i have two brothers who are jewelers. they sit hunched over their jeweler's bench wearing a 20x magnifier on their head, hands always torn up from working with various metals, gemstones, chemicals and soldering sources. unfortunately, we've always lived in different cities and learning the "tricks of the trade" from them wasn't an option. so when an opportunity came up to take a metalsmithing class about 13 years ago, i grabbed it (and may i say that after taking this class, i have even more respect and admiration for the job they do and the artistry that's involved!) ! in this class i learned the "lost wax" method, where you sculpt an image from modeling wax, and then it's melted and cast into a mold that fluid metals are later poured into. it took me about three seconds to decide that i would use my favorite heart-in-hand image....and about three days to sculpt the wax into my favorite image...and another week to do all of the other steps involved after it had been cast! yikes...it's quite a process! my final result was a very rustic sterling silver heart-in-hand pin...and every time i wear it, i think about the fabulous work my brothers do, and i have a huge appreciation for it!