Once again I am apologising for not getting this post written and uploaded the same day I made the jewellery. I have a good excuse though (honest!) – one giant, monster of a headache which arrived on Sunday afternoon. . This made working with the computer just impossible, and it’s still pretty painful to look at the screen tonight (yes, it’s still here; and boy, do my eyes hurt).
Sunday was also my wedding anniversary (13 years!) and so I decided to make something romantic.
Deciding again not to solder or torch PMC (the fumes hurt my head); I trawled through my PMC fine silver pieces that had already been fired, to see what I had lurking about. I found a pretty heart with an embossed texture and a slightly defective bezel, as well as a more modern and much smaller heart which I had started to gold-leaf but hadn’t got very far with it. I wanted a third heart (it’s not often you get to say that!), but didn’t have a silver one that was just right, so a Swarovski® crystal 10mm heart in Moonlight Crystal seemed a good choice.
Today, I’ve been inspired with those “topsy-turvy” cakes with each layer at a different angle and looking like the whole thing is about to fall over. For this look, the three hearts were first placed flat on my micro-fibre mat (very soft, so no scratching of silver or crystal, and nothing rolls about) so that they looked “topsy-turvy”; and then to make sure the holes were drilled in the right place, a straight piece of wire was laid down the centre of the design (a ruler, strip of paper or any other straight item to hand would have done, but I prefer wire as it’s light and doesn’t hide any of the design so you get a good idea of what it will look like) and then the right places were marked with a permanent marker.
Before drilling, indents were made by hammering a sharpened nail where I had marked – this would help the drill bit stay in the right place and not “chatter”, which is where it skips across the surface. I find it essential as I mostly use a tiny pin vice and do the drilling by hand.
The largest heart had a plain-walled bezel which I had previously set a gem into but the gem was slightly too small and had to be removed as it didn’t fit the setting tight enough. To make the bezel usable again, the walls were straightened from the inside using a metal burnisher to push the silver outwards; and then the base (which the gem would sit on) was drilled a bit deeper and smoothed out.
I have some beautiful cabochon moonstones and I found one which was the right diameter and which the bezel would fit round tightly. This was then set with a pusher and burnisher.
The two PMC fine silver hearts were given a bit of a patina with black gilder’s wax. I wanted the effect to be aged rather than uniform and, although the black didn’t come out on the photo as dark as it is in real life, I think it worked pretty well. The highest points were re-polished to a mirror-shine, and a coating of Renaissance Wax was applied to seal and protect.
The silver hearts were connected with a jump-ring, and the crystal heart used a round head pin as a bail to attach it to the smaller silver heart. The pin was threaded through the hole at the top of the heart, with the ball-end at the front. The wire was gently (the crystal is more delicate than it looks, especially when using metal tools) curled around from the back and then bent so that the wire went straight upwards. A loop was formed at the top and this was threaded through the lower hole in the smaller heart, so the crystal heart would hang nicely with some movement.
I didn’t want a traditional bail for the necklace, so I formed a loop in a middle of some silver wire and threaded it through the top hole in the largest heart. Then, taking a thin jump-ring former, the wire was coiled either side and the excess wire trimmed off from the back.
I think the unusual angles of the hearts give it interest and movement. I may just have to go make a pair of earrings to match!
Oh, just to say, Day 29 will have to be written up with Day 30 – as it’s after midnight and now I’m going to see if I can go sleep this headache away.