7 October 2013

Flower Earrings

A pair of earrings I made today. The design has in mind a methodology that doesnt require sanding or polishing, mainly just shearing and flame-work (a bit like etruscan?). I would love to make these in 22k gold (of course!) Please contact me if you'd like a pair in gold.
The silver version is available in The Golden Smith Shop. US$250
 Here is the method:


First, roll out silver to a thin sheet, using rolling mills.

Cut out discs, then petals. I use scissors for this- snips or saw would be too awkward.

Flatten and texturise the flowers on a rough anvil, with an antique hammer.

Scribe lines on petals using a double-pointed tool and on a heavy paper pad to allow the right amount of push-out.

Close-up of said tool. I fashioned this from a broken twist drill and hold it in a pin vice.

Dome the shapes using a wooden punch and matrix.
I dont use steel versions of these tools as these would probably spread the already-thin material.

I also stone-washed (not shown) these components to de-burr the edges.



Little backing cups are made using the same method.
 All components, including ear wires are organised for assembly.


The backing cups are soldered to the ear wires. Soldering (not shown) is done under an exhaust hood and I also wear a respirator- to protect myself from potential fume hazards.


The flowers have holes punched through their centres, and are attached to backing-cups with a ball rivet. These rivets are formed from short lengths of wire with little heads melted on each end- and will allow the flowers to move a little.


A hot little flame is needed to quickly melt this rivet-head without heating the adjacent solder join 
-which has a lower melting temperature. In other words, if you do this wrong, the whole lot melts together... or falls off!

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat... Repeat!

Assembly complete.

Bend assemblage into earring configuration, with ear-hooks.

 Looking a little grey at this point, I immerse them in a bath of citric acid, 
which brings them to a bright colour.


I burnish the ear-hooks to be bright and smooth, and give them a soapy wash.
Finito.
I may try some similar versions with elements other than flowers? 

6 comments:

  1. Those earrings are lovely, and I especially like how the flowers will move a little.
    I don't have an extractor or respirator when I solder, never really considered it as the schools where I trained never suggested it. Should I be worried?

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  2. Thanks Pen!
    Thanks Belinda and:
    Yes, adequate fume exhaust is recommended.
    Read the MSDS of any substance you use, such as flux, solder (most contain cadmium which vaporises when heated!!!!! So Ive been making my own solder), heat bricks and soldering pads/ blocks- check everything. Read my archived blog posts from 2011 onward for sporadic discussions on this topic- after my lung collapse. Stay safe! No jewellery is more beautiful than a healthy you.

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    Replies
    1. Yikes. Thank you for the wake up call, had no idea, never mentioned by anyone in jewellery school.

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