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4300 Magazine
TRANSFORMATIONS

The design process of Mignon Faget

Inspiration

The Idea

It begins with an idea, the progressive curve of a sea snail, the geometric system of rows of corn kernels, the composition of a classical column.  Mignon Faget’s collections reflect her personal interests and how they are scaled to the human body.

Inspiration can be stumbled upon.  It can be found from a quick glance towards an elaborate library ceiling, a stroll through a quiet French Quarter street or a day spent on the shores of the Gulf Coast.  Mignon Faget is an observer, a collector, a finder of inspiration.  Inspiration falls in her lap when she least expects it and leads to the creation of distinctly original jewelry.  Mignon Faget designs by collection.  A theme is chosen and explored by our artist revealing pins, pendants, rings, earrings, necklaces and more.

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Concept

The Sketch

An idea is sketched out by Mignon and her Research & Development team.  Sometimes it is put on paper.  Sometimes it is fabricated with actual objects: leaves, ribbons, seashells, branches… the subject dictates the process.

Transformation + Workshop

The Model

A wax model is carved in intricate detail by the model maker.  Every detail of the design is captured and perfected in this process.  Depending on the design of the piece, a model can take up to 30 hours to carve for a single item of jewelry.

The wax model is transformed to a metal model through a process known as “lost wax casting.”

THE CASTING

From the original metal model many pieces of jewelry can be made.  A rubber mold is made by covering the metal model with a solid mass of layered, unvulcanized rubber and subjecting it to heat and pressure to vulcanize or “cure” the rubber. Using a surgeon’s knife, the rubber mass is dissected and the original model is removed. Molten wax is injected into the rubber mold; the resulting wax reproduction is used as the master to produce mass numbers of the article. The wax model is placed in a flask and surrounded with investment (a plaster-like compound that withstands high heat). After the investment has set, the assembly (flask) is placed in an oven to create the mold for the jewelry. Putting the flask in the oven allows the wax to melt and flow out of the flask creating a hollow space. The wax is “lost” – hence “lost-wax casting”. Read more about the casting process after the jump!

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Final Product

Hand-finishing, patina, buffing, beading…

Every design is different and every design is hand-finished in accordance with the artist’s specifications.

Extra special care is taken so that details are not lost by over filing or buffing. The details of a design are brought out with patina, oxidation of the metal to show the detail of the design.  This use of patina is a mark of Mignon Faget.

Pieces are buffed to perfection, beads are hand strung for necklaces and bracelets.  And each and every piece is carefully examined to assure that it meets Mignon Faget, Ltd.’s high quality standards, deserving of the Mignon Faget mark or signature.