Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Moon & Stars, in sterling with pearl dangles, is a completely hand fabricated design. I begin with a sheet of sterling, and punch out two disks. The next step is trickier, taking out the central disk, to leave the hole in the first disk.
I have a heavy sheet of plastic, with holes of various diameters cut out in it, and line up the correct size hole over a sterling disk, until I have it just right, then mark the location with a Sharpie. I use that mark to line up the disk in the cutter, then punch out the hole. I could also use a jeweler's saw to make the disks, but I prefer to use a disk cutter -- it makes perfectly round disks every time.
The next step is to metal pieces of sterling scrap for the round sterling balls. I put the scrap on a charcoal block, and melt the silver with a torch. It's a lot of fun, the metal gets shiny, and then begins to curl up on itself, until it forms a nice round ball with a flat bottom. If I want to make a completely round sphere of sterling, I'd just scoop out a little hemisphere in the charcoal block to place the scrap sterling in before melting.
I do the finishing of the disk before I solder the sterling balls on. It's much easier to file, sand, and texture the disks beforehand, which is something I've learned from experience. I used a coarse file to create the texture on the disks, suggesting the surface of a moon after oblique meteor impact.
After sweat soldering on the sterling balls with medium solder, I attach the two jump rings using easy solder. Since the medium solder needs a higher temperature to melt than easy solder, the sterling balls stay securely soldered.
The final steps are attaching the freshwater pearl dangles using wire wrapping -- pearls are too delicate to take the heat of soldering, and adding handcrafted sterling earwires. And voila! A new earring design is complete, ready to be photographed and listed at Dalkullan Jewelry.