Amber necklace – Show and Tell

O.K. so I’m not sure about this one.

 

This video series is really for anyone who wants to see my thought process and particularly the soldering bit in its entirety.

So, you’re duly warned and might want to skip it if the tedium of it all will get to you…

The stone I use for this show and tell is Turquoise and is also round so the piece turns out slightly differently from the one above. You’ll get the gist however.

MATERIALS

A 12 millimeter-ish round-ish piece of Turquoise or other stone.

A smaller 5 millimeter-ish complimentary stone.

22 gauge fine silver sheet for the base.

23 gauge fine silver sheet for the leaves.

Some 18 and 16 gauge fine silver wire.

TOOLS

You’ll find a list of the tools I use and their links under each video.

I don’t endorse any particular tool, nor recommend that you use them. They are just the tools I used.

NOTE

I keep all of the videos here on my blog. If you click to watch one on you tube you’ll have to come back here to find the next one. I do this as sometimes I feel a little more explanation may be needed and so I write notes to accompany them. As such they aren’t really stand alone videos.

 

1

This video has a small glitch in it around the 3 min mark when somebody texted me or something. Sorry ;(

Note: It’s best to anneal any silver you intend to form first.

2

Now that the leaves are annealed I can actually squeeze the ends together and snip at the same time.

You don’t have to use fine silver. I prefer it as it doesn’t tarnish as sterling silver does. Bear in mind, however, that fine silver is softer that sterling so anything you want to hold its shape, like cuffs etc., will distort more easily.

I am a very visual person so I find that I’m constantly using my tweezers to move pieces around etc. Even if I’ve made a drawing I like to get an idea of how everything will look together. Sometimes you can’t get this from a drawing alone – unless you’re one of those super accurate fine jewelry making drawers, in which case you shouldn’t be watching these videos…

Cutting Shears – Rio Grande #111289

Snap on Sanding Discs and Mandrel – HERE

Here is a photo of the necklace I refer to in the video which uses the leaf stems as prongs and has the 50 plus pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

When I make a bezel collar I find that the combined thickness of the overlapping bezel wire gives enough extra length to ensure that the cabochon fits just right. I cut the wire a millimeter or two longer than where I mark it with the pencil just as an added precaution. Often times, however, I end up snipping it back down to the pencil line. If you are using a very thick bezel wire this will still work for you, but you will have more wire to snip away. It’s just trial and error with the type of wire you prefer to work with, but the principle is the same. It just gives you a good starting guide of where to snip and if you wrap the wire around the stone correctly you should have perfectly matching edges to solder together.

You have to make sure that the bottom of the bezel wire is flat to the block and that the sides are perpendicular and not bent inward, or outward, at any point along its circumference for your bezel join to work properly.

Bale making pliers – HERE

Note: I use fine silver bezel wire.

Narrow bezel wire – Rio Grande #101003

Medium bezel wire – Rio Grande #101051

Wide bezel wire – Rio Grande #101076

SCRAP RECYCLING:

Although there are other companies that will recycle your scrap silver I send mine to riogrande.com

You can find their scrap programme at the bottom of their page under Rio Grande Services & Brands

5

This is a long one so if you want to watch it go get yourself a cup of coffee or a stiff drink of some sort and settle in for the ride as I will now attempt, before your very eyes, to solder all of the fiddly bits on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but with practice and patience you too will be able to do this and probably better than I do…

Some notes:

Don’t tell anyone, but I rarely use a proper file.

It looks bright enough in the video, but it was pretty dark from my angle and I couldn’t see properly.

I had two sizes of balls. Small ones for the oval pieces and slightly larger ones for the leaves to give it more interest.

I have several pairs of tweezers handy so I can swap them out as they get hot.

Often the pieces won’t stand up on their own as the small piece of solder I’ve placed on the bottom form a slight ball. This is why I put them on individually instead of soldering them all at once. If I can get them to stand up on their own I would do it all at once. As it is I tack them into place first and then give them a good once over at the end.

You have to keep your eye on everything at once so that you can see if something is going to melt. By moving my torch in and out I can generally avoid the other pieces, but this is also why you have to make sure you give everything a good going over at the end. I generally do this by changing up my torch head to a larger one because it can cover more area at once. If I’m careful I can get all of the pieces to settle at once and not have to keep working one area at a time. Seriously, it’s just practice and knowing where the heat is.

You can do it 😉 It’s like one day you can’t do it, you can’t do it, you can’t do it and everything melts and you’re going to give up and take up crochet, then suddenly voila a shift in the fabric of time and you won’t look back.

