Friday, 26 August 2011

Current Projects

The Tennis bracelet and the Eternity Ring

Tennis Bracelet

I am doing two projects at class; the reason I am doing two more or less simultaneously is mainly to let my brain cool down as I will explain.

The first is a Tennis Bracelet for this I had to roll out a strip of silver 5.5 mm wide and 2.5 mm deep, then I had to saw cuts into the silver at 5.5mm intervals along the strip, these cuts are then filed out first with a square file and then a round file to leave grooves along the strip deep enough to have a 2 mm wire seated into it to half the diameter of the wire.

I then saw through the groove separating each little piece of the future bracelet, the width is measured again and divided by 3 to give me the lengths of wire I must cut to be soldered in place to ultimately form hinges, the small bits of wire are 1.3 mm in length. (Cool off and work on ring project for a bit)
These completed modules will now be cleaned up and then cast to form approximately 40 the wires will then be drilled to form hinges.

Tennis bracelet components
Eternity Ring

The ring will be an eternity ring with  nine 3mm Iolites set in it, I now have to drill 9 holes into the surface of the ring to start preparing the channel to receive the stones.
I have a feeling this ring is going to take an eternity to finish......

Eternity Ring

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Other Jewelry work

At present I am still attending class as I enjoy learning the classical concepts all jewellers learn when attending university, I find it gives me a good grounding as well as having the social interaction with other students in the class – to be able to show pieces we are working on and share experiences.

I am making a fair amount of jewelry for word of mouth requests which also helps to extend my abilities and also bring in a bit of money to try and balance out the books of what I am spending (got a long way to go before I am in the black)

New Roller

Purchase a sparkly new roller – all jewelry workshops NEED a roller, I am now pretty productive in my own right but still going to class, now I can roll plate and wire to my hearts content without having to wait for each weekend class to do my rolling for the week.

Then along comes the little finger on my left hand, I’m rolling out a small ingot to make wire and I somehow I got it into head to use my little finger on the barrel of the roller to steady my hand and the small fat ingot I am feeding into the roller, the next thing the roller sucks said finger in, now let me emphasize this is not a powered roller, well it is powered by me and I can be rather strong when I want to be and I just kept cranking thinking if I push hard enough my finger will come out – the other side, through the pain I realize what is going wrong(this all took a couple of seconds)..... quick reverse and out pops a rather oddly shaped fingertip (pain almost as bad as when I dropped a slab of granite on another finger (another story all together) well suffice it to say it took a couple of weeks for the finger to revert to normal colour and size but now I am very careful when working with the roller; workshop safety has a lot to say for itself.

Workshop at Home

Fast forward about a year


Round about this time I decided I needed a workshop, this involved a small extension to the house in the form of a couple more garages and a new lounge with patio on the roof of the garages. There are now a total of four garages one of which is my workshop.
I purchased a bench to start and some basic tools (saw, files, tweezers) and a pair of torches one for melting and one for soldering and rented in propane and oxygen cylinders to start, as the months and years went by I have added significantly to my tool and equipment collection. Working a 9 -5 job helps feed my workshop’s desire for tools.

 I get my gas installed – this involves setting the regulators a lot of piping to my two torches …. And suddenly you are on your own, not in the safe confines of a classroom studio but your garage with your wife in your head giving subtle advice - she is always in my head giving subtle advice…. Don’t do that don’t try that you will hurt yourself……… you’ll break something….. You’ll burn the house down,  blow the house up….. Hurt yourself …… I switch off the voice in my head and fire up the melting torch, now I don’t know if anyone has ever held an instant six foot flame thrower with the howl off a jet taking off in your hand; well the feeling of absolute terror that overwhelms you is unsurpassed, I just stood there eyes bulging holding this monster at arm’s length …. Burn the house down now that sounds familiar, after what seemed an absolute age I get the thing calmed down (read switched off) then called back the supplier – blah blah blah …..we set the regulator thing up wrong or something along those lines.

