When I first got this stone in hand, I knew it was something I wanted to keep for myself (I’m a big fan of purple, AND labradorite. Didn’t know it came in purple!!) I made this alongside the labradorite demi-parure in June 2015; a few pictures overlap.
This is the first demi-parure I’ve made (which is just a fancy way of saying a matched set.) Set completed in labradorite and sterling silver, in June-July 2015.
“A parure is a full set of matching jewelry designed to be worn together en suite. A demi-parure is a less elaborate suite of jewelry with two or more pieces. The French in particular were known to have delighted in wearing formalized and elaborate suites and indeed, the term parure comes from the French verb, parer, meaning to adorn.”
— Antique Jewelry University
Last month was my mom’s birthday (hi Mom!), and I decided to make her a pendant using one of the stones I bought last summer from a fellow RAGMS member. I chose a blue-green oval, which the club member said was “turquoise” — not entirely incorrect. I believe it’s an Eilat stone: a combination of malachite, azurite, chrysocolla and turquoise (all copper-bearing minerals.) It’s a gorgeous stone, and I thought it would contrast well with Mom’s red hair and fair complexion.
I’m really happy with how this pendant turned out, I think it’s my best to date! I explained my design idea to my mentor, he broke it down into steps so I could work most efficiently, and I completed the piece in about 2.5 hours (a speed record, for me!)
As I was pressed for time, I only took a couple of in-progress photos (and didn’t want to post any more than these to Instagram or Facebook, for fear of ruining the surprise.) I soldered the bezel closed, then soldered the decorative beading wire closed in a ring, hammered it flat and fitted it to just outside the bezel, then soldered both to the back plate at the same time, which saved time, pain and stress. I then cut out a heart shape on the back plate, so the color of the stone would show through. (Definitely something I’d try doing again!)
As I said, I’m pretty pleased with how this ended up, and so was the recipient! ♥
As promised, here are my photos from the Fabrication 3 class I took at Revere in July. The two projects were a sweat-soldered layered brooch, and a hollow box ring.
The brooch was a fun project, as we used a rolling mill to impress the silver with patterns from fabric, paper, and plastic textures. I patterned the base of my brooch with a glittery tulle fabric, and paper-punched snowflakes. The top layer was rolled with 220-grit sandpaper. I domed the two layers, then soldered them together (which was harder than I bargained for, LOL), and soldered on the back pin hinge and catch.
The hollow box ring was quite challenging. It starts as two long strips, the inner ring and outer wall. The inner strip is soldered together into a ring; the outer strip is soldered to the outside of the inner ring. In the end, the bottom half of the ring is solid metal, and the top is hollow. Once attached, these are soldered onto a flat sheet, forming the first side of the hollow ring, which is then cut out from the sheet and cut out on the inside (remaking the finger hole, basically.) Once this is done, you repeat the process with the other side, forming a box ring with an open top.
There’s a lot of filing and finishing to be done at this point, to make all the corners square and flush. A pattern is chosen for the top, and the final bit of soldering is done (there must be a hole either in the top piece, or drilled through the bottom part of the hollow ring, else the ring will explode during the final solder. No, really.) I got as far as soldering the top on, and then finished the final trimming, filing and polishing closer to home.
If you follow my Instagram, you’ve seen that I’ve been busy this summer, making jewelry. I’ve been meaning to repost those progress photos here for a while, but, well, here it is, September. (I need to repost my Fabrication 3 class photos, too.)
I’ve been making a lot of pendants, and now I’m trying my hand at some earrings. Rings are always happening, I can’t make enough rings. A lot of the stones I have now are more pendant-size, but there will still be a few rings in there. And at least one pair of earrings. Stay tuned. [Read more…]
So it occurs to me that I’ve only posted five times this year. No good excuse for that, really. Is anyone still reading? [crickets]
I can’t seem to find a theme I like, my topics bounce around… well, let’s face it, I’d rather fiddle with the stylesheet than write a post. I like thinking about writing posts, but no posts actually get written. I still like posting jewelry pictures though, so my Pinterest boards are reasonably active. I’ve started two “visual archive” type blogs, on ancient and antique jewelry, as a sort of miniature, self-hosted Pinterest. (For a few reasons. Read about them here.)
Since last we met, I took a wonderful class on carving wax models for casting (which I didn’t blog about), and have had the past two months off my jewelry lessons, as my teacher was on the road (nothing to blog about.) I have finished a few more stone boxes for Gem Ident (blog-worthy), and have a goal to be done with the boxes by early January (highly blog-worthy, should it occur as scheduled.) I have my eye on several museum exhibition catalogs, as there’s a lot of amazing jewelry exhibits on, mostly in places I’m unable to visit (questionably blog-worthy?)
