Saturday, January 26, 2013


I love getting requests for custom orders, especially when I'm allowed to stretch out of my comfort zone and given free reign on designs.   It IS scary attempting to create with unknown skills or material.

These lockets got me into exploring hinges and closures:

Tube Rivet Hinge and Ball Divot Closure
Tube Hinge and Ball Closure
And then my first encounter in working with gold and fabricating gold settings for gemstones:
Gold wire, sheet, rubies and
diamonds (salvaged from my mother's gold rings)
Daughter's Engagement Ring and  Couple's Wedding Band Set
BTW, the engagement ring was fabricated 2X in copper and sterling before going on to gold - I wasn't confident enough to not mess up the expensive gold!  The bride's wedding band didn't turn out as originally imagined ... but the bride was thrilled with the results!

The latest request was also for gold pieces - taking scrap gold and making it into an anniversary gift:

From This - Customer's Scrap Gold
To These - Gold Nugget Pendant
and Pendant Cast in Gold
Process In Between - Melt Gold, Attempt to cast ring
using cuttlebone - Ring FAILED
I thought I could just melt the gold and cast a form in cuttlebone which creates wonderful texture ... I created a ring from copper, pressed it into the cuttlebone, carved more for definition and poured molten gold.  With the first try, I didn't calculate the inside diameter correctly and it broke when hammering to stretch... gahhh!  On the second try, I didn't get the 2 halves lined up right and carved the ring way too deep - the ring looked amazing with the form and texture ... but it, too, was a tad too small and broke on hammering... I think the gold was not as pure as I thought or had contaminants in it which made it very brittle.  Such is the learning curve ...

Process In Between 2 - Re-melted into smaller nugget,
carved heart in cuttlebone, fabricated wire
The carved heart didn't quite work either but I managed to salvage parts of it and fused the pieces together to make the smaller pendant.  Wire was fabricated from a piece of gold lump, into 2 different thicknesses.  The heavier nugget needed a heavier bail; the cast pendant wanted a lighter version.  Also, I set the nugget into pitch to hold in place while I stamped the numbers in the back - didn't want to flatten the front while stamping.

All of my custom orders pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone and were GREAT learning experiences!  

What is your challenge and do YOU welcome the unknown?

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