30 September 2013

Ancientish Earrings

Earrings, gold and turquoise.
A recent commission that I've just completed, for "a pair of hinged earrings with some sort of turquoise element". Ancient Roman earrings were an inspiration. The entire piece is hand-fabricated, meaning that all the pieces are shaped and joined- directly from gold. I cut the stones to an oblate ovoid shape, leaving them slightly irregular and setting them in a rugged bezel (the collar that holds the stone) for that ancient look. Mill-grained edges and contoured hinge-fingers are an echo of the granulation and decorative rolled wire that you might see on ancient gold-work.When you make little gold structures like these, with several elements and features, the construction strategy- that is, the sequence of tasks- becomes increasingly consequential. For example, if you solder a very thin bit of gold onto a hefty one, the thin one can easily melt whilst the hefty one is just getting warm. These kind of problems compound as the all the elements come together. The stone-setting comes almost at the end of the sequence, with the final touch being to make the texture of the gold just right, all over. For me this is a mixture of polishing, burnishing, and stoning- a natural mid-point between high-polish (which the gold won't hold for long, being a soft metal) and matte, (which the gold wont hold for long... being a soft metal!)
Trivia; Turquoise is called that because it was said to be sourced from Turkey.