Vacuum seals & fine jewellery – more in common than you’d think.
Earlier this year, Estelle Burton, East Sussex based silversmith and jeweller, approached us to advise on a project she is developing as part of a Jewellery Design MA at Central Saint Martins (CSM).
Following a career in advertising and design, Estelle went on to become a Fellow of the Gemmological Society in London, studying the art of gemstone valuation and identification. As a self-taught designer, from there, moved on to study jewellery manufacture and enamelling in London’s jewellery quarter at The British School of Jewellery. Completing a BA in Contemporary Craft at Brighton University allowed her to develop her skills in kiln‑formed glass and silversmithing.
Her current research at CSM (part of the University of London) is centred on the marriage of glass and metal where she’s planning to create a collection of playful, highly pigmented glassy jewellery for the luxury market.
It was a chance discovery of the sealing techniques we use to create valves, circuits and components for industry sparked her idea. And we’ve been working with her to help realise her vision by supporting her exploration…
Estelle explains, “This all started with a discovery of a series of exciting and very unexpected reactions I found as a result of a series of experiments casting molten pewter alongside molten glass as part of my degree.
From there I started exploring different joining techniques of what are considered incompatible materials such as enamelling and the use of nano technology to ‘seal’ designs on traditional silversmithing techniques like hand raising the use of just a hammer to form flat metal into sculptural forms.
It was at this point I stumbled upon glass‑to‑metal seals used in the aerospace, medical and tech space. What struck me was the way these objects were presented in this sector as precious jewels in their own right. The craftsmanship and skill involved in creating these components is, in the most part, unseen by the general public, and was astonishing to me. It got me thinking about how similar these were to what is created at the jewellers’ bench. And it’s this chance discovery which has inspired the new collection.
Developing a collection of wearable glass jewellery where the glass takes centre-stage and forms part of the integral structure of the piece, in conjunction with metal traditionally used to do this, opens up exciting possibilities in connections and settings which I’m excited to explore.”
Waste not want not
An important part of Estelle’s work is the use of waste materials where possible. The use of waste glass & failed seals could be used as a new material source and transformed into something desirable to avoid landfill. Using low energy techniques such as flameworking glass along with residual heat from other processes is also something she is looking to explore,
The new collection will be developed over the course of next year and we’ll reveal more as the project progresses. Watch this space!…