Say “Hi” to my ladybug pins. Here’s the story about how they are made.
I wanted the ladybug pins to look as realistic as possible so I started out with specimens of real ladybugs. An expert jewelry maker in the New York City jewelry district made a mold of the specimens and created red wax ladybugs. I then sculpted the wax ladybugs which was surprisingly difficult because they are so tiny. In fact, all of my sculpting tools were too big, so I wound up using a straight pin (usually for sewing) and the tip of an exacto blade.
Back to the expert jewelry makers who created another mold of the wax ladybug to cast a silver master. A final mold was made of the master and then the ladybugs were cast in silver.
The hardest part is creating all of the colors and patterns for the 11 different colors (9 species) of ladybug. Each ladybug is hand painted with enamel, and it took a lot of experimentation to mix the correct colors and figure out the best viscosities. I wanted the spots to be a part of the shell so the whole thing would look nice and shiny (instead of the spots painted as a second layer on top of the shell). This means that the spots have to be painted onto the shell while the shell color is still wet. The shell paint sort of absorbs the spot paint, sometimes causing bleeding and discoloration. Since they are so small, the spots are painted on with a needle. I have to be very careful to make the spots the correct shape.
My favorite part is adding the ladybug faces. I really take my time to make sure all of the faces are cute.