A passion for silversmithing

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

Monday, 24 October 2011

Vintage sterling silver cigarette case

I have been making some new bits of jewellery out of my Grandads old cigarette case

No matter how hard I tried I could not manage to solder a jump ring to this pendant I was trying to make. I think the problem was partly that the glass cabochon and the insulated tweezers were preventing the silver from getting hot enough for the solder to melt. In the end I forgot to let it cool after one attempt, and dropped in the water to quench and the glass cracked.

I have succesfully made a lovely antique looking ring (por moi) and 2 pairs of earrings for my sisters to go with the pendants I have started but not yet finished. For the ring and earrings I started by cutting some discs with my disc cutter....with the pattern of the cigarette case downwards so that I did not damage it.

I then domed them with my dapping punches, again with the pattern downwards, in ever decreasing sizes of 'dome holes' to make them as round as possible..

My plan for the ring was to use the domed silver as a cabochon and set it into a bezel setting, with the pattern as a feature. I had to cut the 3mm bezel strip in half length wise to save too much sanding after. The base of the bezel was another disc, which I soldered to the bezel strip with the pattern downwards.

The shank was made from 1.2mm round wire which I very lightly flattened with the rolling mill, and the ends I hammered the opposite way where they will join the bezel. For once soldering all went great first time, then after some sanding and polishing I set the domed disc inside - always the best bit. I love it, it looks old, and very unique.

For the earrings, I soldered two of the discs together to make a bead, first filing a small dent each edge so there would be a hole to feed wire through. I sanded the cut edge first to get a flatter fit, and I applied solder paste to the inside of the edge of one, then held them together with hands free tweezers to solder them. It is easier than it sounds, the silver gets hot quite quickly and the solder flows to fill the join, though I did rotate the tweezers to get even heat all the way round. Very satisfying!!

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