I made a pair of earrings out of silver and “green onyx.” I put that in quotes because I have a feeling these stones were treated somehow to get the uniform emerald color. They worked well and are the right color for the project so I am not too worried about how they were made.
The start of these came from sketches. Armed with pencils and a hot cup of coffee, I went to work. I like to draw several iterations with little changes to play around with the design. Once I was happy with one, I drew out the design in the old reliable Corel Draw (yeah, I know) and worked from that printout.
I once heard an artist explain that when you are starting out, your final work is about 10% of what you originally set out to do. Your skill, experience, and wisdom restricts your ability to create. He went on to say that once you are a master at a craft, your final piece is about 80% of what you set out to make. That really stuck with me. The implications are that even masters are not perfect, and the process shapes the art beyond the concept. A master’s work that matches 80% of the original vision does not mean is is 80% as beautiful. Rather, the work may have changed for the better, beyond the original concept. I think over this and come to a conclusion that a novice is more likely to sacrifice quality to complete a work, while a master is more likely to improve quality during the creation of something.
I think I came pretty close to my original design on this. I like the arch at the top better than in my design. I was going to use all square wire for the vertical lines but instead decided to alternate square with round to give more depth and allow me to tarnish the gaps to make the lines stand out just a little more. Most of the tarnish came off during polishing but there is a little left. Overall, I like these earrings and can’t wait to see them on someone out in the world somewhere.
I have completed my first ever set of rings. I made 9 in total and only ruined one on the process. That reminded me of my old EverQuest days where as you start out with a poor skill in a trade you would ruin a lot of your raw materials. Anyway, I bought a ring mandrel and and some square sterling silver wire and got to work with the aid of YouTube and a some reading. With a set of ring sizers, I measured my victim, er em…girlfriend, and went to work. To figure out how long to cut the metal I just calculated the circumference by measuring the diameter of the correct sizing ring and cut a little larger, then filed to make a perfectly smooth end. Solder it and you have a rings you can make perfectly round on a mandrel. Really easy actually.
I made 5 rings with gemstones, and 4 that are plain. I figured that would allow the most versatility for changing it up. These are only about 1 mm thick and meant to be pretty dainty. I used pre-made bezel cups because making 4 mm bezels my hand didn’t sound fun. Since my stones were round there was no reason to do a custom bezel anyway. I hammered the rings with a steel ball-peen hammer to give them a texture. In doing so, it added about 0.25 of a size to the rings because the metal spread out a bit.
I went and made another pendant this weekend. I have lots of women in my life that have requested custom jewelry, so I figured I better get on it! I have lots of silver, a few gems, and just a bit of gold laying around and so I no longer have excuses not to make something. I made this using all the techniques I learned in my class but I did my own design instead of copying off of a design my teacher, Poppy, made. I am going to give it to my Mom but my girlfriend spent yesterday wearing it and does not want to part with it. I have a square piece of labradorite picked out for her in due time.
This is made of silver and just a little bit of gold wrapping the solder joints around the silver wire loops. It’s not perfect and I see every flaw when I look at it, but it is only my 3rd price of custom jewelry. I learned how to bezel fit a pear shaped stone so that was cool I guess. Ever onward!