Just a quick post to share one resolution from the last post a couple of weeks ago. The other piece is still ‘under consideration’. That one’s going to take more time to resolve its problems.
What started out as a bracelet focal has become a simple necklace. I did add a pale blue Swarovski crystal dangle as an accent to the glass opal in the setting. Sweet and simple.
I did want to share this piece that I started in last week’s class, but finished this afternoon. About a year ago, I purchased this polished ammonite slice for it’s intriguing spiral design and gorgeous deep brown tones. Had no idea what to do with it until now.
Deciding that a wire prong setting was the best approach, I began playing with 16 gauge wire and shaping to conform to the shape as best I could. A bit tricky with the uneven shape for sure. Persistence paid off. This setting really went together easily and fast. Not bragging, just amazed and grateful. The last time I tried a prong setting, two prongs kept breaking off when I was setting the stone in. Grrr…
Finished up this piece with a strand of polished faceted agates in a matching color palette. The sterling spiral clasp seemed an appropriate closure.
Exhale. I just finished it this morning…holding my breath. Like diving into the ocean. I feel good. Really good. About this necklace. I think this is my sixth stone I’ve bezel set. My first with a gallery style bezel wire and so happy I didn’t melt it when soldering all the different pieces on.
I had purchased the gorgeous Labradorite cab a few years ago…thinking that when I was ready, I’d tackle setting it. I’d take the stone out every six months or so and stare at it, then put it away again. Never felt ready. Then last month, I thought…What am I waiting for? I’ll probably never ‘feel’ ready. If I waited for everything to ‘feel right’ I probably wouldn’t accomplish very much in life. Just get started, already!! So, I did. The setting evolved in fits and starts…then lay aside over the holidays. Finished it up yesterday and set it today.
The necklace part is a lustrous collection of pearls and tiny labradorite faceted rondells. Pearls in various shades of blue, purple, green and gray. Everything I see in the Lab cab. I had a hard time deciding on whether to make a silver chain for this or go with something with stones or pearls. The pearls said yes. Sadly, I don’t think these photos do the pearls justice. They really do pick up much more of the colors in the stone. Oh, well.
As I sit typing up this blog post, I’m wearing the necklace to see how it feels. It feels just right.
Spoiler alert! This is a rather long post…but please stay tuned for the surprise ending!
First up. A milestone reached… I’ve finally graduated from bezel setting stones in a classroom environment to my own home. This required the purchase of a couple of helpful tools…a bezel rocker( also known as a bezel pusher) and a burnisher. Both inexpensive, but necessary for this work. And both were available at a downtown jewelry supply store…San Diego has a historic eight story jewelry building with a couple of supply stores open to the public, watch repair, showrooms of diamond and pearls suppliers, wax casting services…so fun exploring each floor. Very sparkly.
This latest piece went together pretty easily. So excited for find an inexpensive strand of turquoise chunks at a local bead store that went perfectly with this pendant stone.
I was able to solder the three bails quickly with my new Sterno torch.
And here’s a little side story…I purchased a Sterno Candlelamp culinary torch about a year ago because I wanted something with a little more fire power for copper and larger pieces of metal. It worked great…loved its ease. Then one day it wouldn’t light. After searching the web for troubleshooting ideas, I contacted Sterno directly and was nicely referred to their company communications manager and executive chef Thad Smith. What a wonderful experience…not only did he offer to replace my torch, but when he found out I have a jewelry blog, Thad sent two additional torches for me to give away! Wow!
So, blogger friends, here’s the fun for you…I’m giving away two Sterno torches. A few things to consider before you throw your name into the hat…
And I am holding off until Monday, April 13, for the giveaway, so folks have time to do a little research and thinking about it. May or may not be what would fit your needs and desires in a torch. Sadly, due to unruly foreign postage, I am sorry to limit this to U.S. readers.
First this giveaway is just the torch. You will need to purchase a canister of Sterno butane that fits the torch. I’m not brave enough to send this through the mail. There happens to be a Costco in my city that caters to restaurants and cooking needs…amazing, I know…so I was able to purchase a 4 pack. Cheap. This will last me a loooong time. Also saw that it was available at my local Sam’s Club…4 pack for under six dollars.
You might also wish to watch this little video with Thad Smith demoing the torch.
Remember the giveaway of the torches will start with on a new post on Monday. I’ll leave it open for one week and then draw two names on Tuesday, April 21st, so be sure you leave an email contact with your comment. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to answer as best I can.
Thanks again to Thad Smith and the Sterno company
for this wonderful opportunity to share with you all!
