This is me in my workshop where I'm at my most comfortable, working away on new pieces. More often than not, my designs are control by the button and how it wants to be showcased. My designs come about very organically and what I had in mind for a particular button is not necessarily the end result.
All the pieces of wearable history are designed and hand crafted by my own hands. I use only traditional Goldsmith techniques to ensure you are owning a quality, well made authentic treasure.
As you can see, each one of my bracelets have hand crafted links that are all individually soldered closed. This add strength to the bracelet as well as quality.
Sometimes when the weather is just too good to be inside my studio, I will set up my computer outside in the sunshine to catch up on social media, website updates, newsletter content and new creation photos.
Here are two more French antique button charms in the making.
A button from the Napoleon Guards uniform, being transformed into a big and bold statement pendant.
Genuine Vintage Dior Buttons being transformed in a pair of one of a kind earrings.
Transforming the 1790's out building, that once served as the bread making oven for the commune, into my perfect jewellery studio, really is a labour of love.
My jewellery workshop has come a long way. I now have a concrete floor and all the internal walls have been water blastered and have been pointed for a fully insulated, cozy, clean work space
I just can't wait to move my studio into here.
Some Vintage 1940's Coco Chanel buttons during the creation process. These button would have originally been from a woollen coat like this one.
Just me trying to show off my layered button necklaces, whilst trying to master the selfie.
Setting buttons requires the same skills and traditional Goldsmith techniques as setting gemstones. When you make the decision to purchase a piece of wearable history from Porsha Bella Jewellery, you can rest assured it has been designed and hand crafted by me, using skills I acquired whilst learning my Goldsmith trade.
I believe part of the joy of purchasing something special and unique online also involves the packaging. France is well known for it's beautiful lavender and high quality linen. So I decided to combined these two elements when sending you your treasures. I hand picked and dried French lavender from the South of France and then used French antique linen to make little scent pouches that not only keep your treasure safer during it's journey, but you can also re-use in your dresser drawers.
*Unfortunately customs restrictions in Australian and New Zealand, do not allow me to send these lavender pouches... sorry. But don't despair, your piece of wearable history is still protected and beautifully packaged.
There's never a more appropriate use of the saying "you get what you pay for" than when it comes to jewellery. All bracelets and necklaces hand crafted by me have every link, except one, soldered closed. Why except one I hear you say.
You've heard the term "the weakest link", well for safety reasons there should always be a weak link, or in this case, a link that remains unsoldered closed. In most cases you would have to inspect each link carefully to find the one that is not soldered closed. If you were to snag your bracelet or necklace on something strong, instead of hurting yourself, the idea is that the unsoldered link will separate before you cause damage to yourself. I'm sure you can imagine the time it takes to individually solder every link, hence the price for this kind of quality.
This French button was used on the frontline nurses uniforms during World War 1. I cannot begin to imagine the life this button has led. Now it has been transformed into a one of a kind pendant, especially for a beautiful Australian client, who has devoted her career to nursing. This is the most rewarding part within the creation process. Setting the button in it's solid Sterling Silver bezel, where it will live out the rest of it's life.
Soldering can sometimes be a tricky business. Especially when you have so many different components that need to come together in order to complete the design. This is where the soldering aid called a "third hand" really comes into it's own. In this case I ended up needing 2 third hands to get this job done!
Three custom designed pieces all lined up and ready to be polished and set.
When setting your antique or vintage buttons, the jewellery piece needs to be held securely in place for the hammer to turn the silver edge over the button. This lovely blue theme plastic does exactly that. Plus a strong espresso doesn't go astray during the setting process either.
This has got to be one of my favourite bench tools. It's a clamp that holds ring shanks in the right place under the button setting, so that I can solder them securely without any threat of movement.
Well this is a first for me! I've never been asked to engrave a piece of jewellery, but when asked by my lovely client to engrave the buttons manufactured year, this year and my initials, well.... challenge accepted! Of course I also make sure you can still see the original makers marque on the underside of the setting. This definitely maintains the button's value and authenticity.
On the 12th of February 2022, the Mayor of the village officially opened the Porsha Bella Jewellery workshop.
It took a little over a year to complete renovate the old bread oven building, into my purpose built jewellery workshop. The original building was completed in 1795 and served this community as the main bread oven. I have preserved the actual oven, as to me, it's a work of art.
This is the inside of the original bread oven & these are all the artefacts that I dug up whilst preparing the earthen floor for it's new concrete surface.
Arn't the shoes a little disturbing? Only 1 of each was ever found.
You can just see the display inside the bread oven, above my wood stove. Living in the French Alps, I stove is essential during autumn and winter.
I have to say, I'm so happy to be working in my very first dedicated workshop. My creativity is certainly flowing.