Meet The Boho Jeweller Behind Moonsalt Jewellery
"I personally think it's important to not box yourself in to one style and to grow and develop as a jeweller..."
Sarah is a self taught jeweller and created her handmade business 'Moonsalt Jewellery' in the summer of 2016. While living in Melbourne, Australia she discovered her love for crystals and gemstones - she took a metalsmith class and the rest is history! Sarah makes one of a kind jewellery at her home workshop, creating bohemian inspired jewellery using incredible statement gemstones, often sourced from Kernowcraft. Find out more about Sarah in the interview below - including top tips for stone setting, combining jewellery making with her love for animals, favourite gemstones to designing an engagement ring! Plus we find out what her favourite Kernowcraft products are.
Hi Sarah, tell us how your jewellery making journey began!
Hey! I have always had a love for arts and crafts growing up and I started making beaded jewellery when I was in my late teens. I then moved to Melbourne, Australia where my obsession with gemstones began.
Whilst I was deciding on what career path to take, I saw an evening silversmithing course in one of the colleges in the city and decided to sign up. The class was teaching us how to make copper bowls and spoons.
One of the students deviated from the course plan and made the most beautiful flower cuff bracelet. I was completely hooked on the idea of making silver jewellery after that. The course taught me the basic understanding of how to solder/use jewellery making tools and it developed from there. When I returned home, I completed a basic ring making evening course and built my tool and stone collection.
'Wonder Woman ring' featuring a citrine faceted stone.
What are the main themes that run throughout all of your designs?
I find it difficult to pin point a theme to my designs. I recently released a collection called the Stargazers Collection which had a boho/celestial vibe. I find that although my designs are probably a boho/minimalist style, I am constantly changing and unable to stick to one theme. I personally think it's important to not box yourself in to one style and to grow and develop as a jeweller.
Favourite gemstones and why?
Gosh there are so many!! I adore moonstone and I think this is my favourite. I love its simplicity but yet its uniqueness when it has its beautiful rainbow flashes inside. I also adore watermelon tourmaline, pyrite, opal, turquoise and sapphire. I just love all gemstones, I'm a little obsessed!
Green amethyst faceted stone ring with granulation.
"Instagram is also a fantastic platform for jewellers and most are really keen to help and share techniques..."
As a self-taught jeweller, what resources did you use to learn new techniques?
I purchased some jewellery making books for stone setting and soldering as well as watching Youtube videos. I found Andrew Berry’s YouTube channel fantastic for teaching! I found it difficult teaching myself from a book as I work so much better by visualising how something is created rather than reading and trying to imagine. Instagram is also a fantastic platform for jewellers and most are really keen to help and share techniques.
What are your top tips for stone setting?
The most important thing would be to take your time and do not rush it. Research the strength of the stones you are using on the Mohs scale to ensure that you are extra careful with ones that are very delicate such as opals. Stones can easily break if forced in which can become very frustrating.
Sarah making in her home workshop.
What is your favourite gemstone shape to work with and why?
My favourite gemstone shape is marquise, I love the shape and i just find it so satisfying when the stone is set.
One tool you couldn’t be without?
Although it may not be the most obvious tool, my jewellery bench is my pride and joy. My husband made my bench for me when I was starting to build my workshop and it means the world to me. I always said if there was a fire, that would be what I would attempt to save (probably not very successfully!).
What type of setting is your favourite to make and why?
I have to say good old bezel settings are my favourite. That is the stone setting I started off learning and it is one I find the easiest. I find tube settings very challenging but also really rewarding when you get it right. I am on a mission to learn more stone settings such as collet and claw in the future.
What has been your favourite gemstone you have worked with and why?
Although I am obsessed with many gemstones, my favourite that I worked with was a high quality, fair trade diamond. Although it was scary working with such an expensive stone, they are so hardy and strong I found it easy to work with. It also looked absolutely beautiful when set!
"Being a Vet Nurse I found making memorial pieces was a perfect way to connect my two passions, silversmithing and caring for animals. Being able to create such a special piece for someone that means so much to them is what I love the most..."
We love your boho style, how do you find inspiration for new designs?
Thanks so much! Pinterest is a fantastic platform for inspiration whilst also making sure I keep my designs unique. My inspiration and style stems from my time living in Australia, the boho hippy vibe was thriving at the time. It helped to mould my style and allow me to feel comfortable with my uniqueness. As well as this, I am always inspired by the beauty of nature, the sea and astronomy.
How was your experience with taking a metalsmith class and would you recommend it to others?
I really enjoyed the beginners course that I took when I first started. I found it quite overwhelming because I wanted to know absolutely everything that there was to know about silversmithing which is just not possible (I’m very impatient like that!). I loved working with others and learning the new techniques so I would definitely recommend it.
Triangular rose quartz and flower ring.
We love your designs featuring real flowers! Tell us more about your designs using resin.
Thank you! Initially, I realised that resin was the perfect solution for my memorial pieces containing ashes and fur. Being a Vet Nurse I found making memorial pieces was a perfect way to connect my two passions, silversmithing and caring for animals. Being able to create such a special piece for someone that means so much to them is what I love the most.
Then comes my obsession with flowers. I watched a YouTube video on setting flowers in resin and again, I was hooked. I picked a load of beautiful wild flowers from my dad's garden and set them in moulds and they came out beautifully! Again, I find these so special knowing that I have made the whole piece from scratch including hand picking the flowers myself.
Tell us about your workspace!
My workspace is currently in my spare room. I have two benches, one for soldering/pickling and the other is for sawing, piercing, filing etc.
As much as I love my workspace and I have made it my own, I am currently in the middle of having a workshop built in my garden. Its going to be a beautiful space and frees up my spare room, I cant wait for it to be finished!
Gemstone rings, earrings, pendants or bracelets?
I have to say rings, I love making and wearing rings. Making statement earrings would be next on my list.
"Engagement rings are pretty stressful as the pressure is really on but its also a very special moment realising that you have been chosen to create the most special piece of jewellery that someone is every going to receive!"
Ooooh this is a tricky one as there are quite a few that stand out! The first engagement ring has got to be my favourite as I even surprised myself with how well it turned out. Myself and the groom designed it together and I used lapis lazuli and a beautiful, sustainably sourced diamond. Engagement rings are pretty stressful as the pressure is really on but its also a very special moment realising that you have been chosen to create the most special piece of jewellery that someone is every going to receive!
What’s your favourite thing about using unique and one of a kind stones?
Exactly that. That they are unique and one of a kind. It is one of the most important things to me which is that all my pieces are one of a kind and that no one else will have the same. Even pieces that are made to order will still be one of a kind because no two stones are the same and I will have made them all by hand which will give them their own uniqueness in itself.
Do you use ready-made settings in any of your designs?
I don’t use any ready made settings, I like to make everything from scratch. If there is a setting that I am not certain on how to make, I’ll research and practice until I am successful at making it.
Follow Moonsalt Jewellery
Top 3 Kernowcraft products and why!
The gemstones are great quality and varied as well as being able to have a special request if necessary.
The alligator tape has saved the tips of my fingers on many occasions!
Kernowcraft's selection of silversmithing books are also great. I was bought the ‘Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers by Melissa Hunt’ for Christmas which I really enjoyed reading.
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