The Making of the Mini Inflecto Necklace by Colleen Mauer Designs

10.20.15 | By
The Making of the Mini Inflecto Necklace by Colleen Mauer Designs

San Francisco-based Colleen Mauer Designs delivers casual, handmade jewelry that explores textures, colors, and shapes. There’s a sophisticated simplicity that runs throughout the collection making the pieces perfect for everyday life. They’re the type of jewelry you’ll wear so much that it just becomes a part of you daily outfit. While the finished products might appear scaled back, the process of handcrafting each piece is quite labor intensive. Take a look as Mauer walks us through the steps of making her new Black & Gold mini inflect necklace in this month’s Deconstruction.

First, here’s what she says about the process of making this necklace:

When designing pieces of jewelry, the process isn’t always done in a routine way. In fact, I find that my best ideas come to me at the most inopportune times (like when I am behind the wheel or in the shower, where my sketchbook isn’t readily available). Nonetheless, many sketches quickly bring me to my bench where I like to start experimenting with materials. For it’s on the bench where the real magic happens – where my inspiration truly comes to life. I play a lot with proportion, especially with the Black & Gold Collection… and work the piece until it truly feels ready-to-wear. I know I’ve reached that final moment because my heart starts to race and I feel giddy like a school child. Design feeds my creative fire.


The design process starts on paper, but I often move to the bench as soon as possible to begin creating prototypes for each piece.


I start by hand cutting pieces of gold and silver wire, keeping the lengths uniform, as I normally make a grouping of 5-10 pieces at a time.


One side of each piece of wire is filed with a rotating disk on the flex shaft.


The filed ends of each piece are then set up on the soldering brick with third arms. The third arm is a workbench station of bases and tweezers that allows me to keep my hands free when working with the piece. I then line up each end perfectly using my tweezers and tension from the base of the third arm and the soldering brick.


I flux the piece (the flux will help the solder to flow).


And then add my tiny solder chips.


Next, heat is applied with my handy butane torch.


I carefully heat the entire piece until the solder flows and the connection is made. The two pieces of wire are now one piece. I put the piece into an acid bath (aka pickle) that helps to clean the firescale, which is a layer of oxides that forms on the surface of metal when heated.


Once the piece comes out of the pickle, I cup burr the unfinished ends with my flex shaft, which essentially creates a domed, finished edge.


The pieces are now carefully bent to the designed shape.


They are now ready for hammering.



I then drill tiny holes into each end of the piece which will house the wire that will attach the piece to the chain in the finishing stages.


I then tumble the piece with a ceramic medium to prep the surface for oxidation.


I put the pieces into a lukewarm bath of liver of sulphur, which we keep in a crock pot.


The liver of sulphur will oxidize, or make the silver part of the piece turn a black color.


Once the right level of “black” is achieved in the liver of sulphur, the pieces are carefully cleaned and ready for polishing.


I am now ready to attach the chain with intricate wire wrapped details.





The pieces are now ready to wear.


Photos by Sarah Deragon.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.