Solder Chips – HERE

Penny Brite – HERE

7

It’s difficult to see anything doing anything in this one, but it is short and sweet – thankfully 🙂

8

It wasn’t worth it to keep re-heating and moving the pieces around to fit the stone in as it was such a small slither of silver to take off, but I think that first cut off disc was blunt and wasn’t doing anything.

The stems did fit into the leaves more easily than in my previous necklace, but it turned out that I still found it easier to tack the tip of the stem onto the leaf and then push it in to get a better fit before continuing to solder it in place. By cutting the end of the stem first rather than before soldering it I could make sure that it was be the right length to travel up along the leaf and be long enough to continue up as a prong. If I hadn’t cut it first I couldn’t be sure that each prong would be the same length.

Cut Off Disc – Rio Grande #346080

9

I just sand the tips of my tweezers with the sanding disc in my Foredom. Use a mask if you do this.

I know I seem to be fussy about that small piece being out of place, but I think it’s good practice to try to make things as best you can.

This video shows you just how fiddly it can all be. It was even annoying me. If you haven’t got the patience or really don’t want to make things like this you might still pick up one or two things from seeing me struggle – if it’s only to not do it this way.

Honeycomb Soldering Block  – HERE

Metal Pins – HERE

10

The piece wasn’t entirely clean which is why the flux went a funny colour.

Cup Burs set of 12 – Rio Grande #344397

12

Here I use the rubber end of the hammer so that I don’t mark the silver leaves.

13

This video stops short as someone phones me, but it’s at the end anyway. The only thing I had left to do was to go over it all again to make sure everything was completely soldered.

15

I propped up the leaf at the end because if the solder melts again the leaf is still in place and won’t just drop off.

16

Generally annealed wire is easier to wrap, but this was still a little awkward.

Warning – the sticky wax in my link comes in a huge packet which will last you for the rest of your life if you’re just using it for this purpose. You can probably find similar products elsewhere. It won’t always get out cabochons which are really stuck in a setting so don’t rely on it unless you’re pretty confident it will work.

Sticky wax – Rio Grande #700187 – Warning. This is a lot of sticky wax. You won’t need to buy any ever again.

Black Max – Rio Grande #331053

Yellow 3m wheels – Rio Grande #332581

Very Fine Buffing Wheels – Rio Grande #330541

Bench Lathe  – Rio Grande #334016

18

Finished!

Here it is

I know it was a long one, but I hope you got something out of it – even if it’s only that you never want to make one.

🙂

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Ocean Jasper Box Necklace – Show and Tell

I’ve made these on and off over the years and thought I’d share with you how I make them if you’d like to give one a try.

Coral Fossil

So.

Same disclaimer as always.

I’m not a professional.

I don’t endorse any tools or materials, but just let you know what I use.

And last but not least.

I will deny any responsibility for your getting annoyed at the video in a court of law.

Moving on…

I am definitely a make it and figure it out as I go along sort of person. I also forget from one minute to the next what I’m doing. Usually I’m not showing anyone else so I can generally get away with it 😉

I like to put a design on the back of the pieces I make because I think it looks nicer if the necklace turns while someone is wearing it. It also serves the purpose of being able to work the stone out of the bezel setting when I’m making it and for releasing hot air when soldering.

NOTE: I soldered the box edges (the bezel wire) onto a piece of silver. I’m showing you on this larger piece of silver, but I had cut a smaller piece before I soldered the box sides on.

NOTE: Making sure that the flow of silver is continuous on the outside of the bezel wall is relevant to any bezel making. When I first started to make jewelry I used to be disappointed when I could see little pits along the outside of the setting. It took me a while to realize that if I took a little time to make sure I could see a continuous line when the solder flowed to the outside edge my finished pieces would look far better. You can help the solder flow by using your pick to spread it evenly or, if this doesn’t work, it might be that you haven’t enough solder and need to add just a little more. Even if it looks great on the inside it can still be pitted on the outside.

If you find that you need to cut down a piece of bezel wire that is too high for the stone and you have already soldered it onto the silver backing you can mark the sides with a sharpie, adjust a pair of dividers to the amount you want to cut away, and then run the point of the dividers around the bottom of the bezel wire. This leaves a fine line that you can use as a guide to file, or sand, the excess away. To make sure that you have the edge completely flat you can finish it up by then marking the bottom with a sharpie and sanding it in a figure of eight motion on a flat piece of sand paper until all of the sharpie has gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was trying to focus the camera closer to the work and so it doesn’t show that I’m just picking up small pieces of solder with my pick and bringing them back to the small cutouts.

