A passion for silversmithing

STERLING SILVER : Noun, meaning silver of 92 and a quarter percent purity.....

Saturday, 24 September 2011

My two sisters

I have this old solid silver cigarette case that my Grandad was given when he retired from the Gas Co. in 1933. It's a bit battered, but lovely, and solid, and it's engraved. It has been in my loft for years. I wouldn't sell it, it's too personal, but what is the point of it sitting in my loft?

I take the plunge and saw it into 8 pieces, and start to make some jewellery for my two sisters for a Christmas present.

I punch some discs and saw a larger circle to make beads and pendant and some earrings. The outside of the case has a lovely delicate pattern on it which I want to retain in the jewellery.

 I dome the pieces with wooden punches so I don't damage the patter, then I drill small holes.

 I make two beads by soldering two discs together. I have to hold the two discs in my helping hand tweezers to keep them together and I use solder paste for this job, putting on the inside of one of the discs.

Before pickling....

 ...after pickling

I have run out of silver wire, all shapes and sizes, so can do no more today.

Here is me and my sisters at my nephews wedding earlier this year....I am on the right, younger sister Sally in the middle, and older sister Sue on the left. This was the first wedding of our collective children (8 in all) and it was such a brilliant day.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A silver day today

I haven't left the house today, apart from doing some gardening and walking to the local co-op to get a tin of tomatoes to put in the curry we had for dinner!

Its a Sunshine and Showers Saturday, and I spend most of it in the workshop. I took an order from a friend for a bangle which she needs for Monday, so I have to use the raw materials I have as there is no time to place an order.

I make it with 2mm round wire and some lovely yellow vintage glass beads from an old necklace. I intended this to be a bangle that would 'undo', but I couldn't get it to work, so I made it as a fixed bangle. The wire is hammered and polished.

Next are these two rings, using up pieces of silver sheet that I can't quite punch a disc from. I love these, with their gold centres. These are really fun to make.

The petals are cut from silver sheet and filed to shape. This one has a

shank made from silver wire and is adjustable.

This one has less form, but I love it for its rustic finish.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Busy busy bee..

....have been busy making new pretty things....

This weekend I have finished these double hoop earrings.... Made from 1.2mm sterling silver round wire, hung from 0.8mm handmade earwires. They are hammered with my ball pein hammer and catch the light beautifully. See them in my etsy shop tripoli and rouge

I had an old rose coloured rolled gold ring that belonged to my great Nana. It was so pretty but not wearble as the sparkly stone was loose and not repairable. I cut off the stone and remade the shank into a tiny small hammered ring for my little finger.

I love that I can wear the actual same piece of gold that my long lost relation wore.

A friend has pre-ordered some Christmas presents, so I have a list of pieces to make over the next few months. The first two were hammered pendants, one on a leather thong and one on a snake chain. 
The small silver bead is also handmade from two small punched and domed discs that I soldered together. This is one of tem after oxidisation...

 and here are the two finished.

I have finally got myself a decent ball pein hammer - my first one had a pointy bit on the ball which was too sharp to make a nice dint. The one I have now is from Goulds in Southsea. It's a small shop but they sell all manner of tools and some second hand too, all for a very good price. The new hammer makes very satisfying softer dink! Love it.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tripoli and Rouge

My new shop is open, Tripoli and Rouge. Need to get busy and make some items to put in it!

By the way, my friend Stephanie loved her necklace  and cried when she opened it. Meant a lot as she is SO talented in her own field as an artist and printmaker
This is me (on the right) and her when we young and silly.......we are still silly, but not so young now...

I need to start making presents for Christmas. Needless to say, everyone - well nearly everyone - will be getting silver jewellery as a present. I have lots of family heirloom pieces, mostly damaged with missing stones etc, but they are so sentimental that I cannot part with them. None are worth repairing, but I think it would be nice to make new jewellery from them for family. There are gold rings, a solid silver cigarette case of my grandads, a solid silver matchbox with really old matches in, christening bracelets and more.......

I made a new ring yesterday with silver wire, with a little nest of silver and in the middle I soldered a small gold nugget with the left over piece from Pauls wedding ring.

I love the fact that I can wear a ring with a special piece of gold in. I will make my daughters, neices and sisters a similar ring with gold nuggets from our very beloved Nanas mothers old rings.

This is Nana, I love this picture, she looks so in the moment, with the beret and buttoned coat, and the small contented smile. I am guessing my Grandad took the picture - that smile would have been for him. They were very much in love but sadly he died in middle age, and Nana missed him so much. She lived to 90 but would not have entertained the idea of finding someone else. 

Pouring with rain today, lovely, because it means I can spend the whole day in my workshop and not worry that I should be out and about or gardening...........