Thursday, September 3, 2009

Aspen -- Mixed Metal Earrings

The idea for the Aspen earrings came to me when I was waiting out in the car for my husband to finish his appointment at the dentist. I had brought a sketch pad, and was doing some drawings, when I noticed a tree that had interesting leaves. A couple sketches latter and I had my new earring design. I must say, that was the nicest dental appointment I was ever involved in.

To make the earrings, I cut out the rectangular shapes from a sheet of copper. I made two drawings of the design on paper, cut them out, and using rubber cement affixed them to the copper. For each leaf and the twig, I took a center punch to make a little divot in the metal, then drilled a tiny hole with my trusty Dremel.

The next step is to take one end of the blade off the jeweler's saw, thread it through one of the little holes, re-attach it to the saw, and carefully saw out the shape, following the lines on the drawing. The blade has to be removed from one end of the saw, taken out of the hole, and then threaded through the next one, and so on, for each one of the holes.

The next step is smoothing with needle files, to make each leaf as pretty as possible, and all-over sanding to take any burrs off the edges and remove all scratches off the front and back. Then the earrings had a few hours of mixing it up with steel shot in a tumbler. And out they came, all shiny and pretty!

I made some sterling earwires, balling up one end of a wire with my torch first, then cleaned up the wires, shaped them, and put them through the tumbler too, until they were polished and work-hardened. You don't want your earwires to be easily bent, but to stay nicely in shape.

Here's a photo of the Aspen earrings posing on the rim of a glass. I think they turned out really cute, hope you do too!

If you'd like to see more pictures of them, or of my other creations, please stop by my online shop, Dalkullan Jewelry.


Michele said...

ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!! Love them! thank you too for explaining all the work that goes into creating something so wonderful! It was like I was there through the whole process!

niftyknits said...

they're great, and so interesting to learn how to make jewellery "properly"

Jessica said...

Yay for bringing a sketchpad everywhere you go! You never know when and where inspiration will hit! Thought I must say, inspiration has never hit me in a dentist's office ; )

DalkullanJewelry said...

Thanks so much for your wonderful comments Michele, NiftyKnits and Jessica.

I was lucky that day, Jessica, I was there as a driver, not a patient. The only thought running through my head when I'm in the "hot seat" is when will this be over. I totally agree about the sketchbook. Wish I was always that organised, usually it's an old receipt or envelope back, I've got a pile of little odds and ends of paper with sketches for future projects.