How it’s made
1. The wire
An extra fine wire of about 1.2 km length is drawn from a 100g bar of
high quality 925 Sterling Silver. This exclusively manual process
itself already demands several days of work.
At first, the silver bar is hammered to become a very thin plate. Long fine strips are then cut to be pulled through a rolling mill to reduce the thickness of what is now a silver wire. These are flexible and further stretched manually, using a drawing plate to produce an extremely fine thread. Two of these fine threads are then twisted together with the help of a small rotary machine. It is this double wire, delicate but strong, that is used in the embroidery of the Duchess Lace jewellery creations.
Making needle lace with Sterling Silver demands the threads to be kept heated constantly to allow sufficient flexibility. The fine flame of a soldering iron is used to this intent. This creation also requires the use of high quality Sterling Silver. Only at this condition will the extremely fine and delicate threads NEVER break.
2. From pattern to frame
From the initial design on paper, each element is cut out onto an aluminium sheet. The contours of this aluminium shape are then encircled by a thick Sterling Silver thread. After removing the aluminium, the remaining Silver frame is fixed with a soldering iron and then glued on paper. It is now ready to be filled with the delicate double wires.
3. Filling the frame
Fine double Sterling Silver threads are inserted into the open spaces inside the frame. This twisting and wounding is done by needles and tweezers according to the traditional Needle Lace technique.
4. Soldering the piece
When the frame of the design is filled up, it is of course essential for them to hold up firmly to each other, for ever. For this, Myrna sprinkles fine silver powder over its surface to be heated with her soldering iron in order to fix the silver wires to each other. Knowing that the melting temperature of Sterling Silver is 1.200°C, it is extremely important to “sense” the right moment to stop the heating. The least excess of soldering can permanently damage the embroidery work by melting down… Days of intense work can be totally lost if this key process fails!
5. The finishing touch
The jewels have turned brownish red due to the heat and oxidation by the soldering process. They have to be boiled for about 20 minutes in a chemical bath at 800°C. Finally, when the original silver colours have revealed, each item is diligently polished by hand to add an extra bright and shimmering appearance.
The Duchess Lace jewel is now ready to sparkle up your life from here on!