Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler
Bench made jewelry is created by a craftsman using traditional tools and a hand torch. Raw metal stock such as plate or wire is cut, bent, forged, ground and filed.
Leon Megé jewelry - Bench made to the highest precision.
Jewelry could be an art or a commodity - depending on a way it's designed or made. Every piece we make is conceived with your unique taste in mind. To achieve this goal we rely on an old fashioned and time tested traditional way of making every piece by hand.
Unfortunately, the terms ‘handmade’ have been hijacked in recent years. It is no longer possible to rely on the expression ‘handmade’ as an actual guarantee of the skilled craftsmanship of yesteryear.
Bench Made is a jewelry industry term to describe high end, couture, bespoke jewelry made without the use of molds, casting, stamping, CAD modeling and, in general, any gadget that takes artistry out of the jewelry making process. Here is what you should expect from jewelry qualified as ‘bench made’:
- Every piece begins as a lump of raw metal hand forged into wire or plate.
- No parts are produced by casting, stamping or using molds, forms or templates.
- No computer modelling or 3D printing is involved.
- Every piece consists of many (sometimes hundreds) of tiny parts, each painstakingly made by our skilled craftsmen using nothing more than a handful of bench tools.
- The stone setting is done under a microscope.
- 95% cobalt-free platinum and 18 karat gold (excluding, with rare exceptions, white gold) are metals of choice. Occasional use of silver, palladium or non precious metals is acceptable.
- The piece is a product of a successful collaboration and interaction between the jeweler and the client. Salespeople or dealers should not be involved in the creative process.
- A client should have a choice of customization any part of a piece.
Think twice when you hear these terms:
This term surfaced some time ago when somebody came up with the idea of using "hand-forged" as a synonym to the term "bench made." But what exactly is forging? From Wikipedia, "Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces."Forging, in other words, is hammering. There is a well established name for it - "Raising" metal is a staple of silversmithing.
Another great example of the technique are the famous anticlastic sculptures of Michael Good. Leon Mege happens to own one - it was presented to him as a winner in the New Talent Competition by the American Jewelry Design Council. Forging metal is only one of the many attributes of a truly BENCH MADE piece. A master chef does not prepare a "hand fried"dish, but a fry cook might.
3D printing technology is increasingly be used in numerous industries, anywhere from creating clothes, architectural models to chocolate treats. And yes, jewelry. It's possible now to paste the stone dimensions into a selected design using CAD software, cast and set with stones in a span of a couple of days. Customized? Yes. But not custom made. A burger at MacDonalds without pickles is not a custom made sandwich.
This term has to go, it is not politically correct. What about handicapped people? Does this mean that their work is inferior?
The word has lost all it's former meanings: "Made without use of machines", "made one at a time", etc. Everything is handmade - because surely a pair of hands was involved. Remember Chaplin's "Modern Times"? Charlie's hand is stuck in a giant geared wheel...Handmade!
The term "Bespoke" originated from the world of tailoring. The piece of fabric has been “spoken for” or in other words "sold". After a while the term transformed it's meaning to "old fashioned" way of cutting suits as opposed to modern, "assembly line" - style production. Next time someone (except us) uses the word "bespoke" to describe jewelry, gently ask what they mean: "old" or "sold".