Tag Archives: jewelry design

Student Spotlight: Monica Ruzansky

LV: When did you first start making jewelry?

MR: I started my practice in Mexico City with the jeweler Adriana Lieberman back in 2006, then I paused for a few years and went and back again in 2010 with Caroline Glemann at Liloveve, Borislav Goynatsky as well as with Billy at Sterling Quest in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.


LV: What classes have you taken at Liloveve?

MR: Rose Cut Diamond Ring, Gold Alloying, Stackable Rings and Flush Setting, all really wonderful classes.

LV: Where do you draw your inspiration when designing your work?

MR: It really varies, it can start by looking at a stone – it’s color, or shape. Looking at patterns in nature is a very rich source of inspiration for me, and as well as I really take pleasure in looking at reflections or glimpses of light and I try to translate that into my work.

Other great unexpected inspirational moments happen in the studio during the design and production processes, where mistakes become a starting point for a new idea or even become an actual piece themselves.

LV: Do you sell you work? If so, where?

A few places in Brooklyn are: THE CLAY POT , CATBIRD, & THISTLE & CLOVER

LV: Have you been featured in any press?

MR: NY Magazine ‘The Cut’, Brooklyn Magazine, Travesias Magazine, Folio DigitalPicture 29

LV: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

MR: After my husband proposed to me I proposed to him with a not very wearable ring that I named “Ring de Rêve”. It’s a hollow ring that has a little drawer with a gold umbrella as a knob for opening it on one side, on the other side has a peep hole where if you get the right light you can see an engraved eye with eyelashes in side and lastly at the top there is a piece of rock from Iceland, the place where he actually proposed to me.

In terms of my own line, the Tulum Sunshine earrings and the diamond drop necklace are two of my favorites.

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Drop_earr_   drop_dia_

LV: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

MR: Cambodia.

LV: If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?

MR: Julio le Parc. His his light pieces are something really special to me. Magic is something that happens by chance, involving timing and luck, but I think Julio le Parc’s art encapsulates experiential magic.

Julio Le Parc

LV: What’s the most fun aspect of being a jewelry designer?

MR: The satisfaction of seeing designs begin in your mind or on paper and then take physical form in your hands, as you bring them to life.

tulum_sunshine_e      IMG_1199

See more of Monica’s work at:

AILI Jewelry





Open Studio: Ruta Reifen

Head over to the Museum of Art and Design (MAD Museum) today & check out the great exhibitions there. Their artists-in-residency are doing really incredible work. Once a week each artist opens their studios up to see their processes, view their work and ask questions.

Head over to Ruta Reifen’s studio today, and Israeli born jewelry artist and take a look at her vibrant, organic designs.

Received her B.Design in Jewelry from Shenkar College of Design , Israel, 2009. In 2011 she received a honors MFA from the Jewelry + Metals department at the Rhode Island School of Design.

While checking out Ruta’s work, take a look at the incredible permanent jewelry collection the MAD has to offer on the second floor of the museum. ruta 1 ruta 2 RutaReifen04

4th Annual Student Show: Apply Now!

We’re so excited to announce our 4th annual Student Show coming up in September of 2013. This Student Show is intended to highlight different explorations of the jewelry medium – showing a range of work selected from classroom studies to original artistic works to pieces created as part of a larger design project for another artist or to present in a professional workplace. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, September 19 from 5:00pm – 9:00pm.

We welcome all of our past and present students to apply to this juried show. To apply, please submit up to 3 pieces of original jewelry work by August 25, 2013. Please include at least 1 low res image of each piece submitted, name of work, dimensions, medium, and year created. Email studio@liloveve.com with questions & submissions with Subject: Student Show 2013.


Studio Visit: Daniel Baez from Taba Casting

A few weeks ago in our Intermediate Wax Carving class we were lucky enough to get a visit from Daniel Baez, the owner of Taba Casting in the Jewelry District.

Daniel gave our students a lesson in mold making- the practice of using a model to create negative space within a rubber form. Molds are essentially what makes the jewelry production world go ’round. Knowing how the process works is essential to anyone interested in producing their pieces on a large scale.

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Molds can be made from any number of things- anywhere from a finished piece of metal jewelry, to natural forms like tree bark or animal bones. Basically anything than can withstand the heat of melted rubber can be used to make a mold.

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In order to create a rubber mold, the model is covered in layers of raw rubber and placed inside a vulcanization machine. This machine heats the rubber up to 375 degrees and melts the layers around the model to create a solid mold. Once the rubber is melted around the model, it is cut open to reveal the negative space inside, which is an exact replica of the original piece. Here Daniel cuts open a silicon mold.


