After a slow start

I’ve finally picked up the pace again.

I’ve mostly been doing custom orders which is kind of nice in that terrifying kind of way.

First there was this one which I made using the customers own stone.


And then a ring, again using the customers stone


And finally one with yet another customers stone.

Yellow Fire Opal

This last one was hard for me as the stone was huge and very thick and was also bevelled on both sides.

When I took it on I thought it was a regular flat backed cabochon which would have been easier to set, but with the back undercut as well I had to spend a lot of time fiddling around with it to make it sit well in the setting. As a consequence I used a lot more silver than expected. This is actually the second attempt so there was a whole bunch of silver that had to be scraped before I even got to this point.

The lady wanted bees and honeycombs to complement the stone.

To be honest I didn’t like it at all.

Not the stone, nor the design and I know that if I were a better jewelry maker it wouldn’t have been a problem.

When I showed the lady she said that I was close, that if I just took all of the silver off and put a couple of bees in the corner I would have it.

On top of that I had set the stone bottom up as the carving was supposed to be on the underneath.

I felt really awful.


I didn’t blame her as to me it was always a horrible piece, but I just couldn’t bear to do it a third time so I finally apologized to her and returned the stone.

I think perhaps now I can’t do anymore custom orders because I hate disappointing people.

I tried to like the challenge of working through the piece, however, I wasted a hell of a lot of silver which I have since melted down, but it means a lot of work rolling it out again. I did figure out a lot of things through trial and error, but really I didn’t enjoy it at all and think it ended up with all my bad energy in it.

Even looking at its photo gives me a bad feeling so I’m pleased it doesn’t exist anymore.

If the lady is reading this I’m sorry.

I tried.

Then another custom order with a stone I cut myself this time.


Although one of its ball fell off.


After that I gave up jewelry.


Fortunately I forgot that I’d given it up fairly soon and decided to make a couple of pieces with some more stones I’d cut myself.

Gold Sheen Obsidian and Marcasite

I didn’t cut this one below, but it’s definitely one of my favourite stones.

Prudent Man Plume Agate

Nor did I cut these ones, but I am definitely working on never buying another cabochon again.

Ocean Jasper

Yeah, right!

Ocean Jasper

Here are some of the other stones I cut.

Top two left – Indian Black Skin Agate. Bottom two left – Some kind of Jasper. Middle two – Owyhee Picture Jasper. Top right – Graveyard Plume Agate. Bottom right – Gold Sheen Obsidian.

Such a proud stone mamma lol

And here is what I worked on yesterday and which I’m going to have to fix today

Yellow Adventurine

Call it OCD or what you will, but that left hand leaf is just going to have to go which means heating it off and putting a new one on. Which also means that I’ll probably have to reset the prongs again as they’ll most likely come off as well.


Then I think I’m going to try to stick to some simpler things.

Like the bangle below.

Graveyard Plume Agate and Serpentine

Why do I always have to make things so complicated for myself.


One day I’m going to make something that doesn’t have bits falling off it when I do the final polish.

It’s so incredibly annoying.

14 thoughts on “After a slow start

  1. I love your designs, but they would make me mad!!! So many small pieces to stamp, cut out and then solder. GRRRRR…….you are a better jeweler than I, that’s for sure!
    Did you get to look at those slabs on Facebook the other night?? She has wonderful stones already slabbed, which I like, cause I’m doing raw stones right now.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Yes I did, thank you Nancy. I’ve been buying a lot recently so have to give myself a slap 🙁

  2. Chris Severson

    It is very hard to create another person’s vision. You have crafted incredibly beautiful pieces. Your designs leave me being excited. How wonderful it must feel to create a piece using one of your own cabs! Thank you for inspiring and sharing the ups and downs of your journey.

    • coldfeetstudioblog


  3. Boy, somebody put a quarter in you! I bet it feels good to be back in the saddle again. Lovely pieces, I especially like the first one, and the yellow aventurine. And the bangle. I have to say, also not a fan of that beeswax-colored opal stone either–designing around that would definitely be a head-scratcher, it’s such an awkward shape. Honestly, I feel offended and irritated for you when I hear about some customer wanting you to change, and change again, some commissioned piece. I hope you are at least getting some sort of non-refundable deposit from them to cover your costs and labor if you end up taking it apart; IMO, when someone hires an artist to make a piece of jewelry for them and are giving the artist free rein with the design, then they should purchase whatever the result is. If they had something really specific in mind, they should have said so.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      No, no charge. I know I should put something down, and I do show drawings, but sometimes I don’t think people realize the effort that goes into it.

  4. anne mertz

    Thanks for making me feel so much better about my jewelry making! Your work is awesome!

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Thank you Anne 🙂

  5. Bonnie Becker

    Okay, I’ve never written to you before this but I just have to speak up. I think you did an amazing job on that
    ugly yellow opal. I love the way you’ve got the bees and honeycomb and even flowers that have attracted
    the bees. I look at things with bees because my son & DIL have bees in their backyard and I know she would have adored that pendant….without that stone. 😉 I have been reading your posts and wishing I could manage to be like you when I grow up (working on it too). Unfortunately, I’m already much older than you are and I was just diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis so I’m going to back off on most metal work. I hope you’re doing an *excellent* job of working while wearing a mask and/or having the studio air moved out with a good system to protect your lungs.

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      Thanks for writing Bonnie 🙂
      It’s awful about your fibrosis. I’ve just developed asthma and so have started wearing my mask all of the time and I bought myself a dust extractor a few months back which I put on when ever I sand or buff. I already had a fume extractor, but now I make sure I put it on whenever I open the pickle jar. I’m sure I could do more. What will you take up other than jewelry?

  6. So much goodness to look at in this post! I have told you that I will NEVER do a custom order agin…EVER! (I hope it is not the potential customer I referred to you!!) Wow…cannot believe she wanted that design changed! I am shaking my head so much it is rattling!

    Your cabs are simply fabulous! I gotta say…that bangle is simply awesome!! But my favorite…that RING!!M! OMG!

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      No the custom order you sent over to me went well. She liked the pendant for the necklace and then she was the one who ordered the ring you like 🙂 So thanks for that Patti.

  7. I’m with Bonnie. I love the frame for the opal; the little cells for the honeycomb and the bees. Genius I think. Fancy her not having specified that the prettier bit of the stone (I don’t really like yellow/orange in any item – other than if it’s a natural food!) should be underneath.
    I’m going to add that bit of learning you did for the team to my list. Thank you, matie 😉
    I learn a ton of stuff everytime I accept a commission, and the whole process remains an adrenaline rush. Mostly in that palpitating, man I have had too much caffeine sort of way.
    I don’t ask for any payment or deposit up front either, and I can never tell, even with something really simple if what I show relates to what the customer has in their head. I’ve recreated EXACTLY items from customers sketches – sometimes it’s bang on what they wanted, sometimes – even when I’ve warned them it won’t work (too heavy, won’t sit the way they want it, etc) -it’s not what they envisioned. I guess the only solution is to refuse all commissions, but I guess I must be a glutton for punishment, learning from each of them; often a new technique, most often a ‘not going to try THAT again’!

    • coldfeetstudioblog

      😉 I learn a lot also and it’s really helped me realize what I’m capable of which, in turn, has helped my confidence a whole lot. I must admit I enjoy a challenge, but just not disappointing people. Going to have to work on that bit later.

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