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Ola Shekhtman Jeweller

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Ola Shekhtman, Israel

Usually I make buildings which I was impressed by. But I make also cities, where I have never been before. I learn through travel guides, google maps, choosing famous landmarks. It didn’t work for my Amsterdam ring. I visited Amsterdam, but I didn’t make particular attractions, I recreated typical facades, that I remembered from my trip.

Zoneone Arts is delighted to bring Ola Shekhtman, to you…

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Explain your training in St Petersburg in Russia?

I was born in Siberia, but when I was 23 I moved to St Petersburg, worked as customs specialist in large Finnish factory. Till the moment when my husband said – you have to work in sphere you really like. He found St Petersburg Jewellery School, where I was studying goldsmith. I made everything by my hands – melting metal, rolling, sawing and soldering. I had legendary teacher – Lev Matveevich Epstein. Skills and knowledges I have- I owe him.

cityscape-ring-ola-shekhtman-5

 How often do you move to a new city and why is it so relevant to your current work?

After 6 years in St Petersburg I moved to Israel for few months. Then I relocated to US and lived in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and traveled a lot.  This May I came back to Israel and not sure, what’s next. I like to explore new places, new architecture. When I see remarkable building, my imagination automatically shows me it in miniature on my finger.

North Carolina

 North Carolina

In the making of a ring (London) how many iconic landmarks are there?

London ring it is 5 landmarks in all sizes – London eye, Gherkin egg building, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and of course Big Ben. In Chicago ring there are more than 9 famous buildings. Usually I add new buildings to enlarge sizes.

 london

London

By living in a city how do you choose the landmarks you will use?

          Popular well know

          Lesser known

amsterdam

Amsterdam

Usually I make buildings which I was impressed by. But I make also cities, where I never been before. Then I learn travel guides, google maps, choosing famous landmarks. It doesn’t work for Amsterdam ring. I visited Amsterdam, but I didn’t make particular attractions, I recreated only typical facades, that I remembered from my trip.

amsterdam x2

 Amsterdam

 Expand on the tiniest details – bike in Amsterdam, horse and carriage in Charleston.

I am trying to not only recognizable buildings of each city, I also like to catch spirit, mood, some specialty, of the city. In Amsterdam it is definitely a bike, in Charleston it is carriage, saxophone in New Orleans..

You originally worked completely by hand discuss the techniques you need to know and use?

When I learned goldsmith, I had a bench with tones of tools. It was desirable to have all these heavy machines for polishing, rolling, casting, lots of different hummers. I needed pretty large space for all of these instruments. I trained making old fashion jewelry style, all I made looked like my grandma’s treasuries. Comparing to what I do now, it was really hard, especially to make something that will like my teacher, was almost impossible. He is a huge perfectionist. And it is a big part of the recipe for success for jeweller.

general

 Now you have embraced the most modern technology, 3D printing, explain this technique in relations to your jewellery?

I make only 3D models on my computer, then I upload file on the web site of my manufacturer (www.shapeways.com – one of the largest 3D printing service in the world). They use a complex five-step process. First, the model is printed in wax using a specialized high-resolution 3D printer. It is then put in a container where liquid plaster is poured in around it. When the plaster sets, the wax is melted out in a furnace, and the remaining plaster becomes the mold. Molten metal is poured into this mold and set to harden. The plaster is broken away, revealing your new product. The product is then carefully cleaned and hand-polished. I love this service for quality control on each stage. Then they pack my ring, ship and send me email notification with tracking number. Easy right?

Paris

 Paris

Discuss the two techniques used in one piece.

          High polish

          Piecing

Silver cityscape rings are lightly hand polished to achieve a smooth finish of the raised surfaces. Inner surfaces still have texture.

Cityscapes printed in 14k or 18k gold go through extensive hand-polishing to give them a smooth shiny finish. Since cityscape rings are highly detailed, it is very important to not over polish, it may be a cause of loosing details and change first design idea.

stockholm

Stockholm

 How many cities do you have jewellery for?

london pendent

London Pendant

For today I have 21 cities, three of them I turned into pendant. I plan to double this amount and want to “build” 40-50 cities.

london 3

Are they always worked in gold or do you use other precious metals?

The most popular metal I use is sterling silver. Rare I have orders on gold and I also had 2 orders on platinum rings.

Do you take commissions?

Of course, for now it is my hobby which pays my bills. But I don’t take custom orders, that’s why my prices are stable. 

What city will be next? – Melbourne

I wish Melbourne will appear in my collection one day. But next are Philadelphia and Sydney.

How do you deal with size?

          Finger size

          Height in relations with the size of the fingers

Pretty often I get messages according size choice. I don’t take responsibility to advice something particular, I usually recommend to step by the closest jewelry store and measure finger with the wide ring sizer. Not everybody knows that wide band sits much tighter than regular narrow ring. I understand that and accept exchanges silver rings for better fit. With golden rings I am stricter. I ask to double check the size, because I am not able to change golden rings. Or offer to try plastic version of the ring and after that order ring in gold.

cityscape-ring-ola-shekhtman-2

 

Who are your customers?

My customers are romantic persons. Most of them are women of course. I read stories that they were born, studied or felt in love, got married in that city. Pretty often I send presents for moms, sisters and girlfriends. Once I prepared 5 ring as a gifts for bride maids. All 5 rings were cities where each girl was born. But also I have quite many men, who are very hearty. They are looking for their spouse or girlfriend something special, heart touching, something that can arose delight memories. Great gift idea for anniversary. Once I had an order on wedding cityscape rings. That’s amazing to release that you are involved in such beautiful stories full of happiness.

Tell about the clever play on your name and your trademark?

Oh it’s easy) My last name is Shekhtman. But I am not man, I am woman, that’s why all my creations are made by Shekhtwoman.

 

Contact details

Ola Shekhtman

www.shekhtwoman.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/olashekhtman/

Ola Shekhtman,  Israel

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, October, 2016

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