Why Handmade?

Why is handmade jewellery superior to cast jewellery?

The terms 'handmade' and 'handcrafted' should mean that the piece of jewellery has been entirely made by hand from start to finish; using hand tools and raw materials. However, these terms are commonly used even if the piece has been cast or assembled from prefabricated components.


Jewellery that is produced using CAD/CAM, wax models and/or casting is NOT handmade; and should be described as hand-finished which is more accurate. Telling the difference between the way a piece of jewellery has been made is difficult to see, unless you have a trained eye in jewellery trade; but whether a fine piece of jewellery is able to wear well and last for generations depends entirely on the method of construction, the quality of materials used and the skill and diligence of the jeweller.

The picture above is an example of a standard cast ring construction. Here, you can see the metal is crumbling. This ring is only 6-12 months old.

 The process of handmade jewellery has been practised for centuries. However, most of the jewellery found in chain store jewellery retailers is made by the casting & moulding process. This is where a piece of jewellery is drawn up on a computer and made using CAD techniques, this means your ring is manufactured many times over and is very common.


Handmaking jewellery, like any trade skill, takes many years of training to refine. It takes a very skilled jeweller to create unique pieces of jewellery. The difference between handmade jewellery and cast jewellery is in the molecules of the metal. When the metal has been worked by hand (hammered, tempered and rolled) the metal becomes stronger. The molecules become flattened and stacked like a brick wall, which gives the molecules a greater surface area and therefore, the metal is denser and has more tension. This, in turn, means that the metal has a greater resistance to bending, is stronger and most importantly more durable.

When metal goes through the casting process (not worked by hand) the molecules are separated and are further apart, creating a less stable structure which is prone to fracture due to air bubbles between the molecules and therefore the piece of jewellery is likely to fall apart and will wear down quicker.  For example, you can compare the two metal structures to that of chipboard and natural hardwood, as seen in the images below. Cheap CAD/CAM-produced cast jewellery simply cannot be compared to something that has been made by hand from scratch. 

As you can clearly see, chipboard is flaky and crumbly (cast jewellery) and the natural timber (handmade jewellery) has a tight grain and intertwining fibres.