Solder will stick to the end of the pick If you heat up the pick and ball up small pieces of solder at the same time. They have to both be hot. Then you can bring your pick back to whatever you’re working on.

I do the same thing when I’m soldering a ball into place except I replace the pick with the ball. I pick the ball up with a pair of long tweezers and take it over to the solder. The ball is thicker and more solid than the small pieces of solder so the ball has to be heated more before the solder will stick to its bottom. Then you can take the ball back over to the piece you’re working on. If the back plate is as hot as the ball, the ball should solder onto the plate with no trouble. If the plate is not hot enough the solder may come up over the ball. The temperatures have to be the same with anything you’re soldering and you have to bear in mind that each piece, due to its size and thickness, will take different amounts of heat to attain this. Only when both pieces are the same temperature can the solder join them.

I often shield a piece I’m working on with my hands to double check that I’ve got the pieces in the right position for soldering. If the light source is coming from one direction it can be deceptive.

If you’re looking for a shiny surface in the finished piece, obviously you wouldn’t sand the silver as I do. I like a more matt, buffed, look and so this doesn’t affect the finished piece.

You won’t always need to put a stopper inside the box. It just depends on the fit of the stone.

You have to look around the web for the Wolverine Ultra Silver Brazing Flux as it seems to vary in price and availability. I use mine by putting a small amount of it in a smaller jar and mixing it with distilled water until it’s fairly runny. Even though I keep a lid on it the water evaporates out of this very quickly so each time I open it I have to add more water. This seems to work well for me though.

Cross locking tweezers – riogrande.com – #115206

Honeycomb soldering block – riogrande.com – #502005

Soldering pegs – I can’t find where the pegs are sold separately, but you can find some here – riogrande.com – #111039

TIP: Unless you like living on the edge as I do you might want to measure the height of your prongs first 😉

It would have been easier for me in the long run if I’d made up my mind about the small pieces of balled wire that I added at the end before I soldered the box onto the back plate. It’s not a problem to add things afterward, but whenever you solder anything onto a piece after you have added the prongs you have to be very careful not to re-melt the prong solder. I just kept the flame away from that area and kept a good eye on it, but you can coat the areas that you don’t want to be affected with that yellow oxide powder that I used in a previous show and tell. I just forgot about it – again… (riogrande.com – #504080)

As it was I cut the wire to the correct height and held them in place with tweezers using the same technique as with the prongs.

Ocean Jasper

larsonite

And some older work using the box.

Sonora Dendrite

 

Purple Passion

 

Jasper

 

Poppy Jasper

 

Prudent Man

 

Amethyst Sage

Next up I’m thinking of making some more of these if you’re interested in another show and tell.

Amber

🙂

A show and tell for Keirsten…

 

Although I don’t pronounce her name correctly.

Sorry.

:/

Not my fault really as I don’t know anybody called Keirsten and so don’t have much opportunity to say it.

As always this is just a show and tell. I’m not even sure if I wanted to show this one as I think it’s really boring. You can definitely see how I go about making my jewelry though. I was being completely serious when I told you that I wing it. Sometimes I follow a drawing, but more often than not I just place things here and there deciding as I go along if I like it or not.

And yes I mumble and um and ahh to myself also.

It can be a little lonely in my studio at times so if I’m not talking to the radio man I’m talking to myself…

:/

So that’s the design aspect of it. The technical aspect is to simply work on the fly using whatever tools I have hanging around that I think might give me the result I’m looking for. One day perhaps I’ll go to jewelry tool school and figure out what they’re really made for.

I’ve always hated going to sites like Rio or Otto Frei and seeing fantastic looking tools and not really knowing what the hell you do with them. Sometimes they give you a little video how to on them, and Youtube is pretty good for finding things out, but I hate knowing there’s just the tool out there that will make my life easier and not knowing about it.

My world can be a dark, mysterious place sometimes.

Moving on.

I’m going to try to make another of these…

…for Keirsten.

Please remember.

I am just a somebody muddling through. This is the way I do things. I am a wing it, try it, do it wrong, try again, sort of person. I do not maintain that I know what I am doing, only that I am trying to do it. Please feel free to enjoy my discoveries but follow your own research for professional advice and to perfect your skills. Above all, enjoy. Life is short.

Also.

The links to the tools and materials used are only examples of the ones I use. There are many different types available of the same tools, some better than others and some less expensive. If you are beginning your jewelry adventure, please don’t just buy the ones in the links here. Research until you feel comfortable that you are purchasing the right tool for you.

