We had the good fortune of connecting with Geran Simpson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Geran, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
All the hidden costs to make sculpted jewelry. Besides the metal and gemstones, there are a ton of other costs involved. When I have an idea for a new piece, I sculpt it at a high resolution in CAD software. That software requires a powerful computer to run, you can’t just do it on a laptop. Then it has to be “grown” in a melt-able resin which can cost up to $300 per liter, in a printer that costs hundreds of dollars! And you’re just getting started. Sometimes it takes several prototypes to get things just right. The final model then has to be put into a mold with more hundreds of dollars in plaster material, a vacuum machine and a high temperature oven. If all of THAT goes well then you can use a second electric kiln to melt the metal and pour it in the mold. Every single machine used in this process is consumable, you only get so many uses out of them. The jewelry is far from being finished, you then have to take these rough castings and clean them up using yet again more consumable grinding and polishing equipment before setting stones with an entire set of stone setting tools. This takes days and hours upon hours of labor. Did I mention taking photos and creating marketing content? There are so many reasons this type of jewelry can appear expensive. A lot of people are constantly bombarded with ads for mass-produced imported jewelry and think that something unique should cost the same.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love the feel and look of dark fantasy. One of the main aspects of it is the “wow” factor. Sometimes the aesthetic totally captures people’s attention. They have become so accustom to modern design elements that something dark and mysterious is something they rarely, if ever see. The reactions I get from people who do a double take walking past my art, then turn around to take a closer look is all I need to keep going!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I don’t get out much since I am usually working on building my brand and making jewelry. Plus those things cost money, which I usually invest into my business. This isn’t a good question for me.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shoutout all the helpful folks on the Orchid Ganoksin forums for sharing what often is considered the secrets of jewelrymaking. Without their guidance small jewelers like me wouldn’t be able to achieve their vision.