Tag Archives: Pearls

“One-a-Day” Recycling Challenge – Day 27: Birthday Present

Wow, Day 27 already?  Where has the time gone?

Talking of time – apologies for the lateness of this post (it’s already half past midnight) but it’s been a busy day with both creating jewellery and going with my little girl to a birthday party at the local play-barn.

Today I wondered that when I talk or write about making things from scrap or recycled materials (even if they are precious metals), do those phrases bring to mind rubbish or even that the end product is sub-standard in some way?  It’s so hard to get beyond those concepts when recycling is part of the discussion; as if something that is reused or recycled has to be flawed in some way or that it’s previous life has to be hidden to value the new item in any way.

I suppose this came to mind more today because I was making a birthday present for a little girl and I wanted to include it in this challenge.  I didn’t need to – I could have made her something from new silver sheet or wire, but I really believe in not wasting precious resources and all my silver is the same (well, either pure or sterling, anyway), even if it has been made into something else before.

The elements that I wanted to re-use were some pure silver PMC3* pieces, which were either testers or were reclaimed from other jewellery I had previously made (and then taken apart again – artist’s prerogative).  Luckily, I had made a tester of the right initial for the little girl’s name and it was sitting, waiting, in my box of misc. fired PMC pieces.  Looking through the box, I also found some stars of different sizes and took two – one big and one small.

I really dislike the phrase “on-trend” – it’s overused everywhere these days.  Well, something that seems on-trend (*winces*) in jewellery at the moment is chain necklaces with a drop of chain at the front with charms hanging from it – very bohemian, but with a chic style that could go well with a little black dress or a smart work suit.  It also seemed a fun and light necklace for a little girl’s jewellery box – something special but not too grown up (children should be children, in my book) that she could grow into.

Checking my box of chains (wow, that doesn’t sound *quite* as it should!), by now you’ll have realised that I keep all my materials grouped by colour or type in compartmented boxes , I found a small section of good quality silver belcher chain and some jump-rings of different sizes (although I don’t know why they were in there, my putting away must have been off that day!).  Looking at all the pieces, a design was sketched out and then off to the bench to put it all together.

I added all the pieces together with the jump-rings, which were then soldered closed carefully so as not to solder the jump-ring to anything else except itself – easier said than done!  A pair of locking tweezers, holding the jump-ring about mid-way, were very helpful in acting as a heat sink and stopping the solder travelling past the join and onto anything else.  A larger jump-ring (in a wider gauge wire) was attached to the top of the chain to act as a bail, and was also soldered closed.

As chain is notoriously hard (and dangerous) to polish with a rotary motor – the chain went into the tumbler, alongside the head-pin which I would use for the last dangle off the chain.  This would work-harden the silver, making it more hard-wearing, as well as giving it a mirror-shine.

After tumbling, I added the last dangle – a single freshwater pearl.  I believe that the pearl is the oldest known gem and was originally seen as the most valuable.  The story I like best about pearls, is that they are formed by angels travelling through the clouds of heaven.  A perfect gem for a little girl, I think.

(Sorry for how the pearl looks in the photo – I don’t seem to be able to take a good photo of pearls – it’s another thing for me still to learn)

Oh, see how time flies when posting?  It’s now 1:20 am and I think I’d better show you the necklace now before I go and collapse after this tiring day.  Well, here it is – and don’t tell me that it doesn’t look perfectly beautiful, even more so because I re-used and recycled.





*Precious Metal Clay is pure silver, which has itself been recycled, in an organic clay binder which can be moulded or worked like clay but when fired at the right temperature, will turn back into pure silver with the binder burning away totally

“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