July 24, 2015
We can’t wait till our Portland Fair this weekend at Rejuvenation! There are so many talented Makers headed to SE Portland, plus Lost Girls Vintage and Portland Flea will be sharing their curated found goods from all over the country. Needless to say, it’s going to be a grand weekend! Today we’re featuring Minoux Jewelry. Learn more about this maker and gawk and these gorgeous pieces.
Minoux jewelry was founded by Portland artist, Kristen Robison. Minoux is all about melding a love of style with a commitment to thoughtful consumption. Kristen creates classic, refined and meaningful pieces that make you feel good because you look great wearing them and you know they’re made by happy hands.
Details are important to Kristen, and she takes great care in every stage of making the jewelry. From concept and design, to execution and final presentation, Kristen is dedicated to product integrity. Minoux jewelry will last, even through all the daily wears and outfit changes, because let’s face it, these pieces go with everything!
Each piece is handmade using recycled sterling silver, bronze and gold wherever possible. Minoux is an environmentally-conscious studio, and practices this philosophy by choosing recycled metals, using less-toxic chemical alternatives for metal-smithing, and using recycled paper and packing materials.
The newest Minoux collection is the first time Kristen has created a line using the lost wax casting method. In this process, Kristen carves a design out of a special hard wax, using the wax model to create a single exact copy in metal.
Once Kristen had made the metal prototype, she wears it around in daily life, to make sure it’s comfortable, and to see if there are any design tweaks that would make it wear or look better. Kristen’s perfectionism produces flawless jewelry that is not only beautiful, but also comfortable to wear everyday. Changes are made until Kristen creates that perfect prototype.
Once a prototype has been approved, the final version is used to make a master mold, so that copies can be made. And in some ways, that’s just the start of the process! After a copy is cast from the master, the surface of the piece comes out quite porous and rough. At this stage, you almost wouldn’t even recognize it as jewelry. To bring the jewelry to the high shine that you see in a finished piece, imperfections are first ground off, then the entire piece is hand-sanded, then it spends about 24 hours in a mechanical tumbler to smooth the surface, and then comes the final hand-polish.
The hand polishing especially is a pretty dirty process, and Kristen has completely given up on ever having completely clean hands or fingernails.
Lost wax casting allows for a huge range of creativity, and Kristen feels like she’s just begun to understand both the limits and the possibilities of the process. Archeological evidence shows that people have been using a process like this to make metal objects as long as 5000 years ago, and Kristen appreciates feeling connected to an ancient method of human expression and creation.
Minoux Jewelry is timeless in its design. The pieces are simple to be worn daily – yet retain a very special quality that makes the wearer feel significant.