I got these little pieces of turquoise from turquoisesusa on Instagram. I have bought some in the past from aztrading.madison on Instagram also.

Warning: This video is just like watching silver melting 😉

I felt in this one that I didn’t really explain the silver stretching part properly. You’ll find that just stamping on one side of the silver lengthens and distorts the strip. You have to balance it up by stamping or hammering out the opposite side. If you want the melted part to stay as it is and not stamp it as I did, do all of the texturing before you melt the edge.

I keep checking the back of the strip as I form it because I don’t want to completely mess up the texture. You’d have to be a whole lot more careful if you want to have a good smooth finish 😉

I was trying really hard not to use up my acetylene, but I was going nowhere fast by not having enough heat on the piece to solder it. The idea of taking that bottle back to the shop really kills me…

Just so you know I was joking when I said why do it the proper way 😉 that’s just not as much fun as making things as difficult as you can…

You have to be really careful when you bend the tube as I’m doing here as the silver can easily split. I try to do it really slowly and gently.

When I say I’m going to buff the ends to smooth them out I mean I’m going to use the coarse scrubby bits that I used before – HERE.

Brown (thicker) cutting disc – Rio Grande 337217

Thin dangerous diamond disc – Rio Grande 346080 There are a lot of different ones of these so you might look around.

Cylinder bur – Rio Grande 343029

Grinding wheel – Rio Grande 332189

Smaller knife edge cutting bur – Rio Grande 348520

Dawn Gill you’ll be pleased to know that I just bought myself a new honeycomb soldering block as mine’s now in five pieces 🙂

Spider tool – HERE.

Just making decisions…

This video is cut short by a phone call.

Black Max – Rio Grande 331053

Yellow 3m wheels – Rio Grande 332581

Very Fine Buffing Wheels – Rio Grande 330541

Always wear a mask when buffing even if you’re not using a patina as the small fibers from the buffing wheel get everywhere.

And voila!

A turquoise cuff.

 

 

So all said and done it’s nothing like the original, but the way I made it is the same – somewhat. I prefer the originals myself although I think that’s because I was surprised by this one’s size.

Small things throw me a loop…

🙂

The old bottle out.

New bottle in.

Phew!

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Behind the scenes – Amber cuff…

Here is another series of videos showing how I made this silver cuff with Amber.

They come in bursts so that no one is ever that long, except for one I think, but maybe you’ll forgive me for that one.

Sometimes the rambling gets away with me…

They’re just work in progress videos and not really intended as tutorials, but if you glean any snippets, even if they’re what not to do, I think my work here is done 😉

Disclaimer

I am just a somebody muddling through. This is the way I do things. I am a wing it, try it, do it wrong, try again, sort of person. I do not maintain that I know what I am doing, only that I am trying to do it. Please feel free to enjoy my discoveries but follow your own research for professional advice and to perfect your skills. Above all, enjoy. Life is short.

Also.

The links to the tools and materials used are only examples of the ones I use. There are many different types available of the same tools, some better than others and some less expensive. If you are beginning your jewelry adventure, please don’t just buy the ones in the links here. Research until you feel comfortable that you are purchasing the right tool for you.

Notes:

In this first video I call the necklace a bracelet so you can see that we’re off to a good start…

And please excuse my clothes! I don’t know about you, but I just use my old tee shirts and jeans, etc. to work in the grime of the studio and apparently this morning I was also playing with the cat…

Cabochon from New Stone Age Cabochons on Instagram – HERE

Note: I use fine silver bezel wire so this is not for you if you need sterling.

Narrow bezel wire – Rio Grande #101003

Medium bezel wire – Rio Grande #101051

Wide bezel wire – Rio Grande #101076

Notes:

I didn’t show making the components in this video as you can find out how I do this in the Cheetah Jasper Necklace show and tell – HERE

I typically use a #0 head on my acetylene/air torch. I change up to a #1 head when I want a little more overall heat and to not concentrate on smaller areas.

Wire doesn’t crack or snap! It seems that sometimes I get a little bored with using the correct terms. It can however break off when you push on it if the heat from the flame has weakened it.

I mostly pick solder when I’m soldering small pieces. When I solder balls onto a piece, however, I use the ball as my ‘pick’. At the end of this video you can see that I take the balls to the pieces of solder and heat a small blob onto its bottom. I then take that back to the piece I’m working on.

Contenti soldering chips – HERE

Note:

A phone call interrupts this video and cuts it short.

