A passion for silversmithing

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

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Nature inspired jewellery

I love to use nature as inspiration in my jewellery making, and collect seeds and grasses and petals which I keep in little screw top jars in my workshop.

I found some hollow hand blown glass beads (from Clbeads), and some large glass cabochons on Etsy and made these pendants.

The first one has a heart shaped geum petal caught between the two glass cabochons. I made two bezel settings with open backs, then soldered them back to back. I covered the join with some twisted sterling silver wire which I soldered in places and then attached a jump ring to the top.

I polished it with tripoli and rouge before setting one of the cabochons into the bezel cup. I popped the petal onto the cab and then placed the other cab into its cup, catching the petal between the two. Very pretty.....

This one has a dandelion clock inside, captured forever, reminiscent of late summer....

  and this one has pretty dried grass, a reminder of hot dry summer days....

 For the hand blown hollow glass beads, I gently fed the seeds in through one of the holes, then closed the holes with hand forged oxidised bead caps, and hung the bead on an oval rolo chain. Beautiful, a joy to make.

A Volcano Pendant

A customer, Caroline, asked if I could make a pendant resembling a volcano as a gift for a friend. They had visited volcanoes together on travels and the friend was emigrating to Melbourne. The pendant was a special leaving gift. Caroline had bought one herself in the past but couldn't find anything similar. It's not fair I know to copy someone elses work, but on this occasion I did just that. I have only seen volcanoes on the TV and really didn't have any deigns in my head, so I copied as best I could the photo from Caroline.

I used 3 x 2 mm rectangular sterling silver wire, which I cut into pieces with mitred ends to make the triangle shape. The difficulty with a piece like this is there are lots of joints, 5 or 6 including the clasp, and therefore you need to be careful to use appropriate hardnesses of solder in order not to melt undone the other joints. I only have medium, easy and extra easy. I used medium on the three joins in the triangle. I didn't take pictures of the making, but this photo shows the method I used to solder the joints. I found it difficult the get the edges really flat and smooth to butt together, so I used large pieces of solder and put them under the joint so that the solder melted upwards and filled the gaps. Solder will only fill gaps when most of the two bits of silver are touching.

This method was really useful for the top points of the piece, which again were difficult to fit together. Now using extra easy solder, I managed to fill the gaps and soften the shape with the melted solder.

Anyways, the finished piece here.....not too far off the original.

Melbourne is a BIG place but I said to my best friend Stephanie Rampton that if she met a stranger wearing a volcano pendant like this to say hello!!