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David and Helen Worcester's Profile

About

Hello and welcome to our Etsy store!

We have been involved in the jewelry business for over 30 years. We got our start working for Helen’s grandmother in her jewelry store. With David’s background in sculpture, jewelry design was a good fit and we went on to open our own retail store. Eight years later David won a design competition which awarded him a booth space in New York city at a major international jewelry show. Since then, we have been selling David’s designs to jewelry stores throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Helen obtained the colored stone certificate from the Gemological Institute of America, while David obtained their diamond certificate. Helen does the stone buying and the stones are a great inspiration to David’s designing. We use both natural and lab made stones. We feel that the lab made stones are an…

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  • Born on March 7
  • Joined July 1, 2010

Favorite materials

argentium 960 high purity silver, natural and man made gemstones

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About

Hello and welcome to our Etsy store!

We have been involved in the jewelry business for over 30 years. We got our start working for Helen’s grandmother in her jewelry store. With David’s background in sculpture, jewelry design was a good fit and we went on to open our own retail store. Eight years later David won a design competition which awarded him a booth space in New York city at a major international jewelry show. Since then, we have been selling David’s designs to jewelry stores throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Helen obtained the colored stone certificate from the Gemological Institute of America, while David obtained their diamond certificate. Helen does the stone buying and the stones are a great inspiration to David’s designing. We use both natural and lab made stones. We feel that the lab made stones are an affordable alternative to the natural stones and are less harmful to the environment.

Like so many disciplines, jewelry making offers a lot to explore, always keeping both designing and production interesting. Our ideas feed off one another, or spin off spontaneous observations that catch our eye and imagination.

Welcome to our home here on Etsy! We hope you enjoy the tour!

For those who are technically inclined, some notes from David ON ARGENTIUM SILVER, TENSION SETTING, AND THE BRITANNIA STANDARD

A recent invention, Argentium Silver excited me as a metal choice when I became aware that it was not only more resistant to tarnish, but that it could be made harder than all other cast silvers. I was further intrigued by a new higher purity form with almost half the non silver alloys of sterling.

I enjoy designing tension settings, in which the spring and structure of the design itself secures the gemstone in the mounting. Until now, no cast silver had worked for this technique, but information suggested that Argentium Silver might.

In asking some technical questions, I came in contact with Peter Johns, the inventor of Argentium Silver in the U.K.. Not being able to get it in the U.S., Peter sent me some of his own supply of a brand new 960/1000 "Britannia standard" alloy. In exchange, I provided feedback.

An exhaustive testing of suggested heating procedures, bending a few rules, and exploring additional mechanical processing, has allowed me to successfully use this beautiful material for my tension settings. It takes almost double the steps needed in my gold castings to achieve, but I find it very satisfying to be able to produce this kind of work in silver.

The Britannia standard must not be confused with the pewter-like 'britannia metal', but understood as a reference to a silver purity of about half way between (.925) sterling and 100% pure. To prevent manufacturers from getting free silver by clipping off bits from coinage, while still retaining its currency value, in 1697 a law was enacted in England requiring flatware makers meet a more pure .9584 fineness - they had to use metal from other sources than coins. The mandatory standard was later abandoned, and is seldom used because it is considered too soft, until now.

While exceeding the Britannia standard, Argentium 960 Silver is not only harder than fine silver, it is also harder than sterling! It has the added appeal of being a brilliant white metal combined with Argentium Silver's superior tarnish resistance, and has unique working properties at the bench that translates into jewelry work not possible in other silvers.

It is truly a unique metal that I feel fortunate to work with.



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