Fine Art Behind-the-Scenes: Fold Forming

Janice Stiles

Fold forming is a metalworking technique in which metal is folded, alternately annealed and forged repeatedly, and unfolded. Following this process, each piece of metal assumes a completely different and unique three-dimensional form.

Forging is the process of shaping metal via hammering, rolling, or pressing.

Annealing is a heating process that softens metal to allow for reshaping through various techniques. No solder is used with the metal while it is being fold formed.

Fold forming begins with a sheet of metal—I typically use 24-gauge copper or silver. At this point, the metal needs to be dead soft, as it hardens quickly during the fold-forming process. Each hammer strike “work hardens” the metal, which makes it increasingly more difficult to work with.

Some tools used in this process include a steel bench block, on which to hammer, and a fine-edge rivet hammer, with which to form a nice edge once it's unfolded.

Fold forming lends itself well to combination with other techniques.

Patina is often used to enhance the texture of fold-formed pieces, as it gives it greater depth.

Reticulated sterling can be set atop fold-formed copper to add additional drama and flair.

Check out the Tres Elegante Designs Silver Fusion Pendant!

Reminiscent of Viking treasure with an air of modern sophistication, this pendant is designed for everyday wear. With visible evidence of flame torching, no two pendants are alike, but all are similarly reticulated in sterling silver over copper to create a rich fine art jewelry sculpture piece. This piece won't look out of place anywhere--in fact, it roots its wearer to both the distant past and the bright future, a perfect adornment for someone looking to make big plans.

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If you have any further questions about this technique, or if you'd like to work together to create a custom piece of fine art jewelry featuring fold-formed metal, reach out to me at!

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Tres Elegante Designs: Distinctive Jewelry for Men

Janice Stiles
Guest Author: Dr. Bill

Last fall, I was attending the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour in the Cave Creek area when I came across Tres Elegante Designs and Jan’s wonderful and inspired work.

As a big guy with an 18+ inch neck and an 8.5 inch wrist, I was expecting disappointment. Despite seeing many great artists at art expos, I’ve found that most jewelry shows in Arizona have very few pieces designed specifically for men. This studio tour seemed no different, as the items I was seeing didn’t really pique my interest - until I saw the magnificent Dragon’s Tooth pendant!  I tried it on and it felt like it was made just for me - I had to have it. 

I am what you could call a jewelry guy; I have many great pieces that I wear often, but when I wore this pendant, I received more comments on it than I have on any other piece of jewelry in my collection.

Upon discovering the Dragon’s Tooth pendant, I became an instant fan and returning customer of Tres Elegante Designs. I have since purchased a Silver Fusion Gentleman’s cuff without folds; it is a masculine piece that perfectly captures my essence: the distinctive guy who cares about his appearance.  

When I’m with friends I frequently receive comments from women on my Tres Elegante pieces, and several men have asked to try on the cuff. This comes as no surprise to me; these pieces are all-man, eye-catching, and yet, so refined. 

Stumbling upon Jan’s gentlemen’s collection at the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour was serendipitous. Her gentlemen’s collection has proven to have the “wow” factor that is expected from beautifully crafted jewelry. Her pieces are a perfect accent for an elegant cocktail party, or for a casual outing for a few beers with the guys.

I am excitedly awaiting Jan’s next line of gentlemen’s jewelry and am eager to add to my growing collection of Tres Elegante Designs.

If you'd like to add to your distinctive men's collection, check out our Gentlemens Collection today! To tell your Tres Elegante Designs Collector story, fill out this survey!


Tres Elegante Designs: Handcrafted statement jewelry for the individual who wants to be seen, recognized and taken seriously.

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