Back in 1992 I was given a very small piece of Platinum. It was very daunting, as I remember it I was holding this dime size heavy object that looked like white gold or silver.

From flat to 3-D
From flat to 3-D

I hadn’t even read up on this type of precious metal yet, and there was no google or Siri back then- so all that I knew was that it was very expensive, close to today’s price, and that it was more challenging to work with than white gold: which was harder to engrave than yellow gold. I was very intimated but at the same time I was extremely excited about this new challenge.

I stuck the little chunk of platinum onto my carving block, onto a Jewelers cement engravers platform. Then I visualized a small eagle head design. There wasn’t much space for anything elaborate, but that was just to make the challenge a little less daunting. After all it was just a little tiny fella anyways, how hard could it be right?

One thing I should say about this challenge is that I started carving sterling silver after leaving Ksan Indian Art a School in Hazelton in the spring of 1989, and I had been engraving totally by hand power, the old school way.

Hand engraving , the old way
Hand engraving , the old way

It was an overwhelming shock when I dug my engraver tip into the platinum, to say the least, and unlike the gold and silver experience of intensely pushing the engraver forward a little at a time, there was no movement. As I dug in harder, the tip of my very sharp tool just seemed to be stuck and would not glide at all.

It sure would’ve been easier to have given up and sent the platinum back to whence it came, but that would’ve been like giving up, my parents taught me that giving up was not an option, so I didn’t, I chose to think a little deeper into my freshman experience at the Ksan School and reflect on my tool making time.

Long story condensed, I looked at this precious metal that was heavier than a gold piece the exact same size, which meant it had to be a much denser, in its molecular structure, (google it). Also making it three to four time heavier. Digging into the metals surface had to be  approached in a way, where the cutting  tool would enter less intensively.

After a number of resharpenings of the angle of the engraver tip, I ended up trying to slice smaller pieces of metal rather than digging into the brick wall. This was the answer to the problem. Lighter surface slicing, still intense and very time consuming, hence the high cost of my Platinum Wedding and Love Rings.

Even though it was still a lot of extra work , I was able to slowly slice out an eagle design. Unfortunately there was another brick wall ahead...polishing platinum; the toughest, baddest, meanest, most beautiful and perfect metal on earth, and very likely in our universe.Embosd Chilkat

To be continued- thanks for reading