Well all is great now with a constant stream of melted silver passing out of my crucible along with a lot of failed pieces going into the crucible to be converted back into ingots for re-working.
Melting torch, crucible and ingot mold
Soldering torch

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hinged Construct Bracelet and split pin

I had to demonstrate the ability to design and make the same pattern multiple times and then incorporate the finished pattern items into a piece of jewelry. I decided to go a bit extreme for my level at that point and make a hinged bracelet with a split pin clasp, this not only tested me in the design but also I had to learn to make tube for both the hinge and the clasp

I had to demonstrate the ability to design and make the same pattern multiple times and then incorporate the finished pattern items into a piece of jewelry. I decided to go a bit extreme for my level at that point and make a hinged bracelet with a split pin clasp, this not only tested me in the design but also I had to learn to make tube for both the hinge and the clasp

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Box Ring & Dome Ring

Box Ring
Box Ring
Rolled out a piece of flat plate 1.5mm thick, then cut out a strip 100mm long and 10 mm wide, Bend the strip into a U shape that would fit around the finger of the person you are making it for, then a pieces  of plate was cut to fit in to the sides of the U-Shape and soldered in place a circle was then cut out to form the ring, I then reticulated another piece of plate for the top, this involved the heating of the silver plate until just before melting then quenching in sulphuric acid and heating again for a a repetition of 10 times, it was then cut and soldered onto the top of the ring.

Dome Ring

The dome ring starts out as a tube six sizes bigger than the required size it is then hammered in a dapping block until it has formed what looks very like a donut it is then cut and shaped so that the bottom of the ring is smaller than the top creating a large dome surface on the top of the finger
Dome Ring



Stone cut identification and the making of tube settings
Instruction on all the main types of cuts and polishes for stones, following which we selected the colours of Cubic zirconia’s we would like to work with, the colours are chosen with a view to using the stones and settings in later projects, The settings we learnt to make were; pear, round, square, trillion, oval, emerald cut, Marques cut, Baguette.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Multipart ring

The next item on the course was a Multipart ring, here I learnt to make a ring consisting of six (6) components, the lesson was to build on the flat plate turn it into a ring then make various types of wire , add all the components together and come out with a ring.

Firstly I had to design a ring using half round, flat and twisted wire and make it aesthetically pleasing.

To start with I had to make a flat ring - this was to be the inner shank to hold all the parts together and make the inside seamless, then I had to roll out the various wires and make more rings that would compose the outer part of the ring. 
This meant I now had six individual rings, the wire rings were slid in place on the shank and then the shank was hammered with a doming tool to jam all the rings in place and finish off the edge of the ring.
Doming tools

Completed Multipart ring

Flat Pendant

The first item of jewelry was a pendant made from plate with a free form design of our own choice, I chose to do a type of Fleur de lis.

Firstly you have to design your idea on paper to the size of pendant you wish to make, then prepare your sterling silver, roll out a piece of flat plate and then glue your design onto the plate, this will give you a nice neat template to cut around. The pattern is then cut out of the plate and hammered to give a bit of shape and if desired texture then polished. 
At this stage we are taught polishing techniques, I really enjoy the polishing phase as it takes a piece that is dull from working and sanding and you get to watch it leap to life.

Fleur de Lis

Classes start and the Flat Pendant

The course I am taking is well structured to develop the student bit by bit with each new item of jewelry building on concepts learnt in previous modules, with each module you come out with a nice wearable piece of jewelry.

I started with the absolute basics; workshop safety and ettiquette, detailing  of tools their identification and uses, such as saws,  files,  pliers, drills etc. the melting torch and the soldering torch.

We then moved onto the melting and alloying of silver (all the training is in silver as it is much cheaper than gold) 
Work is done with sterling silver - instruction demonstrated the ratio's of silver to copper 92.5% silver to 7.5% copper and then the mixing of the metals in the melting crucible and pouring into the ingot mold,

Pure Silver and Copper

This in turn led onto the first process of making flat silver plate with a lot of hard work rolling the ingot through the roller and annealing the silver between rollings to soften the metal to make flat plate. 

Sterling Silver Ingot

Annealing silver plate between rolling

More miniatures

Garden Bench

Bird Cage

These are some more pieces of miniatures I have made before I move onto the next post of the actual start of jewelry, I may from time to time add in other pieces...

Monday, 1 August 2011

In the Beginning

I started studying jewelry manufacture as a hobby 4 years ago after having made 1/12th scale miniatures as a hobby for for 15 years.

With miniatures I started working with wood and other materials to create small static scenes, this then developed in to working mainly in metal; making chairs tables, gates etc, following which I taught the making of miniatures in metal.
All the following miniatures are made in 1/12th scale (i.e. 1/12th of real size)
Table and chair


Table and chair with Teddy Bear

I have always been interested in jewelry, having  designed my wifes engagement ring and our wedding rings, and then designing other bits of jewelery for her over the years, so it seemed a natural progression to move on from miniatures when I found a suitable course and instructor.

This blog will initially play a lot of catchup until the present where I will then continue to document my continuing journey into jewelry manufacture