After the mold is cut, a special type of wax is injected into the mold to create a wax version of the original model. This process can be repeated over and over to create any number of wax models which are then cast into metal to create multiples.

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There are so many kinds of molds! Interested in learning more about mold making creating multiples of your pieces? Check out our upcoming Mold Making workshop on August 10th and 11th!

How to Alter your Hammers to Create Custom Texture

If you’ve ever used hammers to texture your jewelry pieces, you know that any scratch or mark left on a hammer will, most often frustratingly, be left in the metal. While this theory does often lead to cursing and hair pulling, it can also be used to your advantage. You can deliberately roughen your hammer faces and even cut deep grooves and patterns into it, in order to make your own custom texture hammers. All you need are a few simple tools- a flex shaft, files, and sandpaper.

hammer1      flexshaft

photo source: Art Jewelry Magazine

1. Saw, file, or grind a pattern on the hammer face. Most texture hammers have flat faces with a subtle or complex pattern. You use these almost like a stamp, bringing the face straight down on the metal, avoiding overlapping strikes. You can transform a flat mild steel hammer into a texture hammer by using coarse (#2-8) saw blades, files, drill bits, or separation disks to make patterns on your hammer’s face.

Mount one separating disk on a screw mandrel with a washer below the disk. Tighten the mandrel in your flex shaft, and use a medium-to-high speed to carve a line in your hammer face. Once you carve one line you can carve more- parallel lines, perpendicular lines, checkerboard patterns, short and long lines to make random patterns, or try dipping the disk into the steel repeatedly to form a fur-like texture.

hammer4   hammer3   hammer2

photo source: Art Jewelry Magazine

NOTE: Make sure that your carving or cutting doesn’t wear down one side of the hammer face more than the other, this will create unclear textures.

2. Sand the texture. If you choose to create a more defined pattern, you’ll want to sand the high points with a 600 grit sandpaper, so that your hammer will burnish your metal at those points as you hammer. Load a split mandrel with sandpaper strips, and sand the face until even.

3. Buff the texture. Though this step is optional, the more you polish your hammer, the more your hammer will burnish your metal. Charge a felt buff with polishing compound and and buff to a smooth polish. Now you have your own custom-made texture hammer which you can use to create your own textured pieces.


Want to learn to make your own textured bangles? Check out one of our upcoming Bangle Bracelet workshops!

Enameling equipment for sale!

A fellow member of the Liloveve community is selling her gently used enameling kiln & supplies. So step right up! You can be the lucky new owner of this beautiful Paragon  SC2 digital kiln – did I mention it has a window viewer? enamel supplies

Read more about the enameling suppliers here

Catching up with our students-Sandy Rubin

I just caught up with one of our students, Sandy Rubin to talk with her about her jewelry, inspiration and time travel! Sandy is a regular face to see around Liloveve – always working on a beautiful custom piece, perfecting a new technique she learned in class, or just talking about life in the studio.

Liloveve: When did you first start making jewelry?

Sandy Rubin: I first started making jewelry in college. A good friend of mine made these amazing beaded bracelets & showed me how to make them during a “crafternoon.”

LV: What classes have you taken at Liloveve?

SR: I’ve taken Wax 1 & Wax 2, Intro to Silver, Business Workshop, Rose cut Workshop, and the Prong Setting Workshop. I’m a regular during the weekend bench hours!

LV: Where do you draw your inspiration when designing your work?

SR: For a really long time, I made elaborate wire wrapped pieces. They were very intricate and interesting but I eventually caught myself in a creative rut. After a little soul searching, I realized that a better approach would be to make pieces I would want to wear or buy for others. Whenever I feel the creative juices clot, I look at the piece as if I’m a customer instead of the designer.

LV: Do you exhibit your work anywhere?

SR: You can find my most recent work on Etsy. I’ll also have a new line ready to launch on BigCartel in June. This line will have a wider range of semi precious and precious metals that carry a more visual weight. It will also have more of a focus on men’s jewelry & a variety of stones all with different shapes, cuts, & sizes. I also do a lot of customer pieces for the bridal market.


LV: Have you been featured in any press?

SR: I’ve been featured in a couple blogs and will be featured in: http://light-andsweet.blogspot.com/  within the next few weeks!

