What is crystallization? Well, just to be fair- crystallization is not exactly correct name for the process we use to create our gorgeous jewelry. We use this word to describe the following: 1) there is perfectly polished and shiny silver bezel that we`ve prepared and 2) there is Swarovski or Preciosa Chatons. How do we put those two together? We use special clay and special instruments, our eyes , hands and imagination. We are mixing the clay, placing it into silver bezel, then one by one picking up the crystal and pressing into clay until that piece of silver becomes one gorgeous crystallized silver jewelry piece of art. Although more grammatically appropriate name probably would be "embellish" , "decorate", "embed", etc. we named this process "crystallization".
There are many different epoxy clays used by jewelers for Crystal setting into the Silver to achieve Crystallized Silver effect. 7 Willows Studio had created its own version of such product. We call it ceramic putty. It is two part epoxy clay that is easily mixed and formed into any shape. There is approximately 1/2- 1 hour time frame when the putty is soft and crystals could be embedded. After that it makes a final steel-hard cure- approximately in 12 hours . In its raw stage putty is tan/grayish color. We use many different ceramic paints to achieve various color variants. Here is an example of these colors.
Once the putty had been mixed, colored and set into silver form, crystals are ready to be embedded. They are laid on the table with the planned pattern in mind- various sizes and colors and then each is carefully picked up either with vacuum pick- up system tool, wax pick-up stick or in 7 Willows Studio case- with simple IV needle. Each crystal is carefully set into ceramic putty one by one until jewelry piece is fully crystallized.
Crystal color chart
Here is visual illustration of Silver Crystallization process.