“One-a-Day” Recycling Challenge – Day 29: CZ’s Are This Girl’s Best Friend

Wow, still a day behind in my posts, but not in actually getting the jewellery made.  My headache finally disappeared but the time has flown today with all the extra care that my Frodo has needed, as well as all the ‘normal’ day-to-day mum-things I get to do.  Although, saying that – am I the only one who plays modelling dough with her daughter and ends up designing jewellery with it?

For a good many years now I have had this one lonely earring, mooching about in my personal jewellery stash, lost without it’s twin.  I really loved it (although when I wore the pair they made my ears itch) and have wanted to do something with it for a long time.  With the help of some Siligum silicon moulding paste, PMC3 pure silver and three CZ’s – I think today’s the day I make it finally useful.

Siligum moulding paste is great stuff.  It comes in two parts, white and blue.  Equal amounts of both colours are kneaded together until all the white disappears and it is uniformly blue.  Then you have a few minutes to press your items into the paste and wait for it to cure into a flexible mould.

I made a ball of the mixed moulding paste and slightly flattened it with a flat piece of perspex.  Then the earring was pushed into the paste and left while the mould cured (when it’s ready, it will resist you pushing your fingernail into it and will bounce back).  As I’m not very good at judging exactly how much paste I’m going to need (no pun intended), I always make a little more than I expect to use and have some extra things handy to make moulds of.

The mould was then filled with PMC3 and left for the PMC3 to dry enough that it could be removed from the mould without cracking or breaking.  A hole was cut in the centre so that the pear-shaped CZ would have light going all the way through.  The CZ was put in place and a ‘snake’ of PMC3 was coiled around it, with slip pasted over any joins or gaps to seal the pieces together.  20 minutes in the small electric oven and it was ready to sand smooth.  Any details were added or defined with a metal scribe, and then the piece was torch-fired for a couple of minutes to burn off the binder and sinter the piece back into pure silver (a process based on atomic diffusion that creates objects from powders. Sounds more like alchemy than jewellery! ).

After sintering, the pin was soldered to the back with medium solder and then a round claw setting was soldered in place at the top with easy solder.  (I have a soldering mat with holes in which is really useful when a piece has an earring stud pin or a tie-tack pin and I need to solder something to the front as well.  The post/pin goes into one of the holes and keeps the piece flat without having to be held with tweezers which can cause problems as heat sinks.)  A quick dip in the pickle, then a steel brush and silicon wheels were used to bring the silver to a shine – with an agate burnisher being used for the final mirror-shine polish.

The round CZ was added to the claw setting and another cz, this time a marquise cut, was added as a dangle.  Just to say that I re-used the mount for the marquise-cut CZ – I had to cut it to size and solder the ends shut then re-mould it round the stone so that it held it tightly in place (the original stone that it held was much larger and pear-shaped).

Just to say that of the following photos, only the first is the real deal.  It’s quite obvious, but I just wanted to be clear – the second image has been photo-edited to show how the middle gem should look.  It looks beautiful in real-life, but I don’t think I took the right angle photo and it looks like all it’s sparkle is gone.



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