Finishing and polishing square edges

I am making a jewelry line with precise geometric and architectural
shapes but I cannot find anyone who will polish these pieces without
rounding over the edges. For example, imagine a shape that looks
like a ladder and polishing between the rungs to make those spaces

I have asked jewelry manufacturers in New York for references but I
have been told this requires careful hand work and is labor
intensive. Since I originally intended to make these pieces out of
silver I suppose no one would consider working on these, now I will
make them out of gold I still don’t know where to find someone who
will finish and polish these shapes with a high level of detail.

  1. Can anyone give me a reference for someone/company who does this
    kind of work?

  2. Is this an unrealistic expectation? Is jewelry produced
    commercially rounded and polished bright because it is costly to do

  3. Are there any techniques to achieve a square edge that will
    facilitate production? For example, some of my designs I would
    polish in several parts then solder them together.

I would appreciate any advice. The square edges are what make the
designs special if I can’t do this I would have to abandon these
designs altogether.

Lisa Chin

There is no economical way to polish the rungs of a ladder (per your
example) all around and have crisp edges. There is a simple solution,
though, which, by the way illustrates the difference between silver
and gold work. That is to prepolish the parts, and then assemble them.
You can’t do that as easily in silver because of the white layer you
get in soldering, but it is a common practice in gold - not even
daily, but hourly - many things are prepolished. Then you have to come
up with a design that lets you assemble it with the rungs in a square
profile i.e. - so they don’t spin. Then you aren’t polishing a
ladder, you’re polishing flat wire - a tedious but simple process.

Pre-polish all parts, make sure the fit of the rungs is tight. Tack
weld or laser weld together, lap the edges. fini

Can be done in silver too!

It is all in the prep work. Prepolish as much as you can before
assembly. Time consuming yes, but a much nicer finished piece. check
out my work at Please no copying, I mean it!


The example you give of polishing inside the rungs of a “ladder” is
relatively easy for someone practised in burnishing with a polished
flat graver (#40, 42, etc). Once you’ve got the hang of this you can
polish a surface in a single stroke. In your case two strokes as you
would have to start the graver in each corner, apply downward force
carefully so it is distributed across entire surface to be polished,
and then pull the tool towards the center of the surface - ie.
towards the opposite corner.

Exterior flat surfaces can be sanded on a flat surface and then
lapped on a flat wheel.

You may have to go to a trade shop rather than a contract finishing
company to get these processes done to the degree of precision you
want as they are time consuming and cannot be achieved past a certain
point with mass finishing techniques.

Les Brown
L.F.Brown Goldwork
17 2nd St. East, Ste. 101
Kalispell, MT 59901
Studio: 406-257-1129
Toll Free: 877-203-1482
Fax: 406-752-0694

Dear Lisa,

What your asking is a tough request.

I used to do some jewelry based off Bauhaus design concepts Very
angular, and to find a polisher who would not round my edges or not
remove a beveled edge was really hard.

For example, imagine a shape that looks like a ladder and polishing
between the rungs to make those spaces square.

Polishing inside a ladder rung? That maybe too much to ask…but
Pre-polish with a hard lap to get straight crisp corners and then
assemble. You may have to hire and train your own polisher to get
consistent results. It’s not an unrealistic expectation, it’s just
not what the polishers you are using have been trained to do.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext. 228