Vicky’s blog: Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to be plated we go!

Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s off to be plated we go!

This week I stepped into the unknown frontier of the plating process….wow let the magic begin!

Each piece of our gorgeous precious jewellery is plated in either 22 carat gold or palladium.

After they have come out of the barrel hall and left to dry they are sorted and placed individually onto racks before going through the plating process.

There are several different tanks of magical liquids and before my eyes I see the racks of product dipping into these “naked” and coming out gleaming in gold and silver!

No wonder I love jewellery so much – they sparkle and glisten like fairy dust.

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Vicky’s blog: off to the barrel hall!

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It’s off to the Barrel hall this week!

The white metal jewellery pieces need to be polished and cleaned before being plated in gold and palladium and our barrel hall is the perfect place for them to be to have their “bath”!

Ceramic “beads” or media are placed in large spinning barrels along with the product and lots of warm soapy water.

Each piece goes through 3 different stages – and each stage has a different size bead in order to polish and clean the piece expertly until their surfaces are smooth and free of any dust.
They come out all squeaky clean and shiny ready for their next phase – and as you can see so far there are many steps involved in the birth of a beautiful piece of jewellery.

I find every phase just as fascinating to observe.

 

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Vicky’s blog: the casting room

My experience of the different steps in the production of jewellery had me observing in the “casting” room this week.

Wow what a fascinating process! The white metal is purchased in large bars or ingots and then melted at 296 degrees Celsius (554 degrees Fahrenheit) until it forms a liquid that I can only describe as being akin to molten lava. (And probably just as hot!)

I was transfixed by the liquid as it was scooped out of the melting pot – it didn’t stick to the ladle but simply ebbed and flowed all about until it was poured down the spout of the casting machine.

Inside this machine is a rubber mould of each particular product. The mould is in two halves which fit together perfectly and leave cavaties where the product will be formed.

The metal itself if left to the elements would set hard in just a few seconds so work has to be done at speed to create the exacting results we are looking for.

Once the hot metal is poured into the mould the casting machine spins it at very high speed spreading the metal into the holes.

It is then left to cool, each half of the mould removed and as if by magic the product appears.

From there they will be delivered to the “barrel hall” to be polished but that is next week’s story!

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Vicky’s blog: “The Chief”: 100% manufactured in New Zealand

This week I took some time out from my busy role to speak to the Matriarch and Patriarch of the “Ariki family” The wonderful owners of Ariki, and glean a little back ground information on the company.

I was interested to find out that the name “Ariki” is from the Maori language and means “The Chief”.

Personally I think this a very apt description of a company which was founded in 1932 and continues to be one of the world’s most successful designer/manufacturer of Paua shell jewellery. It is also one of the largest jewellery manufacturers in New Zealand.

It is certainly “The Chief” when it comes to creating beautiful handcrafted jewellery.

They both pride themselves on the fact that their products are 100% manufactured in New Zealand. The Paua itself is a natural renewable resource entirely sustainable and of course is harvested from the pristine waters off the coast lines of “Clean – Green” New Zealand.

Ariki uses only the highest quality Paua shell which comes from the oldest Paua with the thickest shells. “We select the best colour shells and carve and work them into jewellery that shows the Paua in the best possible way. Each shell has a different colour range, which makes each piece of jewellery absolutely unique”.

Here’s to another 83 years in business Mum and Dad!

Click to see Maori themed items

Vicky’s blog: a cute wee lighthouse, a seahorse and a crocodile

I have had such an awesome week at Ariki no two days are ever the same and there is always new things to see and learn – we have recently launched a few new items to our range and I’m excited to show them to you.
The cute wee lighthouse pendant is inspired by those guardians of the sea standing vigil on coastlines all over the world keeping sea faring folk safe from disaster.

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Our seahorse pendant – featuring this majestic creature of the sea – how apt considering that the Paua shell that adorns it is just as majestic.

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The crocodile pendant – who would have thought that such an ugly creature would inspire such a beautiful piece of jewellery?

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