Artists > Zaffiro

In the Zaffiro jewelry design studio— located a short stroll from their 1913 Craftsman home in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Portland, OR— Jack and Elizabeth Gualtieri carry forward the artistic legacy of ancient Etruscans. In their workshop beyond the lush garden full of hot peppers, neatly riotous rows of tomatoes, and other gorgeously arranged fertility, the award-winning jewelers practice an art form that first appeared 4000 years ago in and around Italy and Greece.

The technique, called granulation, is a decorative process that consists of applying miniature spheres of gold (or, in its modern adaptation, platinum) to a similar surface and then heating the entire piece to a temperature high enough to form a permanent bond between the surface and the spheres. If the spheres are over-fired they’ll melt onto the surface; if under-fired, they won't adhere properly.