The Art of Craftsmanship: Behind the Scenes of Creating Animal-Inspired Jewelry

Posted by Christina Zipperlen on

Since the dawn of civilization, animals have held a profound place in human culture and lives. They have served as symbols, loyal companions, and muses. Revered as totems, deities, and guides, these creatures encapsulate the essence of various attributes such as strength, grace, and wisdom. It is no surprise, then, that animal-inspired jewelry has been a beloved art form since ancient times. 

From ancient Egypt to Victorian times, animal-inspired jewelry has served not only as an adornment but also as a testament to our enduring fascination and respect for the natural world. But have you ever wondered what goes into creating these intricate pieces? Let's take a behind-the-scenes look at the art of craftsmanship involved in designing and making animal-inspired jewelry.

Introduction to Animal-Inspired Jewelry

The art of crafting animal-inspired jewelry is a true labor of love. It requires a deep understanding and appreciation for both the creatures that serve as an inspiration and the art of bringing them to life. From the majestic lion to the graceful swan, each animal has unique characteristics and symbolism that appeal to us and evoke awe and admiration. This makes animal-inspired jewelry both visually captivating and deeply meaningful to the wearer.

The earliest examples of animal jewelry can be traced back to ancient civilizations, who carved animal shapes into materials such as bone, shell, and stone to make beads. Then later, in ancient Egypt, the scarab beetle was a symbol of rebirth and protection. It became a popular motif in their jewelry, often found in amulets and pendants. South American civilizations also used animals in their jewelry. In pre-Columbian cultures, jaguars were worshipped as gods, symbolizing strength and power.

Over time, animal-inspired jewelry evolved to become more sophisticated and intricate. During the Victorian era, serpent jewelry became popular to represent eternal love and faithfulness. The Victorians were also fond of the symbolism of birds, with doves representing peace and hope and owls representing wisdom.

Even as far back as the ancient Greeks, the owl symbolized wisdom and foresight, representing the goddess Athena. They believed an owl sat on her shoulder, whispering wise counsel into her ear. The owl's ability to see in the dark helped Athena see the whole truth in any situation. Native Americans also have a deep connection to owls, which they view as protectors and messengers between the living and spiritual realms.

The reverence for the owl and other animals continues to this day, inspiring contemporary artisans to create stunning animal-inspired jewelry that captures the essence of these creatures.

Exploring the Craftsmanship

The creation of animal-inspired jewelry involves various intricate techniques that require skill, precision, and patience. The whole process starts with the spark of an idea in the heart and mind of the designer. They may draw inspiration from the nature they see around them or from ancient myths, rituals, and stories.

The most important aspect of crafting animal-inspired jewelry is capturing the essence of the animal at every step of the process, which starts with the design phase. The designer studies the animal carefully to understand its anatomy and movement, as well as its symbolism and cultural significance. This attention to detail is crucial in creating a representation of the animal that is both meaningful and beautiful.

Once the design is finalized, the next step is to select the materials they will use to bring it to life. At Ananda Soul, we have a commitment to sustainability and ethical practices that align with the deep connection we have to nature. That's why every piece of our animal-inspired jewelry is handcrafted using ethically sourced materials.

The core of our pieces is made from certified recycled silver, which is not only eco-friendly but also adds to the unique character of each piece. Silver can be reused and reshaped infinitely while retaining its quality. It is a perfect material to recycle to create timeless jewelry pieces while being kind to the earth.

Precious gemstones or crystals are added to enhance the design and add the magic touch of the earth's energy. These stones are also ethically sourced from suppliers we know and trust, ensuring that each piece is infused with love and respect toward the natural world.

After the silver is carefully shaped and molded, it is plated with a layer of 22k gold, giving it a luxurious finish.

Once the design is complete and the materials are carefully selected, the process is handed over to our skilled Balinese artisans, who bring the vision to life with their exceptional craftsmanship. With meticulous loving care, they painstakingly shape, engrave, and assemble it. Each piece is imbued with their energy and loving craft, making it unique.

Artistry and Attention to Detail

The artistry and attention to detail required to create animal-inspired jewelry is awe-inspiring. Creating these detailed pieces takes years of practice and dedication to skills handed down through generations.

