“I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew…” so starts Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar by J.R.R. Tolkien.
I know the leaves in my earrings are actually based on those of the rose and not from trees, as in the song; but to me they do look like they belong in Tolkien’s world. I can imagine them being worn by an Elven maiden, or a hobbit wife or daughter. They are so light and delicate, beautiful in their simplicity and evocative of nature (so maybe good for a garden fairy too?).
My whole household are Tolkien fans (my hall even has the door to Moria painted in silver on the under-stairs doors and the White Tree of Gondor half-way up the stairs on the half-landing wall) and I have a feeling that these earrings are only the beginning of the Tolkien/LOTR films inspired jewellery.
The recycling part of these earrings is mostly in the form of the pure silver PMC which the leaves themselves were made from. When PMC dries out, it can still be re-used but the dried ‘clay’ needs to be ground up really fine (I use an electric coffee grinder) and then all impurities sifted out (I use a fine mesh bag which originally I bought to put jewellery in when sold, but it works really well for this too). The powder is then mixed with a few drops of water till it reforms into a ‘clay’ ball and then I roll it out, between sheets of greaseproof paper, again and again until it becomes more like the ‘clay’ that comes out of the original packet.
Well, I find that this recycled PMC3 ‘clay’ is really good for using with my moulds and today I used one, originally for cake decorating, to make my little leaves.
The gold on the leaves is pure 24k gold that has been purchased as a powder and then made into a thin paste with glycerine and water. I used a silicone ‘brush’ tool to paste a layer onto the freshly fired pure silver and then after it dried, I torch-fired the pieces to bond the gold into the silver. It’s not like plating as the gold is actually bonded into the silver rather than just coating it.
I had wanted the gold to give the impression of texture on the leaves, like those turning gold in Autumn, so the layer of gold paste was applied in patches rather than all over. The veins of the leaves were also left silver, which gave some definition. The gold has been only applied to the front of the leaves, as in nature rarely are both sides of a leaf the same shade/colour, and it also seemed overkill to cover the whole leaf in gold.
The beads are gold-filled (also known as rolled-gold, a thicker layer of gold than ordinary gold-plating and also more durable) with a ridged texture and the golden crystals are Fire-polished Czech crystal rhondelles the colour of light golden honey.
The ear-wires and wires that hold the beads, are all sterling silver, but I suppose they could be rolled-gold if need be (the only thing is that rolled-gold or gold-filled wire has a metal core which shows when it is cut and so looks odd when used for ear-wires or anywhere where you can see the cut end).
By the by, the picture was taken in my kitchen – which is all Alice in Wonderland themed. That’s a hand-painted picture of the Cheshire cat which is just above one of my shelves, just about where his head would be if he was sitting there. I’ve got lots more hand-painted images on the walls, I’ll have to do an Alice inspired piece of jewellery so I can post more pictures of my pretty kitchen!