Notes:

This is the long one…

I find lifting the piece up off the soldering block allows the heat to flow more evenly around and under the piece. These titanium strips do the job nicely as I read once that they are not a heat sink. You can find them – HERE

I heat around the piece until the flux turns a sort of powdery white. This is the point where the water has mostly evaporated from the flux and you can then move your flame closer to the piece as the pallions of solder won’t bounce around. You can see that the flux then starts to get a little gunky and then glosses over slightly. This stage happens just before the solder will flow and is where I lift the piece up with my pick. I do this because it just seems to give the solder that little extra nudge that it needs to get going.

I use Wolverine flux. You can google it as the price seems to change from site to site. I take a small amount of it out of the main jar and mix it with distilled water in a smaller jar. I’ve used a few different fluxes, but for some reason I really like this flux. The solder stays in place and doesn’t bubble around even though I dilute it more with water. I also spread it over all of the silver, even those places I’m not directly soldering on. I think this is mainly a superstitious act as a prayer to the solder gods. Don’t judge me…!

I bend the tips of my tweezers so that they pick up the small pieces more easily. It appears that haven’t done this yet with my new pair.

I concentrate on soldering, or tacking, one piece at a time. Because they’re not fully soldered I can move the pieces around more easily if I want to at this point. Once I get them all into place I change up the torch head for a larger flame as now I want to make sure the solder flows. I hold down each piece with my tweezers, or pick, and you can feel it ‘relax’ into place as the solder flows then I take the heat off it and after a fraction of a second I tap it to make sure it’s secured. You have to wait just that tiny bit as if the solder is still hot the piece will move even though the join is good. I’ve been tricked into thinking I haven’t soldered something more than once because I’ve nudged the piece before the solder has hardened. Once I think that everything is fixed in place I move the heat around the whole area this time to make doubly sure that everything is evenly soldered. You have to keep a good eye on it at this point as the larger flame will bring everything up to the same temperature more easily and this is when the silver can melt and give the pieces more opportunity to move out of place. Note: I only solder this way if I’m soldering a lot of tiny pieces at one time. If you’re just doing a simple solder you don’t have to go around tapping the piece as you can see it flow 🙂

Usually the solder from the bezel join takes care of attaching the ends of the stems. If not I will at some point come back in and place just a tiny dot of solder to secure them.

Notes:

Yes. Sometimes it still amazes me that I’ve managed to do it!

To make sure all the pieces are absolutely secure I scrub them with a toothbrush and take the opportunity as I do so to clean it up more with Penny Brite – HERE

Notes:

I have a few of those stainless steel condiment cups that I like to use for holding small items and it was handy for mixing the No-Flo.

Rio No- Flo –  Rio Grande #: 504080

Notes:

I get a little sidetracked here with the whole plaster mixing thing. These are just the sort of questions that take up room in my brain and distract me from the real issues at hand… sorry.

I placed the top piece on the back plate a little too soon. The top half had melted, but I should have given the bottom half a little longer this is why it took longer for the solder to flow on one half. I also use too much in the center. Usually I would have soldered both sides and then turned the torch off to place the pallions in the center, but was trying to do it all at once for the video. Well that’s my excuse anyway 😉

Now, don’t hold your breath on these next videos making any sense whatsoever. I’ve only made maybe four or five cuffs before and it’s like reinventing the wheel each time. Maybe I should start taking notes…

I also tend to jump right in when perhaps I should pay more attention to what I want the end result to be before I actually begin cutting up stuff.

Where you can literally hear the painful process of my brain whirling. It’s really not that hard Deborah…

Contact paper – HERE – this stuff will last you for five hundred years or more.

Notes:

They’re not pieces of wire. They are silver sheet.

You have to experiment with which torch head works best. The key is to heat it to the point of melting and not leaving the flame in one spot. It doesn’t really look as though I’m doing anything to it here, but it improved on the first effort.

Notes:

Warning. Skip this one if you get annoyed easily. It’s short, but painful.

This is where I had actually figured out how I was going to make the cuff, but then completely forgot when I came to videoing it.

There’s a hole in the end of the strips as I’m going to rivet the two pieces together.

Contenti abrasive discs – HERE

Notes:

Thankfully the torture is nearly over.

In case I’m not clear (hard to believe I know) the sterling silver may over time tarnish and so the nail polish is a barrier to that.

It is Lexi Erickson’s tip. I watched a couple of her videos years ago which were really helpful when I first started and I always remember the nail polish over everything 🙂 I worry a little bit about the polish discolouring and always mean to research it. Perhaps it’s high time I do that now.

