Diana Porter is well known for her etched jewellery and finishes. Her organic designs are highly coveted across the UK and her work has gained a firm following among DesignYard customers. Over the years Diana specialized in a technique called chemical etching which dictates the look of her whole body of work. But what is etching, and how does Diana use it in her designs?

Etched rings by Diana Porter

Quite simply put etching is a chemical process of removing metal by immersing it into a chemical bath. Typically the piece is covered in thin film that acts as a resist (something as simple as nail varnish will do). The film forms a barrier between the metal and the acid. Certain areas of the resist are removed to expose the underlying metal to the chemicals. The acid eats into the metal and forms a deep marking. Once the etching is complete, the piece is neutralized and the resist is removed resulting in a piece with clean surfaces and contrasting deep details - like in the bangle below.

Etching is ideal for creating very precise patterns or details - for example Diana Porter’s own handwriting. Her favourite texts? “On and on and on” - lyrics from the song Can’t Kill Her Spirit by Naomi Littlebear Morena, made famous as a chant at the Greenham Common protests.

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Another use for the etching technique allows Diana to create her distinctive etched finishes that are so sought after. To get these irregular organic finished the entire piece is immersed in the chemicals without resist. Here timing is everything, as the piece needs to be left in long enough to take a pattern, but not long enough for the acids to damage the structural integrity of the piece itself. It is a relatively simple process that takes much time and experimentation to master and get consistent results.

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Diana Porter and her long time studio partner have mastered the technique over the years. The studio now employs 8 jewellers and her work is sold in over 20 locations across the UK. Unfortunately Diana passed away in 2021 after a short illness. It was her wish that the studio continue its success and so her original designs are still being produced today. We are proud to continue to show you this exceptional lady's work at DesignYard.

Click here to book your appointment to view Diana Porter's exquisite designs.

See the full Diana Porter collection at DesignYard
February 16, 2022 — Nicole van der Wolf