Artful Hand: Zoltan David

  • 11-carat rubellite ring set in platinum with 22-karat gold inlay and diamond accents, $18,000.
  • 11.76-carat natural yellow sapphire ring surrounded by rubies and diamonds set in platinum with 22-karat gold inlay, $35,000.
  • Platinum and gold ring with 22-carat concave-faceted Madeira citrine, $19,000
<< Back to Robb Report, November 2004

 

Zoltan David frequently offers a piece of advice to his clients: “If you want the best from an artist, set him free.” For the 53-year-old metalsmith, freedom means spending as many as 70 hours hand-forging one ring rather than casting his designs in multiples. David’s specialty is the laborious “cold-forged” technique that involves using hand tools to compress and shape cold metal, which is then softened with heat and allowed to harden. The heating and cooling process is repeated numerous times, which, he says, results in metal that is 40 percent harder and denser than cast metal. “Hand-forged metal is weighty, tactile, and features a subtle grain that can’t be achieved with casting,” explains David, whose worn hands bear testimony to the grueling nature of the work.

David’s signature design is a finely detailed inlaid pattern typically set with tiny diamonds, rubies, or emeralds. He spent more than two years refining this technique, for which he was awarded a U.S. patent last year.

After launching his career in Vancouver, where for eight years he served as an apprentice to a goldsmith, David spent several years designing for retailers and private clients before opening his Zoltan David Jewelry Gallery in Austin, Texas, in 1994.

“I tend to have a sophisticated collector who is not concerned with fashion or trends, but likes my designs for their engineering, unique style, and feel,” he explains. One Southern California client, for example, called David two years ago and said, “I’m in the mood for something green; make me something cool.” A few months later, David presented her with a ring set with a 12-carat green tourmaline suspended above an inner circle, a design that has since become a favorite in his collection. Says David of the client’s request and the ring that resulted from it: “She set me free.”

 

Zoltan David
800.743.9469
www.zoltandavid.com 

The jewelry house Miseno is named for an ancient city said to magically bring joy to its residents…
Davies takes an ancient Greek jewelry technique and makes it fresh and modern…
Rough-cut diamonds give a fresh twist to the latest creations from De Beers…
The designer crafted a collection of fine jewelry that is both timeless and cutting-edge…
First popular during the 1920s, big, bold cocktail rings are making a comeback…
Jewelers Alex Soldier, Coomi, Pasquale Bruni, and others are getting back in touch with nature…
These designs dazzle with simple shapes presented in extravagant ways…
Photo by Michael Oldford
Assael’s diamond-and-rare-pearl jewelry depicts and aids endangered animals…
The historically inspired necklace is part of Boucheron’s new Bleu de Jodhpur collection…
The London jeweler employs rare fossilized wood to create her pieces…