I expect to start making jewelry pieces for sale this fall/winter, once I have access to a workshop again. I am taking commissions on a very limited basis (limited by time — I have very little of it.) For now, I work in sterling silver, with the loveliest stones I can get my hands on. I really need to revive my Etsy and list my resin pieces there, if there’s interest. (Hint: comment if interested.)
A note for subscribers: I have changed the subscribe-to-posts email service, so if you got two of these emailed to you, please keep the MailChimp one and unsubscribe from the other one. (The new one has a pretty amethyst graphic at the top.) If you only got the WordPress one, please unsubscribe, and fill in the form again here on the site to get on the new list. Finally, if you got this blog post and aren’t sure why, you joined a mailing list for my jewelry business, and I have combined two lists into one. (I promise not to post so often as to be annoying, but if this isn’t what you want to read, please feel free to unsubscribe.)
I meant to do a whole post on the Design class I took at Revere Academy last month, and lookie here, it’s a month later. Oops. To sum up, I had a great weekend in San Francisco, learned a lot, loved the school, and I can’t wait to take another class there, once they reopen at their new location (conveniently, across the street from their old location!)
I did a lot of drawing in two days, much more than I’m accustomed to, and it felt good to put ink to paper, in quantity, without caring (much) about the result (which was the point, to get ideas out without too much inner-critique.) I learned a bit about jewelry rendering — how to shade, how to make metal look like metal, etc. There’s two classes that go far more in-depth into rendering, both with dry and wet media. We made “jewelry” out of foil, designed things based on patterns in nature, and learned about generating original ideas, and documenting the idea development process. Useful stuff!
What else? I’ve been working with wire lately, studying two instructional DVDs from Wire-Sculpture.com. So far I’ve made an all-wire bracelet (like a cuff, but with a clasp), and a wire-work cabochon ring. My one picture of those is pretty lousy; I’ll take another one soon.
I just finished box #22 in Gemstone ID; I have 14 more boxes to go (280 stones), which means I’m almost halfway through the 500 stones I will examine throughout the course. There’s a lot left, but at the same time, I’ve seen a lot already! (Over 200!)
Unrelated (yet sortof related), I retired from my spaceflight blog this week, and in a way, Many Faceted has become my personal blog. I’m documenting my various gem/jewelry pursuits and adventures, and it’s fun to share! (I’ll be launching another jewelry blog soon, more research and article-oriented.)
Thanks for reading, and for anyone who came over from Silver Rockets, hello and welcome!
PS: When did this site get so pink? Can you tell I haven’t looked at it in a bit? LOL
I took my second silversmithing class over the weekend, despite a lingering cold, and made my first ring! Rings are my favorite kind of jewelry, so I’ve been wanting to dive in and try my hand at one. (Bracelets are a close second-favorite; probably because both can be easily looked at and played with by the wearer… in this case, ME.)
I feel like I learned a lot over the course of the day; it’s been nine months since my first lesson, and it was a little awkward getting used to the torch again. I definitely need to practice filing, and I’d like to learn more about hand-finishing pieces. Overall, I’m happy with the inside of the ring shank, and the finish of the ring in general. The stone is a touch loose, but I think I can fix that with a couple of tools
that I don’t own yet.
Hoping to take another lesson in March, when my instructor returns from the wonderland that is Tucson. Next up for me: a two-day jewelry design class in February, at Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco! SO EXCITED!
On July 2nd and 3rd, I had a booth at the Mt. Shasta 4th of July street fair (the Mt. Shasta Boulevard booths come down prior to the 4th, to clear the way for the fun run/walk, and the parade.) Although I have experience working and cashiering for someone else, this was the first sales booth I ran myself, with my own goods featured. It’s a lot of work! (Captain Obvious, at your service.)
It took a while to set up, mostly because I had a lot of things to display and arrange. I could swear my inventory grew overnight; I don’t recall there being as many when I put the tags on! (The pictures you see are from the first day; I didn’t have time to take any the second day.) I got a lot of compliments on the colors and decorations at my booth, and some great feedback on my jewelry.
That said, because the 4th fell mid-week, attendance was low, and I made only a few sales. (My little sister would like everyone to know that she made one of those sales, while I made a lunch run.) However, I now have a lot of inventory to try on consignment locally, and on my Etsy store, now open for business! (NOTE: Only some items pictured here will go on Etsy; if you see something you like, let me know and I’ll gladly put it aside for you!)
Fortunately, I earned enough from my sales to order more equipment for my gemology studies, and my posts will be swinging back in that direction for a while. Next up: a horribly belated account of my unexpected trip to San Francisco to hear a double lecture by one of the world’s great jewelry historians, Dr. Jack Ogden.