Traditional Jewellery Production in Bali

Our hotel in Bali was located in a village known for producing jewellery using traditional methods. My son Russell and I signed up for a crash course in traditional jewellery production. Russell ended up producing a silver pendant for his mother with some help from me and the instructor. This experience was surreal for me because I work for 3D Systems, a company that makes and sells 3D printers that can print wax patterns for jewellery produced by the investment casting method. Thanks to our technology now you can design jewellery in 3D design software, 3D print the wax pattern which is used to create a mould into which molten metal is poured to get a solid metal part, which is then polished to a shine. We have essentially put traditional jewellery manufacturers out of business and here I was learning how to produce jewellery from one such traditional manufacturer.

This is how we did it.

Sketch the pendant on a plate of silver
Bend a silver wire to match the sketched pendant
Use a foot-operated petrol stove to solder the wire to the plate
Cool the soldered silver by dipping in water
Stick tiny silver balls to the outside of the wire using glue made from wild seeds.
Stick silver balls in the center to create the initial. This was a little tricky since there was no wire to push the balls against.
Heat the silver plate to evaporate the glue and mildly solder the balls to the plate
Use a paintbrush to apply a 1:1 mixture of silver and copper powder where the silver balls touch the plate.
Heat the silver plate again to evaporate the water and solder the silver-copper mixture to the silver to create a stronger bond
Solder the silver balls to the plate permanently
Cut out the unwanted silver
File the edge to smoothen it out
Bend a small piece of silver wire into a loop
Solder the loop to the top of the pendant
Repeat the process for the chain loop
Dip the pendant in a lime and salt solution and heat it to remove the black marks
Scrub remnants off with a wire brush
Polish to a shine
The finished product
A jewellery box made from banana leaves
Ready to present
Selfie with instructor