Check out her videos. I can assure you they are a lot more comprehensible than mine 😉

If I find that a sanding disc won’t fit I use a flat bur to clean out the bottom of the bezel.

And so that’s it.

Again it’s not really a tutorial, but more of a show and tell because you can’t really teach if you’ re making it up half the time.

If you got anything useful out of it, great.

If not, well… sorry.

😉

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Behind the scenes – Cheetah Jasper Necklace…

As you probably know by now my video skills leave a lot to be desired. I had wanted to make a, ‘why don’t you make one along with me’, video of the Cheetah Jasper necklace, but what with the glare and the constant fumbling around for my grown up words and then forgetting to explain what I’m doing I have decided that really this is just a show and tell.

If you are able to make anything of it that helps with your own jewelry making I congratulate you 🙂

 

NOTES AND LINKS:

Indian Jewelry Supply not Art Supply, but I’m not sure if they’re around anymore.

Short-Handle 1lb Brass Head Hammer – Rio 112061

Lindstrom HS6001 Cutter Shears

Buffalo Rutland Stamps

Chasing tool from 2moontools on Etsy.

Turned out to be no dilemma at all as I only had 23 gauge anyway 🙂

I use an acetylene/air torch and mostly pick solder.

Here I’m using the little silver balls to pick the solder up instead of my pick. I pick the ball up in my tweezers and take it to a pile of solder chips I have laying on my brick. I heat a little piece of the solder which then attaches itself to the bottom of the ball. I keep it heated as I move it back toward the leaf.

I mainly put the little hammered balls under the pieces that make up the bottom layer. I do this to bring the pattern up off the back plate to give it some dimension. As I build the picture up I don’t use as many balls but instead lay pieces where I think they will best suit the design.

I generally have all of the solder ready to go on the bottom of each piece.

As I said, I’ll try to figure out a good way to video the process without the glare and try to show you how it all comes together on another piece.

I know you can hardly wait…

BeadSmith 1-Step Big Looper Plier

Abrasive wheels.

 

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Happy New Year!

I was going to write about my New Year’s Intention to work on protecting my boundaries without feeling guilty and how Joe from Little Women is my new, just be yourself, hero.

I was also going to tell you about the face rash I developed the week before I was due to fly to England for Christmas which I thought was shingles and which I just knew would prevent me from getting onto the airplane due to being infectious to pregnant women and children and how I would have to stay home alone to suffer my own sad and lonely holiday, but which simply turned out to be an allergic reaction to hugging a friend.

I was also going to tell you about how I’ve fallen three times since August due to not paying enough attention to where I’m placing my feet and how the third time I fell, on Boxing Day, although it seemed that I barely touched the floor with my knee, it resulted in a bruise to end all bruises which has systematically migrated from the tip of my left kneecap down to cover the whole of the front of my shin and which is, even now, moving around to the side of my leg and down to my ankle.

I was also going to tell you that Christmas was good albeit especially cold on the one day we chose to spend in London drinking cocktails in the Ice Bar (because why not spend 45 minutes in a room even colder than the already bitter outside) and taking the Jack the Ripper tour well into the dark, bitter evening. And how I was disappointed with the tour because I, and I think most everybody alive today, already knows the ins and outs and the hows, whos and whys of this particular serial killer and as most of the sites the guide took us to are now either modern office buildings or parts of London which did nothing to call up the horrors of the day we could have happily sat with the guide in a warm pub drinking beer as he pointed to the pertinent locations on a map. All I could think about the day after were the poor half frozen to death prostitutes waiting for tricks on dark miserable corners with nothing but the prospect of getting drunk silly on gin and orange to keep them warm. Which reminds me to look up the months that the murders took place as the idea of a knife piercing already bone-chillingly numb skin seems somehow worse than if the murders took place in the summer months.

Just me?

I could also tell you how my daughters boyfriend approached me ONE week before we all left for London and asked me to help him make her an engagement ring. Of course he had zero experience and had never made a piece of jewelry before and I had never made a prong setting, but we did it in spite of, or maybe because of, the fact that I told him every inch of the way that he wouldn’t be able to do it. A somewhat new approach for me from the encouragement I normally give my kids.

He did good

🙂

 

But then I decided to not tell you about any of this, but instead just wish you all a Happy New Year

🙂

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Chrysoprase Necklace

This past week I gave myself a Pulling Teeth Challenge because that’s just what making jewelry, or anything else really, felt like.

