… quite literally. To create the metal casting that every stone will fit into, a negative mold is created and filled with molten metal, which we learned, looks like it’s from Mars.

A vacuum then pulls the metal into the cavity, heated to 900 degrees. Once heated, the cavity is then submerged in water (so hot that it causes the water to boil instantly), and disintegrates to reveal only the “tree” you see pictured here. Each “branch” of the “tree” is a separate piece of jewelry which will be sawed off.

Rubber molds filed away to re-create any metal piece.

Our team then got to create our own dream Urchin Studs or Urchin Drop Earrings. And of course, I added the Flamenco Slender Cuff and these sweet stack rings to my holiday wish list. “jewelry doesn’t cometo life until its worn”

“Jewelry doesn’t come to life until it’s worn” 

*photo by Allison Smoler

And last, but certainly not least, a peak at Bridal. Couples can come into the studio to design and help create their own rings, or just as well, choose from Shaesby’s already existing, and totally gorgeous, collection. Is one of each too much to ask?

*photo by Allison Smoler

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