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The Tools that Won Sara Dudzinsky’s Heart

This jeweler’s favorite part of the design process is getting to play with fire.

At first, constructing jewelry was plain boring for Sara Dudzinsky, who makes stunning, petite pieces out of her Portland, Oregon, studio. “When I was in school, I remember taking a production class and hating it—and thinking I could never make the same thing a million times in a row,” she explains. “But that’s what I’m doing, and I love it.” Now, she finds the intensity—and the hard-core tools—tremendously alluring. These are four devices that she can’t wait to play with day in and day out.

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Pliers: “I use them for everything, even just folding bezels around a stone. I’m very adept with pliers. I use two at once a lot—one in each hand.”

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Jeweler’s Saw: “That’s used for cutting little pieces out. When I make a ring with a crystal, I form the bezel around the crystal, solder it down onto a flat sheet, and then cut out the band.”

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A stack of some of Sara’s rings, one with a dangling crystal.

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Hammers: “A lot of my necklaces have a little geometric-shape detail, and I’ve started to do some free-form bangles. For those, I take wire, bend it into a shape with pliers, solder the ends, and hammer them flat. I have some shapes that I’m going off of, but I like each one to be unique.”

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Torch and Striker: “I get the tank for my torch from a welder’s supply store, so it looks kind of like a cast-iron helium tank. It has a little regulator on it and a torch chip. So I turn it on, strike the striker, and out comes the flame. That’s probably my favorite part of doing the metal work—the fire. It’s a significant part of the process because almost everything that I do has at least one soldered joint.”

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