Boneham Peters Optometrist

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Mosman 02 8043 6890

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The art of spectacle making

Around 80% of the frames at Boneham Peters are hand made using luxury materials by artisans around the world who put together the fashion items displayed in our store. We will have a look at how they are made. This will be the first blog on this topic as there is a bit to get through. First up there will be a short history lesson. The previous blog detailed the first known history of spectacles. Very quickly the center for spectacles move to Florence where various mercantiles started making the frames for the lenses. We will look at how the early spectacle makers sourced their materials. The early frames were made of 4 main materials , metal, mainly gold, bone, wood and horn.

The metatarsal bone from bulls, big bones were needed, was used for the bone frames. The process was quite labor intensive, Sometime wood was used. This was easier to work , easily procured, more available, and cheaper. Horn was another material. It needed a lot of work to get it to the point where it could be used for spectacle making , One advantage it had was that horn, after soaking, is like a natural plastic allowing it to be moulded into shape. Once it dries the material becomes quiet rigid. Leather was also used for frames. Like the horn material it required a lengthy preparation process.

By far the easiest material to use were the metals, goldsmiths were able to adapt the metal, usually gold, to the lens shape.

With time acetates have replaced bone, horn and wood as, by far the main materials used for frames however bone , wood and some leather are still offered. Metal frames are also popular with luxury frames using titanium and gold. We will discuss how acetate and metals are manufactured for luxury frames, in the upcoming posts.


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