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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25 thoughts on “Chrysoprase Necklace

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-2318">
    Anonymous

    Thank you, Deborah. I hadn’t realised quite how rotten you’d been feeling – sending you a big hug and a giant congrats for managing to force yourself from the mire.
    I am GREATLY looking forward to watching these tomorrow evening.
    I’ve a pal coming over ‘to.do.some bashering’ and make herself a ring, between looking at her quilt patterns.and force-feeding her cake. I have no doubt I will mostly be speaking in tongues when trying to.combine the words saw, file, heat.
    Love and scones. D

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2319">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      🙂 Thanks Dawn.

    li class="comment even thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-2320">

    Waffle away… do whatever it is you need to do to fling the funk. It’s thoroughly impressive what you’ve managed to get completed given your frame of mind.
    I haven’t watched the videos yet but I loved the explanations of them! The amount of time you put into sharing your art is something you should be proud of!

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2321">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      Thanks Angie 🙂

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-2322">
    alice

    Wow, having been experiencing some dreaded funk of my own lately, I am highly impressed and inspired by your determination to plow on through to the other side. I am proud of you for your courage in doing what you do.
    I am newer to this jewelry/Metalsmith thing than you are. I started many moons ago in high school with beading and lots of found bits from the beach and forest. Learned about casting, some jewelry but mostly sculpture, on the job at a sculpture foundry. Never touched a Jewelers saw then.
    The last few years it’s been an exciting, frustrating, sometimes triumphant struggle to get in my studio and actually accomplish something. I have one or two (ok, five) limbo locked pieces on my bench right now that are testing my resolve. Well, seeing as how I love your work, and your love of all things art, much like myself, I am greatly inspired to get my avoiding-the-challenge butt back out there and finish that necklace that is just for me. Then, yeah, well, one thing at a time, ok?
    Thank you again for showing what you love to do, and for what is turning out to be just the kick in the pants I needed.

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2325">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      I so needed to give myself this challenge. Instagram was great for it. Just posting that picture at the end of the day did wonders. My degree is in sculpture. I remember making a small bronze figure which I just loved. I have no idea where it went over the years.

    li class="comment even thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-2323">
    Barb Mallon

    Hi Deborah! First, I’m so sorry about how you’ve been feeling lately. I know you’ve had a pretty rough year and triggers with grief will happen out of the blue… especially around the holidays. Big hugs to you. Second, these videos are just priceless… I’ve been working as a silversmith for abut 5 years with the last 3 where I’ve been prouder of what I can accomplish. I’m always nervous about adding embellishments, but your videos have really helped. I am also really afraid of my acetylene torch and haven’t touched it for about 8 months, but I’m going to be a big girl, check for leaks and start using it again! I’ve resorted to big butane torches from home depot… silly. Question… what are you soldering on – meaning the first thing you have on your bench. Is that a large ceramic tile? If so, I have one but was afraid to put the flame directly on it. Thanks again for taking so much time to make these videos. REALLY loving them!

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2324">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      Hi Barb. Yes I have six ceramic tiles covering that whole soldering area. Under my honeycomb block I have one of the soldering pads that are on Rio #502075. I figure that’s going to protect me from all disasters 😉 To be honest if they want to be I think the butane torches can be just as dangerous as the acetylene torch. If you just treat it with respect your acetylene should be fine. Just make sure you turn it off properly when you’ve finished with it etc. Now the only thing I hate doing is driving it down the road to exchange it. Still freaks me out. I’m pleased you like the videos. I’m worried that they’re just boring and long winded.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-2326">
    Anonymous

    I have really enjoyed watching this and your previous series of videos. I feel more confident about trying more soldering things! (Thanks for including the “muddling”, it is emboldening! Your posts are encouraging in so many ways.) I was especially inspired by those little end caps on your bracelet bars, I think I could make caps for pendants. I’ve wanted to do that forever but didn’t know quite how and it seemed out of my reach, but you make it seem do-able. Pick soldering doesn’t seem so intimidating anymore either, having watched you do it so much. And the next time I am in a funk, I am going to think of you putting one foot in front of the other until you walk straight out of it. I hope you feel better and better!