I think I’ve been a bit down for a good while just recently and then, all of a sudden, the sister of one of my good friends died. Just like that. She was one year older than me. I thought I was o.k., but going to the funeral did me in completely, you know the whole death and family stuff, and I still can’t comprehend how my friend or her family feels especially losing someone so young.

I mean they’re just there, and then they’re not.

It was a bit touch and go for a while there and, let me tell you, I was almost on the brink, but you’ll be pleased to know that I think I’ve finally pulled myself out of it.

Hearing about everyone else’s ‘dry’ spells on fb and Instagram, due to depression or anything else really, helped out a lot also.

Put things into perspective.

I knew I was in trouble when I was sitting at my bench and it was all I could do not to just lay my head down on my steel block. Giving myself the challenge of going into the studio every day and making myself start and finish something and then post it on Instagram even though I didn’t feel that I even had the energy to close a jump ring together let alone solder it, started to bring me out of it and on the day after Thanksgiving I thought I’d have another go at making a video.

Just for jollies.

Well for jollies and for the fact that the act of committing to something seems to have been the key to snapping myself out of it. Although it must seem as though I’m always vague and slightly confused I was definitely dragging at the beginning, but by the end I simply couldn’t take myself that seriously especially when I listened back to how awkward I am.

And my god the words! Why can’t I remember the words.

I think when my brain is on the go the words just aren’t always that relevant.

Sorry words. And sorry to those of you watching that might have liked some words that could have actually shed light on what I was trying to explain.

So that said, this new ‘How To’ video series is a bit rough and ready although you can thank your lucky stars there aren’t near as many to get through.

See. Bonus right there.

I do want to say that I will be the first to agree with any jewelry maker who’s been properly trained and who gets upset with someone, like me, who tries to ‘teach’ other people how to make jewelry.

I haven’t been trained. I just get through.

Think of this blog as just a thinking out loud platform for me to share with you how I do things. Not for me to tell you how you should do things. Some things I do quite well, some things not so well, but all of it is meant well and in good faith and for you just to have a go yourselves.

That said here’s my disclaimer.

Please remember that I am just a somebody muddling through. This is the way I do things. I am a wing it, try it, do it wrong, try again, sort of person. I do not maintain that I know what I am doing, only that I am trying to do it. Please feel free to enjoy my discoveries but follow your own research for professional advice and to perfect your skills. Above all, enjoy. Life is short.

Also.

The links to the tools used are only examples of the ones I use. There are many different types available of the same tools, some better than others. If you are beginning your jewelry adventure, please don’t just buy the ones in the links here. Research until you feel comfortable that you are purchasing the right tool for you.

-.

And so without further ado…

For the Chrysoprase Necklace you will need.

Materials:

A stone

🙂

(I used a 23 mm x 16 mm chrysoprase)

Silver sheet.

(I used 23 gauge fine silver)

A 3 to 4 “ piece of silver wire.

(I used 18 gauge fine silver wire)

black max or liver of sulfur etc.

Tools:

pliers

saw

torch and solder

contact paper or rubber cement etc.

buffing tools

straight line chasing or stamping tool to make the leaves.

sanding tools or file

Video 1

Where I think I’m just going to show you the necklace I’m going to make, but then decide to explain how I’m going to make it differently than I normally do even though that’s not what I intended to do in the first place and so it’s not really very clear what’s going on until you get further into the videos.

And even then it’s touch and go…

 

SPECIAL NOTE: It’s ChrysoPRase, not ChrysoPHRase as I’ve pronounced it here. The word was very long. Forgive me.

Video 2

A quick recap on how I make my bezel collars.

Narrow bezel wire – Rio Grande #101003

Medium bezel wire – Rio Grande #101051

Wide bezel wire – Rio Grande #101076

Video 3

How I cut my leaves to give them a more 3 dimensional look.

I haven’t shown how I make the basic leaves because I covered that – HERE – and thought it best not to keep going over things you’d already seen.

NOTE: Seriously, I did not lie to the nice snipper guy. I do not use my good snippers to cut off the ends of leaves I use them just for wire. I couldn’t find my old ones. Promise.

Video 4

A quickie on making silver balls. Skip if you already make them.

Video 5

In this one I’m figuring out the best way to make the necklace the new way and also deciding if I want to make it into a bracelet/cuff instead.

Video 6

The contact paper bit.

NOTE: For sawing out fine detail on a piece of silver sticking an image onto it using rubber cement is probably a better choice. I’m not sure if you can print a design directly onto the contact paper because I haven’t tried. I know some people use sticky back labels to get the same effect.

