David Parums is a Tasmanian jeweller working with Damascus Steel to obtain the most beautiful intricate patterning. Building a reputation in the wedding ring industry David has his sights set on expanding his repertoire.
David spoke with Iced Vovo about his shift from the knife making industry he started in to working with steel, the construction of these beautiful rings and of his plans for the future:
Q. What drew you to knife making to start with and then how did you make the transition to jewellery design?
A: The knife making came about from being a bit of a bloke I guess! Growing up as a boy, I was a scout and my family often went camping and fishing. As a result, I spent lots of time outside sharpening sticks and trying to throw knives at trees – this developed my interest in all things sharp! Then in my twenties I had a desire to start making things, and that’s where it all began!
Looking back, the transition into making wearable objects seemed quite natural. I was surrounded by the amazing materials I’d collected for use with my knife making, such as preserved mammoth ivory, shell, buffalo horn and of course Damascus steel.
Q: Do you still make knives today or are you know solely focussed on jewellery?
A: My focus is on jewellery at the moment, but I plan to return to knife making in the future as I really enjoy the process.
Q: In what ways, if any, has the background in knife making assisted your work with the Damascus steel you use for your rings?
A: It has allowed me to develop skill and techniques outside of the typical jewellers arsenal. Using steel as a material in jewellery making requires knowledge of tooling not commonly used in the jewellery industry, such as a milling machine, lathe etc.
Q: What do you love about working with the Damascus steel?
A: The pattern in my Damascus steel is revealed in the very final stages of construction. This is what I love most, as once you’ve put in all that time and effort and given the ring a polish, it is then submerged in a heated acid solution which attacks one steel and not the other, revealing the hidden pattern within the ring. Even after creating many rings, I still get excited at this stage!
Q: What other materials do you tend to favour?
A: I love working with platinum. Although its cost can be a bit prohibitive to regular use, it has some amazing properties when compared to other precious metals. In the future, I’m hoping to explore more non-traditional metals such as titanium, niobium, zirconium etc.
Q: The patterning you get in your rings is exquisite and so detailed can you tell us a little about the techniques you use – without giving away too many secrets that is?
A: Damascus steel is created by heating and pressure bonding two different types of steel together in alternating layers. The resulting solid piece of steel or “billet” is then manipulated using a variety of methods, such as twisting, to create the final pattern. As mentioned previously, this pattern really comes to life with the assistance of a heated acid solution, which attacks one steel and not the other, giving my rings their distinctive etched look.
Q: Wedding rings seem to be the focus of your range. Do you make other jewellery?
A: Wedding bands are currently my main focus, they are my bread and butter, plus it’s great to know that the rings I make are marking such a significant occasion in the wearers life. I do make other rings on commission using various precious metals and gemstones and there are plans to broaden my range to include other jewellery items in both Damascus steel and other materials.
A: The look of Damascus is so derivative of nature that the material itself inspires me. I enjoy placing hard geometric lines against the fluid look of the Damascus, as if trying to contain or separate the pattern. I do this through variations of rails and inserts of yellow, rose or white gold.
Q: Can customers come to you with their own ideas too?
A: They certainly can!
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: At the moment its peak wedding season, so really I’m just trying to keep my head above water!
Q: What are your future goals/plans for the business?
A: My plans for the future are to broaden my range. More mens designs, engagement rings and other stone set rings etc.
Q: Where can people see and buy your beautiful jewellery from?
A: I primarily sell online. Facebook is a great spot to checkout my designs. I also take visits to my studio via appointment.
(PS. Photos courtesy of David Parums Designs)