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How Our Tirana Edition Came Together

The story (and people) behind the Victorian Governess Cuff.

The journey of one of Graciela Fuentes’s clock-gear necklaces and key rings doesn’t start and stop with her: The Brooklyn-based jeweler relies on a dedicated network of artisans along the way. Here’s a peek inside the who, what, and where of our so-rad edition. jackie varriano

“My inspiration for this cuff is a pair of scissors from a Victorian doll house that I found in England. I started by working with a bunch of brass replicas of the original pair, bending them and soldering them together at different angles.”

“Once I’m satisfied with a composition, the metal is hammered into a cuff shape. The cuff and I then leave my Brooklyn studio and head to the Jewelry District in the center of Manhattan.”

“My first stop is the studio of Mr. Alex Pugachevsky, a hand-engraver who learned his trade from his brother at the age of 14 in his native Kiev. Alex used a microscope and his own handmade tools to engrave the word ‘Tirana’ on the inside of the cuff.”

“Next stop is Taba, a family-run, environmentally friendly company that makes a mold of the cuff and uses the ancient technique of lost wax to cast each piece using post-consumer recycled brass.”

“Waxes are delicately grouped together in trees from which a second mold is made. Molten, recycled brass is poured into this mold, which is then destroyed to get the pieces out after the metal hardens. The process was repeated seven times to make the cuffs for this edition.”

“Back in my studio, each cuff is lovingly inspected, cleaned, filed, and polished by me. Afterward, I head back to the Jewelry District to have each piece plated in gold by the expert father-and-son team at Europea Polishing. And voilà—the cuffs are ready!”

Score this baby now! While you can!