Tag Archives: hearts

“One-a-Day” Recycling Challenge – Day 28: Love Hearts

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.

PMC fine silver hearts with swarovski crystal heart

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.

“One-a-Day” Recycling Challenge – Day 13: Bold Ring

I did make a new piece of jewellery yesterday but didn’t manage to write the blog post till now – so here it is …

Quite a while ago, I made a PMC heart with twisted filigree curls; which was to become a pendant.  I didn’t like the way the patina turned out and the design wasn’t as pleasing in real life as it was on paper.  Well, the first thing was to take the patina off and get the PMC back to the just-fired state (white).  Not really thinking about it, I took up my torch and heated up the piece … Wow! What a smell!  Liver of Sulphur patina smells even worse when you burn it off than when you add it originally. Rotten egg smell and smoke everywhere!

After opening all the windows and retreating for a cup of tea, I returned to my bench.  A lot of the filigree had softened and was in danger of breaking off due to the reheating.  Using my tin-snips, I took off any bits that didn’t look secure and then filed any sharp bits back.  The bits of filigree that were left, I curled up to the right side of the heart.

In my scrap box, I found a ring (two pieces of 1mm round wire, twisted together and the outside edge hammered slightly flat to make it more comfortable to wear), and after depletion gilding it (there is a brief description of the technique here), soldered both it and the filigree to the PMC heart with hard solder.

The ring was now looking a bit better, but still a bit plain.  I had a lovely purple, square-cut glass gem which I thought would suit the ring perfectly.  Usually, I only use CZ’s or precious/semi-precious stones in my jewellery; but in the spirit of recycling, I wanted to rescue and re-use some of the beautiful glass “gems” that had been part of broken jewellery.  I made a bezel and notched it all the way round; giving it both a pleasing scalloped edge and also making it easier to set the “gem”.  After deciding where to put it on the piece, I drilled a pilot hole and used my hand-saw to cut away a square in the heart so that the light would shine through the “gem”.  I then soldered the bezel over the hole, ready to set the “gem”.

Looking at the piece again, I decided it needed something more.  There were a couple of the filigran silver balls on the filigree already, so I added more all over the piece clustered in groups.  A small silver PMC heart that had been floating around my bench, also made it onto the ring.  Then off to the pickle pot to remove any firescale from the soldering.

The PMC heart, which makes up the main body of the ring, needed a lot of filing and polishing smooth due to some reticulation (there is a brief description of the technique here) happening when I originally fired it. Even after a spin in the tumbler, I needed to use my polishing wheels to be able to get a good polish in-between all the balls and round the bezel.

Lastly, the glass “gem” was set and the ring was finished.

Ta-da! Here it is:

And a photo of it on my hand to show it in context:

“One-a-Day” Recycling Challenge – Day Six: I need The Doctor

It’s ten to two in the morning, but I did finish my daily challenge – even if it is a bit late.  I’ve got a horrible head cold and it’s made everything much harder today (even blinking hurts ).  I had a good dose of sea breezes and sunshine this morning, going to the beach with my husband Chris (www.winterblood.com) and daughter; but I still needed a doctor … well, The Doctor, actually.

Tonight (UK time)  was the last episode of Dr Who for this current series (no spoilers here though!)  – by the time Little Miss was in bed asleep and Chris was home from work it was about 9:30pm and I just couldn’t wait any longer to watch it.  So, the upshot of all this, is that I didn’t actually get to sit down at my bench till 11pm today!

When I first started making jewellery (for other people, anyway), I did a lot of wire-wrapped jewellery.  In my scrap box are lots of pieces from that time which either I didn’t like, didn’t come out as planned, or have just been de-constructed as my skills improved and I wanted to make better pieces.  The wire-wrapped hearts I used for these earrings were originally part of a necklace which didn’t come out as I had wanted.  To start with, I tidied them up a bit, hammered them flat and soldered all the joins/wraps to make them more durable.

I just love the “heliotrope” Swarovski® crystal hearts – the colour is just amazing (blue with flashes of purple).  To hang one from each upside-down heart, I created for each a triangle (with an opening at the bottom and point at the top) to act as a bail and soldered this onto the same gauge round wire.  I sanded the front of the bail flat and soldered onto this a tiny silver heart, which I had cut out from thin silver sheet with my trusty saw and tiny blades.

As it was late and I couldn’t have the tumbler on without waking my daughter up; I used my wonderful silicone wheels to remove any firescale and then polish up the earring components.  It was very quick to do and, although didn’t give the high-shine that the tumbler would have, I liked the more matt finish which contrasted nicely with the sparkle of the crystal hearts.

The round wire was used as a pin on which I threaded two silver round beads and a “dark indigo” Swarovski® crystal.  A loop was added at the top and this was threaded through the loop at the bottom of the heart.  An ear-wire was added to each earring.

