Today has been a bit up and down – in flux, as it were. That phrase could also be put to both the piece I made today and the technique used to create it.
I didn’t have much time to get something done, but I had an idea to solder some scrap pieces together and then solder that onto the top of a plain silver band ring. I was going to then pierce out the silver of the ring which showed through the largest parts of the soldered scrap pieces to make it lighter and give it more interest. Well, that experiment will have to wait for another day. I got as far as soldering the scrap pieces and decided I liked the design as it was and my ring design suddenly became a pendant design!
The technique I used to join the scrap together was less like traditional soldering and more like almost melting everything together – a process called “fusing“.
I placed all my scrap pieces in a pleasing arrangement and then coated everything in a thin flux. I gently heated the silver and added more flux (this time as powder) when the silver was hot but had not started to fuse or melt.
This can be tricky to get right and all too often some of the silver will actually melt too much and the design will be ruined. When this happens, I just usually keep it aside for when I want to create the small balls I use in filigree. For this design, I wanted the effect called “reticulation” which is where the silver is depletion gilded (creating a thin layer of fine silver over the whole piece) which means that the fine silver “skin” will melt at a higher temperature then the sterling silver underneath. When it is heated with a torch the inner sterling silver melts first and patterns or texture are created on the surface. I’m not very skilled in this so just went for the texture instead of any patterns.
I didn’t want to polish this to a high-shine because I didn’t think the texture would be as noticeable as with a more matt-finish. To finish, I added two beads of real amethyst with a silver flower bali bead spacer in-between.
The photo has been digitally-enhanced a bit, because I took the photo at 1am and didn’t have the energy to get all my photo stuff set up. I will take a better photo and post it here (hopefully tomorrow).