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2327">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      Thank you 🙂 I’m really glad that you feel encouraged. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it 🙂 I think we can so easily get put off of doing things which really we’d be fine at if we just threw caution to the wind and got on with it. No fear! lol

    li class="comment even thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-2328">
    Meg

    I admire you for pushing through your funk and being creative! I know how hard that is. It’s hard enough in a regular day, but when you have things weighing you down, it’s almost impossible!
    And thank you for the videos and step by step tutorial! So helpful!

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2329">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      Thanks Meg 🙂

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-2332">

    I’m obsessed with your work…I am so excited to try your methods! I read that you use a Smith torch, but there are sooo many different versions online. I’m super frustrated with my inability to get my silver hard solder to flow so I’m convinced if I ditch my little butane torch and buy the EXACT torch you have, I’ll have better luck. Can you let me know the specifics of yours? I’m probably overthinking this, but I’ve tried EVERYTHING (sanding, filing, pickling, hammering the solder wire) and it has limited me to using solder paste, which is sufficient for small parts but won’t work for heavier pieces. I’m ready to tackle more, but this solder problem is holding me back! I’d appreciate your feedback so much!!

    Thanks for your awesomeness😊

    Jill

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-2" id="comment-2333">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      Jill. Thank you so much. That’s so nice of you. Yes I use a Smith acetylene and air torch. It’s not one of those little torches. It’s a big tank with a hose. I’m not sure that it’s the best for jewelry making, but it’s the one I started on. For me the butane isn’t worth it. I couldn’t solder a thing with it. Other people seem to have better luck. I also don’t use solder paste. You definitely need more heat in my opinion.

      This is the tank I use

      https://www.riogrande.com/product/B-Acetylene-Tank/500060

      There is a one time cost for the tank after which you just change them out at your local gas suppliers. The refill is about $35 after that. You will not get your nice brand new tank back, but a different one which already has the acetylene in it. You should probably just buy your first tank at your gas suppliers as it’ll cost a fortune to ship from Rio.

      This is the regulator and hose I use

      https://www.riogrande.com/product/smith-silversmith-acetylene-and-air-torch-kit-without-tank/500105

      My gas supplier doesn’t carry this so you might want to get that on Rio or somewhere else on line.

      However, I know a lot of jewelry makers use this one

      https://www.riogrande.com/product/smith-little-torch-propane-and-oxygen-set-for-disposable-tanks/500090

      I’m not sure how much the oxygen and propane costs to replace.

      I think the oxygen and propane burns hotter and cleaner than the acetylene, but as I said, I like mine well enough. Maybe one day I’ll get a proper jewelry makers one myself 😉

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor even depth-2" id="comment-2334">
      coldfeetstudioblog
    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1 parent" id="comment-2335">
    Jill

    Wow, thanks for being so specific…it’s exactly what I needed! I bought a propane torch today, and with loads of excitement, came home, cleaned all metals and solder wire spotless…and not even a hint of flow out of the solder. I then decided what I need is a “one-on-one” soldering class, so I emailed an instructor in my area! Hopefully I’ll one day see that stuff flow – I think I’ll jump around like a kid once I finally get it! Wanted to say thanks for the quick reply and the words of advice…also thanks for the inspiration your work has given me to try to go beyond making simple bezels…I literally can’t watch your videos before bedtime because I can’t stop thinking of the possibilities. You are so very thorough and specific, which I love! I’ve noticed with a lot of artists and artisans – they don’t really always want to share their secrets and methods – I can’t say I blame them one bit, as their work is so unique and special, they are very protective of it, but I have to let you know I really appreciate your openness – what a truly generous spirit you have and your charity work is amazing. I was sad to read of your recent “funk”…I knew immediately that feeling, even though it’s so hard to put in to words. Don’t lose your zest…I too have known rough patches where just getting out of bed and trying to appear “normal” was a challenge. And usually for no other reason than mental stagnation. But putting effort in to being creative has literally helped maintain my sanity…it’s such a motivator to me and I hope you know people like you who are doing what you’re doing, sharing your experience, is part of that therapy for me and others like me. So please know no matter how you critique your videos, your choice of words, etc…there are people like me who think you couldn’t do a better job – I truly thoroughly enjoy your tutorials and just reading your thoughts😊 Hope that makes you smile!

