Moldavite

SKU# 35 total
Handmade silver sterling necklace with moldavite pendant
SKU# 35 detail moldavite
The picture is taken with the sun as backdrop, in regular light it is more of a dullish dark green colour.

Moldavite is the result of a meteorite impact in Bavaria 15 million years ago. It is a form of glass, produced in the immense heat after the impact. I bought this piece from Magpie, my favorite gemstoneseller online.

It already came with a border wrap in sterling silver, so the choice of wire to use was obvious. I would have made that choice anyway, since this piece was quite costly. Moldavite is of the more expensive mineral to buy, since it only exists in a few locations and the source will be depleted in a few years. This is not AAA quality, those are more transparent than mine is.

I made a chain using sterling silver wire, and experimented with various solutions to combine it with. The one I ended up with was the best choice, it hangs beautifully on the neck. The challenge was to find a combination that would let the long link on each side lay correctly, and not twist.

Now I am contemplating whether I should oxidize the silver or not. Choices, choices.

 

Working on earrings

SKU# 36 total
Earrings with nephrite jade, ceramic leaves, copper spacers and gold filled wire

I love making necklaces really. Mostly since that is what I have used most myself. I don`t even think of making bracelets if I do not push myself to do it. Earrings of course, is another matter entirely. They are a must do, must have. But oh so tedious and difficult to make. One would think making earrings was easier than necklaces, but for me they are not. Think of it as working with a huuuge canvas, and a tiny microscopic one. I am one of those that enjoy the first the best.  Creating more earrings is on my to do list for sure.

And then theres the challenge in creating both pieces equally long. I have picked up a few techniques along the way, and do not struggle so much as I did in the beginning. It is still a full focus work though.

The pictured earrings are made of nephrite jade, and a pair of ceramic leaves I bought a while back from Earthenwood studios. Copper spacers and gold filled handmade wraps and ear ring wire. I am quite happy with these, they look gorgeous. The colour of the nephrite jade is just mesmerizing.

Metal

Metal wire is a key ingredient in many different techniques for a an aspiring artisan jeweler. Deciding what metal to use is important, as it dictates everything from the wire guardian to beads and clasps. You need to have a variety of findings in the metal of your choice.

I invested in copper at first, with a range in wire gauges and a collection of findings. I love copper. The warm tone, it`s softness, the look and feel of it. But, no matter what you do with it – it will always give this rustic impression. Which is fine – if that is all you want to create.  I added some sterling silver and gold filled as well, both have what copper does not have. But it is expensive working solely in silver and gold of course. So what to do ?

Then you have jewelers brass. According to Rio Grande where I buy all my metal, it is also called red brass, NuGold, Jeweler’s Bronze or Merlin’s Gold. It has a rich yellow tone to it, and works well with goldfilled.  It is still copper, with a twist. An alloy of copper and zinc, where the amount of zinc dictates the colour of the finished product. To me the yellow tone was a tad too distinct, so I ended up with bronze instead.

Wonderful and lovely bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. The one I use is a 92/8 mix. 92% copper and 8% tin. It has, according to one reviewer a much warmer, more elegant look than brass. And after seeing it in person now, I agree. I am so happy I decided to go for bronze as an addition to the copper.  It will give me exactly the look I was after, and much cheaper than using gold filled. It has the same price range as copper and brass. There is one downside though, it is not as mallable as copper and brass. When I buy copper for example I like to buy half hard – as I find it better to work with. You can only order bronze wire as dead soft, even the very common 20 ga. After working with it now I can see why, Dead soft bronze really behaves as half hard copper. Struggling with a 16 ga piece was a real work out.