Not doing much in the way of jewelry making these days, but definitely need to pick it up again…another crafty affair on March 28th. Since I live in a very large urban-suburban area, I am trying out a couple of different locations to see who’s buying. This one is about 20 miles away on the coast and will benefit a high school’s athletic program.
We shall see…
The one project I did follow through on was finally finished up today. I knew it would involve some leather. Pretty happy that I didn’t scrap the project, even though I came close a couple of times. It’s all about the learning. And sometimes things just don’t end up how you thought they would, but they are still fine and dandy.
Here’s a look…
I like the fact that the beading and leather slide strap compliment a rather large (for me) bezel setting. Enough details to keep it interesting, but not a distraction.
And that it is adjustable! Full length is 32 inches, but can be almost any length you wish.
So on to the next one… here’s a peek. It may involve copper or sterling leaves.
This piece has been in process for many weeks…and today, it is finished. Last step was three hours in the tumbler…after oxidizing and hand polishing. My nails are a total mess, but I’m happy-hearted.
This is by far my most challenging piece of jewelry.
And on to the next project…another pendant necklace. This time I wanted to use an etched copper back plate. The ocean jasper will first be soldered to a sterling silver back plate. Trimmed to leave a bit of silver edge showing around the stone. I’m going for a layered look. The small green agate will hang below the pendant.
In my mind at least, this is how it will look. We shall see…
I’m still getting components and finished jewelry ready for the February 7th event…
With over 60 crafters, really feeling like I really need to bring my A game.
Just finished up this butterfly necklace with some lovely pearls.
Next are just a few earrings…
I hope that what sets my jewelry apart is that most all the components,
ear wires and headpins are hand made with lots of love and care.
And finally, a little progress report on my bezel setting work with this lapis agate. I used a the sweat soldering technique to attach the ball details and bail. Which means melting tiny pieces of solder on the back of each piece first. Then hitting the setting from underneath with the flame to ‘remelt’ the solder to attach these pieces to the backing. Last steps were to set the stone and then a good polish and tumble. My plan is to make a wire wrapped beaded chain with these beautiful little lapis lazuli stones I purchased at Lost Cities.
I am beginning the new year with some challenging work. And although there are some definite frustrations going on, it feels really good to try something hard. Before Christmas, I took a class on tinning pendants with a soldering iron…Always wanted to give this a try. It seemed pretty easy under the watchful eye of the instructor, so I sent in a last-minute request to Santa for a soldering iron and jewelry quality silver solder. And just in case Santa heard my plea, I mailed away for some glass slides.
Super excited to give this a try. However, neglected to read up on tinning the soldering tip before tinning a piece and think I ruined the tip. Luckily there was an extra couple of tips in the package and I realized I’d better do some internet investigating on how to do this. Better luck the second go round. Still learning and my efforts were a bit gloopy, but think I’ll get the hang of it with more practice. Adding the jump ring required several tries and a third hand tool.
Eiffel Tower ornament made in the class.
Love the touch of silk.
I also gave tinning a try one of my polymer clay hearts,
just to see if it would work.
Might make some cute Valentine necklaces.
This is my first and only attempt at home with my new Christmas present…pretty rough edges, so I decided to add some silver blobs at the top corners and make it look “organic”, “rustic”, and “artisan”. Covers a lot of imperfections, I hope.
Hard Work, part two…I enrolled in the adult school metals class again, mainly to work on bezel setting stones. I have been inspired by the work of Deborah at Cold Feet Studio. Love the flowing, organic look of her pieces. She paints, quilts, doodles, and writes, too. An amazing artist.
So, instead of just the bezel and stone, I am trying a little bit of detailed work. I mean a very little…just a few silver blobs and a vine-looking bail for a pendant. Here’s a peek at my progress. These were my choices for the stone. I chose the lapis agate. It took me three tries to successfully solder the bezel. Grrr…
The bezel is now soldered to the back plate, but these details are just sitting there for this photo. Next week, I’ll attempt to attach them. Then, there’s the finishing work of setting the stone and filing and sanding the back plate. Not sure if I’ll antique the silver yet, but I definitely want to hand make the chain, with perhaps some silver wrapped lapis beads. The best news so far was an easy-peasy sawing experience for the back plate.
Not one broken blade!
I’ll keep you posted on it’s progress. Wish me luck !
Hi, My name is Lynda.
Exploring the wide world of jewelry making in my retirement from teaching. I'm grateful to be a part of this worldwide community of jewelry bloggers, where I receive encouragement, inspiration, and sometimes...a kick in the pants to take a risk!
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