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor even depth-2 parent" id="comment-2336">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      Yes it does 🙂 Thank you.

      Soldering isn’t that hard when you understand how hot everything has to be. You are probably just being too timid with your flame. I have found over the years that I sometimes don’t realize that I am just on the brink of being successful with a technique because I give up just before I achieve a good result. I think that I’m going to ruin it so I stop too soon. Sometimes I just had to hammer a little harder or give the heat just a little longer.

      Is your flux clean?

      Flux will go through a couple of stages. It will turn white when the water evaporates out of it, like a white powdering looking substance. Then it will look gooey. Then it will start to have a sheen as it begins to flow. That’s when the solder will flow. Lift the piece you are soldering off up of the block. I put mine up onto a little titanium triangle thing to allow the heat to flow underneath the piece. Even so, when the flux starts to change I lift one end of it up with my pick. You can also hold the piece in your tweezers. The key is for everything to be the same temperature. Don’t hold your flame in one spot, heat the whole thing. Also, if your torch head is too small you might not be able to reach this point. I remember heating the hell out of a particular piece for days until I finally figured out that my torch head was just too small a flame.

        li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-3" id="comment-2337">
        coldfeetstudioblog

        Another thing to pay attention to is how far away the tip of your flame is to your piece. The blue cone tip is the coolest part of the flame, you will heat the piece more successfully if you concentrate your flame about a centimeter further out than this. Too close and too far will not be hot enough.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1 parent" id="comment-2338">

    I finished watching these today – woke at 5am; came into my room with a hot water bottle and my big slipper whilst MrG continued to sleep, plugged in my headphones and spent a happy hour with you. Thank you again!! I had a whole batch of things I soldered fail, and decided it was my hard solder – i run it through a rolling mill before snipping it into chips, and the stuff I had been using was solder I had milled back in evening class in autumn 2014. I pickled the strips and then snipped some fresh and it is flowing much more easily and soldering more successfully. I hadn’t really paid much attention to keeping the solder clean (!) but now I’m a convert. I treated myself to four little Really Useful boxes to keep the various solders in, and it makes me very happy!
    I’ve never seen Black Max in action before – blimey but that is fast.
    And finally, (for today!) thanks for the really top-tip about pulling the stone away from the side you’re pushing – makes perfect sense. I’m going to start doing that. Big hugs, X Dawn.

      li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-2 parent" id="comment-2339">
      coldfeetstudioblog

      Great!

      I just pull my solder in-between a folded piece of sandpaper a few times. That works fine for me. Sometimes my flux jar needs cleaning out and refreshing. Usually I agonize on through until I remember that these things might actually help.

      Do you have the Billy Connolly big slipper? If you do – fantastic!

        li class="comment even depth-3 parent" id="comment-2340">

        indeed I do😉
        It was a spectacularly middle-aged Christmas, filled with hot water bottles, socks, knitted hats, allotment gloves and the big slipper. 😊
        I always go for the least effort when making something, hence the pickle. sanding hadn’t even entered my head!

          li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-4 parent" id="comment-2341">
          coldfeetstudioblog

          I love the big slipper. I remembering laughing so hard when we watched Billy Connelly’s stand up comedy with that sketch in it.

            li class="comment even depth-5 parent" id="comment-2342">

            me too. we got to see him live a few years ago in Plymouth. he overran by and hour and forty-five. at one point i was laughing so hard I thought I might have an asthma attack and be hospitalised out!

              li class="comment byuser comment-author-coldfeetstudioblog bypostauthor odd alt depth-6 parent" id="comment-2343">
              coldfeetstudioblog

              Right?!
              Yet you try to explain the big slipper or his dead wife’s usefulness as a bicycle rack to someone and they just blank stare you…

                li class="comment even depth-7" id="comment-2344">

                and now I am laughing again 😁 xx

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