LV: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

SR: My all-time favorite piece I’ve ever made is my diamond ring from the rose cut workshop. It was my first time upcycling metal. I melted down an old bracelet of my mother’s & shopped out my very first diamond – an experience in itself!  It has the subtle but unique character I strive to embody in all my pieces and is super easy to wear – I never take it off.


LV: If you could travel any place or time, where would you go?

SR: There are so many places I’d love to travel to. Since we’re on the topic of jewelry, one place sticking out in my mind is in my past as it was my first encounter with “jewels”. I’m a young girl in my grandmother’s walk-in closet. I sit at her vanity putting on imaginary make-up while she searches shoebox after shoebox for her “jewels” – a compilation of jewelry she accumulated from her travels. Suddenly, she stirs. She’s found the right box! Seating the treasures in front of me, I sift through each piece. She has a story for each item & I listen intently. Once I side which piece I’ll add to my collection, she quietly closes the box and puts it back on a shelf. It camouflages in a sea of shoeboxes only to be uncovered on our next rendezvous.


LV: If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?

SR: If I could collaborate with another designer, it would without a doubt be Michael Good. His anticlastic technique plays with opposing curvatures in the metal of his work. His pieces are as mind-boggling in  design as they are beautiful. He is truly a talented artisan.

LV: What’s the most fun aspect of being a jewelry designer?

SR: What I enjoy most about designing jewelry is being able to picture something that only exists in my mind and making it tangible to share with others. It’s like reading your diary with a megaphone.

Check out more of Sandy’s work online!


Etsy Page

Twitter: @Sandy_Rubin

Pinterest: SandyRubin

Instagram: @Rubinsandywich

Architecture of a Ring

One of metal’s unique qualities is its ability to be shaped and formed without breaking – its malleability. The hollow ring project demonstrates the fabrication of a shell structure which can only be fabricated using traditional metalsmithing techniques.  Join us for our next session of Intro to Silversmithing to learn this technique!


student shot

hollow ring file

hollow form ring side 1

hollow ring

silver class shanta fripp

UncommonGoods Design Challenge!

Hey jewelry designers – I know a lot of you quite personally….

I just came across this really awesome design challenge from this great website UncommonGoods, and I think you should all check it out. Enter to win $500 and a chance for a vendor contract with UncommonGoods – an  curated website of artisan made products that prices itself on being eco-friendly  with their offices right here in Brooklyn!

Here’s the link 

Good luck!

Building an engagement ring – student work

I just caught up with one of  our students, Lauren Neumann who was commissioned by a friend to make his engagement ring (don’t worry everyone, I’m posting this post-proposal). Lauren’s taken a few classes with us over the last year. She made this piece during open bench hours and it was so fun helping her & watching it come together. Take a look at how she created this beautiful and special piece….

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After her model was finished – she brought it to a caster to get a mold made and and to be cast to 18k yellow gold.


Her settings were soldered on after the casting came back. She brought the ring to a professional stone setter, and he set all of the diamonds.


P.S. She said yes!

Liloveve: What was your inspiration behind this piece?

Lauren:  I knew she liked a mix of modern and antique looking type pieces so I researched those type of designs and visited on of her favorite websites and drew inspiration from that and then came up with 12 -15 designs for (my friend) to choose from.

LV: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?  

LN: My next place of travel outside the USA would be Greece!  I adore Italy so I would love to visit there again.  Also Turkey, Tulum in Mexico, Monaco, Paris, all of France … So many places!  I love to travel.  I always thought Anthony Bourdain had the most amazing job!

LV: What’s the most fun aspect of jewelry design?  

LN:  Knowing that everything you design and create is your own.  I was a handbag designer for 3 years in the corporate world.  And honestly I was so disheartened learning how the majority of the design world works these days.  Its all knock-offs … or a version of someone else’s design.  Granted I would design something but I would use a silhouette from another bag and then email my specs of to our factory in China and they made it.  There was always a void in that whole process for me.  I never felt like it was truly my design.

LV: What classes have you taken at Liloveve?

LN: Silversmithing & Wax Carving I

LV: What was the most challenging part of this process? 

LN: The engineering aspect of it all.  Figuring out how to go about building the ring and piecing it together.  Luckily I had help from 3 very kind women (Caroline, Carolyn, and Emilie) who are seasoned veterans to help guide me throughout the process.

LV: What was the most fun part of this process?

LN:  After I got over the hump of making the 3 rings from scratch and getting them all perfect it became fun because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.  I knew if I had accomplished that feat that the rest of the ring was going to come together and everything from the point on was stress free and fun!!