A passion for silversmithing

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

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The best kind of feedback

One of the first pieces of jewellery I sold on Folksy was a ring to a lady called Sarah-Louise. It was too big and she sent it back to me to be altered. After I had resized it I wrapped it up as I always do in my lovely packaging, dashed to the post office to catch it before it closed, got back home only to find the ring on the table next to my laptop! I remembered tipping the envelope contents out to write a note to Sarah and obviously had not put the ring back in. I was so embarrassed, a) that I not got the size right in the first place, and b) that I had just posted an empty envelope back to her.Luckily for me she had a sense of humour and was VERY patient with me. Anyway she just ordered a friendship bracelet and sent me a message saying that she was so inspired by my jewellery that she had enrolled in Silver Jewellery evening classes. Am chuffed to bits by this. No doubt we will be sharing tips along the way. 

Talking of which, since I took up silversmithing my fingernails are permanently ruined, short and uneven from all the filing and sanding, and grubby from the polishing. We just had a holiday in the beautiful lake district  (stayed in a cottage just to right of this picture in Newlands Valley)

and I treated myself to shellac nails, knowing that for at least that week my nails would look pretty. When we got back I couldn't wait to get back in my workshop but didn't want to wreck my lovely red shiny nails too quickly. Latex gloves don't work for me, too hot and annoying, but I found these little gems which are perfect. Like mini finger sized condoms.....really good for gripping small items for sanding. Still have to be careful using the hobby drill polisher as the latex gets caught up if you are not careful. Got these off amazon.

Bangle mandrel

I have finally invested in a bangle mandrel, though have to say am not thrilled with the one I chose. It is meant to  be made from hard wood but is already very dented from the bangles I have shaped and hammered using it. It also isn't perfectly round but very slightly oval shaped. I guess you do get what you pay for, but it will do until I can afford a decent steel one.

Anyway, had fun making these. Made from 1.8mm or 2mm sterling silver wire, I have textured the wire using petersham ribbon and old linen using my rolling mill, and hammered some wire using my different hammers. Each of these has produced a different texture.

My good friend showed me a pair of old silver bangles her Mum had given her.

She wanted another one to either match or compliment them. So gorgeous, very oxidized and vintage looking, tried to imitate the pattern on them but failed, so instead made a contrasting hammered bangle to go with.

I've sold a few bangles but I find it difficult to set a price on these. They use quite a length of silver which makes them expensive in terms of materials, they are relatively easy to make, but the problem is that you really need lots to get the best effect. Bryony, in the first picture, is wearing 9 of them, at say £10 each which doesn't make much profit, but would cost £90!

Anyway they sparkle and tinkle and look so much nicer than imitation ones, so worth it I think.