These are the stages of artistry involved in creating the pieces at Ananda Soul:

  • Wax carving. The first step is to create a wax mold of the design, which is meticulously carved by hand to bring the design and all its intricate details to life. This wax mold is then used to create a plaster cast for the final piece.
  • Casting process. Once the plaster cast is ready, molten silver is melted and poured into it to take on the shape of the original wax carving. The casting process is delicate and precise, requiring skill and experience to ensure the metal flows smoothly into the mold.
  • Casting quality control. Once the cast piece has cooled, it is carefully checked for defects or imperfections. Any mistakes are corrected at this stage to ensure that each piece perfectly matches the master sample, shows all of the small details of the original animal design, and meets our high-quality standards.
  • Silversmith. After the casting process, each individual piece is carefully refined by hand. Any gemstones or crystals are expertly set, and final details, such as chains and clasps, are added.
  • Silversmith quality control. The piece is then closely inspected for any final imperfections before being sent to the plating process.
  • Gold plating. Each piece of animal-inspired jewelry is plated with 22k gold, which adds a beautiful and luxurious finish and durability.
  • Final quality control. The piece is checked for the final time to ensure that every detail is still perfect after the plating and meets our quality standards.

Once these steps are completed, the final piece of animal-inspired jewelry is ready to be shared with the world. It carries the spirit of the animal and the loving skills of our artisans.

Behind-the-Scenes Insights

At Ananda Soul, our desire is to change the world a little and we believe that every step counts. That's why we aim to operate with integrity and compassion toward the planet, people, and animals.

Our commitment to sustainability and ethical practices extends beyond the materials we use. Our artisans work in a safe and comfortable environment where they can express their creativity while being paid fair wages. They are much more than skilled craftsmen; they are artists who pour their heart and soul into each piece they create. Just as each animal we admire holds a unique spirit and energy, so does every piece of jewelry crafted by our artisans.

Much of the magic that goes into our animal-inspired jewelry takes place in the small village of Celuk in the Gianyar region of Bali. Celuk is known as the jewelry capital of Bali, with a long history of skilled silversmiths passing down their craft from generation to generation. It is there, in a small family compound, where our artisans create each piece by hand, infusing it with the love, beauty, and spirit of Bali.

These artisans possess a rich heritage of jewelry-making that has been passed down through generations. Many silversmiths in Bali can trace their roots back to the Majapahit Empire in the 13th century and still use traditional methods to create unique and intricate jewelry pieces.

Our partnership with our silversmiths helps preserve this traditional art form to produce timeless and meaningful collections that are not only beautiful but also honor the natural world.

Celebrating the Finished Product

After all the hard work, craftsmanship, and dedication, the final piece is completed and ready to be shared with the world. Each animal-inspired piece is unique and carries its own energy, which resonates with the wearer in a special way.

Like the Soul Wisdom Owl Necklace from the Nature of Us collection, which includes an owl pendant that acts as a messenger of the spiritual realm. The owl carries the energy of our ancestors and reminds us to trust our inner knowing. In this piece, the owl is paired with Smokey Quartz to help ground and protect us so we can feel safe in our wisdom.

Or the Gentle Devotion Hoop Earrings, featuring the Archangel Ariel as the guardian of nature and divine magic, and their lion, a symbol of nobility, courage, and power.

Each animal-inspired piece of jewelry is a celebration of the intricate artistry, spiritual energy, and loving care that goes into creating it. And, like all Ananda Soul jewelry, they are infused with love and intention in a traditional Balinese ceremony before being sent out to be cherished by their new owners.

When you wear a piece of animal-inspired jewelry from Ananda Soul, you are not just wearing a beautiful piece of art; you are also carrying the energy and spirit of the animal that inspired it, along with the skilled touch and love of our Balinese artisans. Each piece is a true celebration of nature, reminding us to connect with the natural world and embody its qualities in our daily lives. So go ahead and adorn yourself with these magical pieces of jewelry, knowing that they were made with love and respect for all beings on this planet. May they bring joy to your heart and to that of every person who has touched it with their skill and craftsmanship.

Shop The Nature of Us collection

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