Contact Paper – HERE

Video 7

More babbling as I figure out the design.

NOTE: As each piece is individual and so not exactly the same shape as each other remember to keep the pieces in their specific order as you go along. I kept forgetting to do this.

Video 8

Continued belabouring of the design

NOTE: When I make pieces that have a few different layers I pay attention to what I imagine the end weight will be. Sometimes the stone is heavy also. Had I used a slightly heavier stone here and just one layer of silver work I would perhaps have used the 20 gauge sheet, but because there were essentially three layers (including the leaves) and then the stone I used 23 gauge as it all adds up.

Video 9

Soldering the first two pieces together.

Contenti soldering chips – HERE

Video 10

Finding my grown up words and moving on to the next stage.

NOTE: I usually run a Sharpie around the edge of the top layer of silver if I want to contour it. This gives me a good guide line for sawing. Pencil rubs off too easily and the thicker Sharpie has a good width for a starting point and I can sand more away later if I want it to be narrower.

Video 11

Soldering all the little pieces on.

At the beginning of this video you will hear what it sounds like when someone tries to get more than one word to come out of their mouth at the same time.

Doesn’t really work…

NOTE: When I’m attaching smaller pieces to the base I hold the attachments, leaves, balls, etc., close to the flame as I’m heating the base. This means that they’re not coming to the piece cold. Typically they don’t need as much heating as the base so you can control their temperature more by easing them in this way otherwise they may overheat and melt more easily.

MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT BREATH FLUX IN. Quench your piece first before putting more flux on it. The heat from the silver sends flux fumes into the air. Heating the flux with your torch also sends fumes into the air, it’s just not as obvious as it looks here. Use an extractor fan if you have one or at least solder in an open, well ventilated area. I have a fume extractor which I didn’t put on here as it would have been too noisy, but even so putting flux on a hot surface as I did in this video is not a good thing.

Penny Brite – HERE

Long tweezers – Rio Grande #115222

Video 12

Muddling through the next soldering part as I demonstrate to you why your piece of silver should be clean.

Video 13

Fitting the stone in the bezel.

NOTE: Another reason why something doesn’t solder easily could be because your flux isn’t clean also. Just clean everything. Teeth, hair, clothes, etc.. then you should be covered.

Links – cut off wheel – Rio Grande #346085

Video 14

Using the Black Max and the first buffing.

NOTE: Really you should wear gloves when you’re using the Black Max or any other chemicals. I have those latex free ones. I would take them off, however, when using the buffing wheel. It probably wouldn’t happen, but I just have visions of a piece of loose glove getting caught up in that wheel and taking your hand off. This is probably my tendency toward dramatic thinking here, but you never know.

You don’t need a buffing wheel, or whatever that machine is called, for finishing your piece. You can get smaller wheels for your hand piece which will do the job. Just maybe not as fast. Links below.

Small hand piece buffing wheel – Rio Grande #338130

Machine buffing wheel – Rio Grande #330541

Small yellow wheel – Rio Grande #332581

Machine 3″ yellow wheel – Rio Grande #332076

3m elongated face masks –  HERE

Video 15

Extra notes on setting the stone.

I was trying to explain here that although the bezel wire fits to the bottom circumference of the stone, because the stone I’m using has a very shallow dome there is a lot more wire to push over to hold it in place. In this instance if you push too much of the wire over the sides of the stone too quickly the silver will likely stretch unevenly thereby distorting the fit. The stone I used in the bracelet video had straight sides and so this wasn’t as critical, but you should always rotate the piece as you push the wire over the stone so that you’re not concentrating on one part for too long..

Also I don’t know if I explained it clearly, but by pushing the stone toward the bezel pusher as you push the wire over, you are always pushing the stone away from its opposite side. You will never get a good tight fit if you do it this way. You don’t have to actually pull the stone away from the bezel pusher very much, just make sure you’re not pushing it toward the pusher. See, not confusing at all…

In case you missed it, or need to go through the torture again, here’s the link showing how I set the stone in the previous bracelet video – HERE

Video 16

Ceaning up and final buff.

I know it didn’t look as though I was sanding the sides of the bezel gently, but I was 😉

And so that’s another one done.

🙂

I went ahead and made the bracelet using the method I said I would at the end of the last video and I think it’s definitely quicker and more precise than the way I demonstrated for the necklace. Next time I make something similar I’ll experiment some more and report back, but I think you get the drift.

And here is…

Day 1 of the Pulling Teeth Challenge

Day 2

And day 3

Thank you for letting me waffle my way out of my funk.

🙂

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