Looking at the earrings now, I think there is more than a slight nod to Tardis blue about them.  I’ve still got the sniffles, but at least I got to see one Doctor who made me feel much better today.  🙂

“One-a-Day” Recycling Challenge: Day Four (Trouble in Paradise)

For today’s scrap I found some 0.4mm thick silver sheet pieces hanging around, acting all tough at the bottom of the scrap pot.  I knew if I didn’t find a use for them today, then they would get their sharp little edges in all sorts of trouble later on.  And what better for sharp little tough guys than to be turned into smooth and shiny heart earrings.

I’ve been inspired by a few examples of jewellery using highly polished surfaces to reflect the colour of gems/crystals.  These reflection pieces look stunning, and I wondered if I could make something as nice myself.

Well, as it turns out, the answer is: “sort of”.

The small pieces of silver sheet were cut out by saw into two small heart shapes.  These were then shaped using the doming block.  Looking back (isn’t hindsight always 20:20, *sigh*!) it probably would have been better to have made the shapes circles rather than hearts because it would have been half a sphere and would have reflected better than the heart; which although curved well, didn’t reflect all the way round all at once.  Oh well, we live and learn (at least I did today, anyway).

The concave hearts were then polished to within an inch of their tiny silver lives – making them very polished and shiny indeed. Now came the part with all the trouble …

… The video instructions I had seen for making something similar (albeit with circles rather than hearts) said to drill a hole in the middle and then thread a head-pin through with a coloured glass bead between the head of the pin and the silver.  Okay, that bit was easy.  The bit that was difficult to understand was that they next said to solder the back of the pin to the silver and take away the excess.  Well, even though I knew that the silver would firescale, I gave it a go … and yes, it did blacken; even after using extra easy solder and a very soft flame.  Oh well, back to polishing up that piece of silver then.

So, how to attach the crystal to the silver? I tried lots of cold-connection ideas and spent a good while trying to sort out this problem – and I am pleased to say that I know when to give up!  I decided to leave that problem for another day and a trip to the internet!

What I decided to do in the end was to use some lilac CZ gems pre-drilled with a hole at one edge, that I had laying around and hadn’t known what to do with.  I had wanted a deep colour but beggars can’t be choosers and the CZ also gave off such beautiful and subtle reflections, that I decided to favour sparkle over the wow factor that a deeper colour would have given.

I drilled a small hole just under the “v” of each heart and threaded through a very thin wire jump-ring with the CZ attached.  Another small jump-ring joined the heart to the ear-wire, and the earrings were complete.

I think if/when I make these again, I will try using a half-sphere (maybe soldered onto a heart shape) and solder a jump-ring on the back before I polish them up.  The headpin that goes through the crystal and attaches to the silver may have to be done a different way – maybe trying to splay out the end of the headpin like a rivet?  I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Anyway, here are my Day Four earrings:

“One-a-Day” Recycling Challenge – Day Two

Well, today has been busy – what with taking Frodo to the Vets for his antibiotics, and trying (and mostly failing) to keep up with the messy whirlwind that is my daughter having her own creative day (don’t ask – all you need to know is that there is glitter everywhere!).

My creative day has been mostly about making a locket in PMC fine silver and sterling silver (will post about that when I’ve finished it!); but I’ve still managed to find the time to recycle something else from my scrap.

As I didn’t have as much time as yesterday, I decided to make a pair of earrings out of some wire-work that I had originally made into a pendant.  The shape was originally created on a jig in 1mm round sterling wire and  was basically a symmetrical pattern of long loops (I forgot to take a photo before I started chopping it up – sorry!) to which I had added dangles of crystals and silver beads.

Firstly, I removed everything (to be put away and reused later) apart from the main silver wire shape.  This I cut into two identical pieces and the cut ends I hammered flat before curling into new loops.  Any wires that crossed were gently hammered to flatten the design and to make it easier to solder.  I added a jump ring, with about a quarter cut out, to the top for hanging the earring wire from.  Soldering was done with easy paste solder –  I don’t use the syringe tips now, I find it easier to use my solder pick to smear small amounts of the solder just where I need it.

I also have a box for any PMC silver items that have been fired but not used – some are tests; some are things I have made and then taken apart again; and some are total disasters which may not have been what I wanted, but still interesting enough to keep.  Any mistakes that didn’t make it into the box, I deny all knowledge of!  Anyway, from this box I found two hearts with a hammered texture (done with the round end of a small paintbrush) which used to be a pair of earrings on their own.  These were just perfect for the bottom of my earrings.

I added earring wires in a nice simple design (made from scrap wire too), but something was missing.  It needed something to make it that bit more special.  Well, even though I am a sucker for anything sparkly, this needed something a bit more classic.  I have a unit with all my boxes of gems, crystals and findings, and one box is labelled “Mother of Pearl and Pearls”.  Inside this I have beautiful freshwater pearls that are almost round.  I prefer these because I feel that they have more character than the perfect round ones, and they have the most beautiful lustre.  So, I’ve added to each one, a simple drop with a single pearl and a long sterling bead, which just finished off the earrings perfectly.

And here they are:

Simply stylish pearl and silver earrings