In a digitized, mechanized, “robot-icized” world, Jake Wosinski displays a refreshingly analog approach to design. He uses neither computers, nor CAD, nor 3D printers. Instead, he gives his exquisite handiwork that increasingly rare human touch.
The owner of Jacob Raymond Custom Jewelry sums up his method as, “using Old World techniques to make heirlooms for today.”
Step inside his shop/maker’s space at 121 W. McGee St., and you’ll see what he means. Behind the glittering display cases lies an array of instruments for carving, melting, molding and polishing precious metals and gems into unique adornments.
“My goal is to make jewelry that doesn’t look mass-produced,” he says. “Everything here is one-of-a-kind.”
He shows a few examples: a sterling man’s ring, carved into the shape of a car’s front end. A silver pendant, embellished with a piece of extinct mammoth tusk. Substantial wedding bands, sparkling with elaborate, hand-tooled patterns.
Custom engraving is one of Jake’s specialties. When we visited, he was fulfilling an order for a local businessman who wanted his company logo displayed on a ring. Here are a few of the intriguing contraptions this award-winning jeweler employs to ply his craft:
1. Antique dividers, once owned by Jake’s grandfather Raymond, who inspired him to take up jewelry design. (The shop name is an alloy of both Wosinskis’ first names.)
2. Spinning engraver ball, where Jake is working on an 18-karat gold engraved wedding band.
3. Leverage gauge, measuring a Mexican fire opal
5. Hand engraver
6. Polishing/sanding tools
7. Metal forming kit
8. Soldering station with ring mounted with diamonds and yellow sapphire