Of all the techniques by the ancients goldsmiths, granulation has proved the most difficult to reproduce among goldsmithing jewelry tehniques.
WHAT IS GRANULATION?
In jewelry, granulation is a goldsmith's technique in which tiny grains or small balls of precious metals called granules are used to decorate a particular piece of jewelry. It's a very effective way to add texture to design and probably the most mysterious and fascinating ancient decorative jewelry technique.
While some of the most spectacular examples of granulation are thousands of years old, it remains a mystery as to how the ancient goldsmiths achieved their success.
HISTORY OF GRANULATION
The oldest example of granulation dates back to 2500 BC and was discovered between 1922 and 1934. The discovery was made in the royal tomb of Queen Pu-Abi in Ur, a city in Sumer in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and it is believed that the technique of the Sumerian goldsmiths spread from Ur to western Asia and much further, especially after the destruction of the city.
Technique disappeared around 1200 BC., but it got a new life during the Greek colonizations. Although the Sumerians may have been the first to use granulation, it was the Etruscans who really developed the possibilities of the technique.
The path of granulation from Mesopotamia to the West was called THE LIGHT COMING FROM THE EAST.
This technique is notoriously difficult and mysterious in the jewelry world. So much that Ancient Greeks had young children place granules due to the extreme patience and near perfect eyesight needed to place each granule onto the base of the metal being fused.
There are three basic techniques that may be used to attach granules to a metal surface and with each technique, the process begins with the making of the granules themselves. The granules are usually made from the same material as the base to which they will be affixed. Granulation can be used for all types of jewelry like rings, wedding rings, pendants, necklaces and so on...
HOW I DO IT
In my studio, I modernized this technique in my own way. Commonly, I use different materials of the base and the granules because I love to combine various colours of metals. This is a perfect technique to decorate jewelry, moreover, breadth of possibilities that this technique offers always adds cuteness and grace to the product.
I do not use the typical correct granulation. For each granule, I prepare the material separately, shape it into a single granule with a fire, then put it together. Therefore, one granule is not the same as another and each one is unique.
My designs are full of contrasts both in conceptual design and in the choice of techniques. This is precisely why I combine this ancient technique with modern jewelry designs. Whether you are looking for jewelry for special occasions or for everyday use, granulation will add uniqueness and cuteness to your jewelry.
Elegant granulation echoes through the ages, wonderful and mysterious as always. As a granulation master once said: "If granulation were such a simple matter that anyone could easily get the granules onto the surface, the technique would be nothing more than a meaningless game!"