About Fretz Design
Fretz Design evolved from a jewelry business started in 1970. Marian (Jordan) Fretz, recently graduated from the University of Maine with a marketing degree was working in Boston. Bill Fretz was teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Art, having graduated from the School for American Craftsmen in Rochester, NY. They joined forces to start Fretz Goldsmiths in St. Peters Village in Pennsylvania. They moved the business to Kennebunkport in 1974 and expanded into a gallery including their jewelry. The tool designs started with small stakes to set the unusual Maine tourmaline that they were commissioned to set.
Jordan Fretz began a jewelry business of his own while in grade school and sold craft fairs in the early 1980’s. This evolved into a custom jewelry business making fabricated gold and platinum jewelry marketed in New York.
The bezel stakes were first introduced to the jewelry community at SNAG in 2003.
The business was renamed Fretz Design LLC to better reflect the company’s expanding design interests. Jordan moved to Vietnam and took over the tool production and made the first Fretz hammers in 2006. The Fretz tool line has grown to include a wide range of hammers and stakes. Fretz tools are designed with multiple uses so each metalsmith can pursue a unique vision.
Made from African Padauk, a type of Rosewood, the Fretz handle has a marvelous feel, smooth and perfectly balanced. Each weight of hammer has an appropriate sized handle, the heavier the head, the heavier the handle. Handles are usually a dark brown color although some will have a lighter color as Fretz will occasionally source a lighter shaded recycled Asian Padauk. No matter what the shade is, you won’t find a better handle on any hammer made today.
Fretz casts the hammer heads in 420 stainless steel and then hardens them to 50Rc. They are highly polished and available in a variety of shapes and profiles for every metalsmithing technique.
MAKER Jewelry Tools by Fretz
In response to the often “poorly made” copies of the FRETZ Hammers, Jordan Fretz has designed a new group of “original” hammers under the trademarked brand MAKER. These are quality hammers within an artist’s budget. The MAKER Hammers are made with our signature 420 stainless steel and have polished faces. The handles are North American ash with the logo on the handle.