[photo_credit]Photo by Tommy Shih[/photo_credit]
Misa Hamamoto has taken her Hawai’i roots to Los Angeles and has created a niche reputation with her unique artistic qualities. “I definitely consider my jewelry pieces as ‘wearable art.’ In fact, I also call them sculptural jewelry. I think that’s why I’ve developed such a following because my clients feel like they’re collecting pieces of art when purchasing my jewelry,” says Hamamoto.
The process she uses to create her pieces is called the “lost wax” technique, and is quite rare nowadays with modern inventions and technology. “I start off by carving out my designs from wax. This entails an open flame from a jewelry lamp, which I use to melt the wax drop by drop to form the piece I’m designing,” explains Hamamoto.
She then uses dentist tools to clean, file and further mold the wax to the design she desires. “This process is very tedious, as I’m creating a piece entirely from melted wax droplets and small tools for the detailing,” says Hamamoto. The wax sculpture then goes through a casting process, in which the design is solidified. Thus the process gets its name because the mold loses its wax material as it drips off the solid metal.
“Most jewelers now do not use this ancient method because, well, it’s ancient. I would say almost all jewelers now use computer programs to create their designs. I have nothing against this method, but I prefer the organic, imperfect look that develops from lost wax casting,” says Hamamoto.
This method of jewelry casting might be what makes Misa Jewelry so distinguishable, or it might be the inspiration of Hawaii that Hamamoto has when designing. “My pieces are influenced by different elements of nature from coral to the tree root systems to the night sky. Growing up in Hawaii definitely has an influence on my designs. I’ve always been a huge nature lover especially growing up on a beautiful island,” she explains.
Misa Jewelry’s imperfect, fluid and organic designs are true examples of craftsmanship. No matter what your style is — from Bohemian to street, Misa’s jewelry can be paired to create the perfect outfit. Some designers create a collection in which there is one must-have piece, but Misa’s jewelry has enough diversity in each of the pieces to where the entire collection is a must have.