Artist Spotlight – Old World Bronze

Artbeads has always believed in providing only the best quality products for jewelry and craft designs. Even if our selection is not as vast as others, it’s only because we want to keep our collection special. We search the world for quality artists and designers because we are designers. Old World Bronze is part of a family-owned and operated establishment that believes in this same purpose. Mike Charveaux learned from his goldsmith father what it takes to turn passion into a lifestyle.

“My father, Andrew, is a goldsmith and had one of the first open workshop studios on 5th avenue in Scottsdale in the 60’s. My brother, Steve, and I learned from our dad the love and excitement of design and metalsmithing. When we create pieces we often times cast our working models in alternative metals to work out all the design elements and details,” Mike told us. ” We really wanted our bronze line to be something special and be the standard in the bronze world so we take meticulous care in creating the bronze alloy which is a long held family secret recipe.”

The first step to creating their masterful works is to find inspiration. Living in the Arizona desert provides plenty of new ideas, including the changing colors from seasons and the organic shapes in the landscape. Each design begins on paper and then is carved into wax and checked for construction issues. The design gets its own rubber mold, which will be used for future castings. Mike describes the rest of the process:

“Each bead or component is individually pulled and inspected for uniformity. Then all the waxes are sprued, meaning placed on a casting cylinder in a pinecone like formation. This is then covered with investment which is a plaster like substance and then the wax is burned out in an electric kiln for a minimum of 6 hours. This is known as the lost wax process. This is to ensure that once the molten bronze is added the centrifugal force of the casting machine will pull the bronze into the cylinder leaving a perfect bronze bead. Once this casting is complete it is off to the finishing stage where each bead is clipped off, finished, hand polished and then it’s ready to be used in whatever way you can imagine.”

Mike says his favorite part of the process is working with texture. ” I love working and experimenting with texture because there are so many possibilities and endless opportunity to create fascinating visual and tactile components.” With a variety of new generations coming up with new designs, the beads and components they make all have signature styles but are well blended together for harmonious collections.

Although Old World Bronze is many things, the one thing they would like everyone to know is how much of a role family plays in their business. For over 20 years this company has operated within the family, and each day still brings new challenges and rewards. With everyone taking pride in their hard work, this business is sure to inspire the next generation of jewelry designers. Being fortunate enough to love going to work is what helps Old World Bronze produce such incredible works of art. If you want to view some of their creations, check out our Old World Bronze beads and components to add to your collection!


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    • Bonnie
    • June 1, 2012

    What a great article about Mike and Old World Bronze. I have seen many of his beads and different components, they are beautiful!!! I also have used a few in my jewelry creations and they are a fabulous addition. Something new to work with is always challenging (and fun).

      • Marissa
      • June 4, 2012

      Look for more artist spotlights coming soon!

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