Behind the Scenes

Charlotte Tabor | Jewellery Designer/Maker based in Yalding, Kent

Charlotte Tabor concentrating on carving a tree bark texture into a wax ring before it is sent for casting

Charlotte's been making jewellery for 10 years and she designs and makes jewellery she enjoys wearing.  She's not one for polishing her jewellery on a regular basis so she wanted to make pieces that if you don't polish them it doesn't matter and that is where recreating the texture and feel of tree bark is useful because as the silver oxidised it enhances the texture and adds to the character of her pieces over time.  Also with our busy lives if you scratch it it isn't the end of the world.  However if you do like the polished look it's very easy to clean.  

So how does Charlotte create her texture?


Working from a small shed at the bottom of her garden which is surrounded by 5 acres of orchards and garden Charlotte uses many tools which have been passed down fromUsing hand me down tools from my father in law including a 1960s pillar drill which he made. her father in law including an African hard wood workbench and a pillar drill he made back in the 1950's.  Many of her files are from him along with other tools she has no idea what they are and sadly he's no longer around to ask. 


The majority of Charlotte's pieces begin in the form of a specialist blue coloured wax used by jewellers.  There are many tools Charlotte uses but her main ones to create her signature style are wood working tools.  These are great to carve the tree bark texture and depending on the sharpness of her tools, the temperature of her wax and her mood the style of the bark effect comes to life.  A lighter is also one of her favourite tools as it softens the edges and changes the character of her wax pieces. 

Once Charlotte is happy with the wax they are sent to London to be cast by specialists using the lost wax casting process.  At the casters her pieces will be added to a conical tree, after which plaster of Paris is poured over them.  When

Hand carving in jewellers wax using woodworking tools to recreate the texture of treebark by Charlotte Tabor, Kara Jewellery

this has set the container is put into a hot kiln and the wax burns away leaving the space of the wax behind.  Very hot molten metal is then poured into holes left by the wax and a special machine is used to ensure the metal reaches all the crevices of the tree bark texture.  The casting are then sent back to Charlotte to sand, combine with other precious metals/gemstones and polished ready to be worn and enjoyed.

The photos below show the wax and the finished pieces of some of the commissions Charlotte's made.  It's amazing what can be done in wax and then cast in metal which you wouldn't be able to do in sheets of silver.

 A bronze torque commissioned to wear with her Beech Wood Narrow bangles.

In progress shot of a wax torque on a jewellers bust which is being carved before it is cast in bronze.  A commission for Kara Jewellery by Charlotte.
A very happy customer wearing her handmade woodland themed torque, handmade by Charlotte Tabor at Kara Jewellery
A very special commission.  Following the death of her husband this lovely customer had a bangle made with the same texture as the wedding ring I made for her husband which he adored as he'd lost his original one.
Finished caving in the blue jewellers wax the texture and feel of tree bark on this commissioned bangle.  It is now ready to be cast in bronze.Commissioned textured bangle in bronze which has been handmade by Kara Jewellery by Charlotte
This commission took me a year to do as I didn't know how to do it.  Perseverance finally paid off!    A log box as a centre piece for a dining table.
A box ready to be cast into sterling silver and oxidised.  The box has been carved in wax and hollowed out by Charlotte Tabor at Kara JewelleryA one, off, beautiful log box in sterling silver.  Textured on the inside and outside and oxidised to give it a more natural finish.  Handmade by Kara Jewellery by Charlotte



If you've any questions then I'd love to hear from you or if you would like to come and visit then please send me a message with your details and I'll get in touch to arrange an appointment