Tag Archives: repousse

“One-a-Day” Recycling Challenge – Day 22: A Present from the Goblin King

I’ve had that David Bowie song from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, in my head all day; you know, the one from the Ballroom scene.  I’ve loved that film since I first saw it and I’ve always wished I looked like Jennifer Connelly’s character when she dances with the Goblin King.  I can’t turn back time to my twenties, so second best is to have the jewellery as it’s so beautiful and perfectly fairytale – and that is what I decided to make today.

I thought I would just make the earrings today, as I only had some of the afternoon and a bit of the evening to sit at my jewellery bench.  First of all, I decided to get the blu-ray out and have a look at the Ballroom scene in Hi-def (it was really hard not to just sit there and watch the whole film, but I found some self-restraint somewhere and limited myself to the one scene!).  I sketched out the general design of the earrings and thought about how I was going to go about this.  I would have thought that the original earrings were cast and then had diamanté set into the metal.  This wasn’t an option for me today and so I decided to get my silver sheet out and make the basic elements with this.

As it is a recycling challenge as well as making “one-a-day”, I decided to use as much off-cuts and scrap as I could; but I still had to use a new piece of 0.4mm silver sheet because the main piece to each earring was so big to be made from scrap (I can’t imagine ever having “scrap” silver that big!)

To give the earrings movement, I split the design up into three (for each earring) silver shapes and would attach these to each other with tiny jump-rings.  To cut out two identical sets, after I had drawn my designs on the silver, I taped them together with clear tape (I usually use masking tape but clear tape stopped the design getting smudged as I worked and kept the two layers of silver together nicely) and then set about sawing the pieces out with my hand saw.

Two jump rings (cut in half) were soldered to each side of the biggest piece (so that the dangles would hang properly) and the earring posts were sweat-soldered onto the back of the top piece; after which they had a turn in the pickle pot.

Holes were drilled by hand and edges filed smooth before I gave everything a hammered finish (so that light would bounce off the silver and give the impression of lots of tiny gems).  Two of the pieces (for each earring) had a shape like a lily and I decided to define them (so as they were more like the original) by hammering the lines (repoussé technique) so they would be seen better and that the pieces would have some shape. All the silver pieces were then attached with the jump-rings.

I decided to use Swarovski® Aurora Borealis crystals (ABx2) in 4mm for the sparkle and some discontinued Swarovski® crystal drops in the same finish for the end of the dangles (I know they’re not exactly like the original but I didn’t want to buy anything new for this – just use elements that I already had).

Here are the finished earrings (another difficult photo – but my fault for finishing after midnight, I suppose), I hope you like them.

My version of Jennifer Connelly's earrings from Jim Henson's Labyrinth


As I’ve said before, I’ve been playing an on-line card and story based game called “ The Night Circus ” based upon a book of the same name by Erin Morgenstern.  I’ve finished the book now, and I can’t recommend it enough. … Continue reading

Inspiration Found at The Night Circus pt. 1

For quite a while I’ve been playing an on-line card and story based game called Echo Bazaar by Failbetter Games.  I’ll probably do another, more detailed post about Echo Bazaar later – because that also is an inspiration – but for now, I want to show you my latest efforts that have been inspired by their latest efforts “ The Night Circus ” based upon a book of the same name by Erin Morgenstern.

The amazing illustrations are so beautiful and one or two gave me ideas for delicate and ethereal jewellery.  

The first design is the branch with a droplet of water falling from a leaf. To the left is the original design (© Failbetter Games) and on the right is my interpretation:

The leaves were rough cut from textured sheet silver by handsaw and then filed to shape by hand.  The large leaves were shaped by repoussé.

I don’t have a pitch bowl and special tools to do the repoussé with.  I used a block of wood in my vice (with the end grain uppermost) instead and I shaped a piece of memory wire (with pliers that I don’t use for silver work – remember, no cross-contamination!) for line down the middle of the leaf.  Then I placed the leaf shape on the wood with the wire (memory wire because it was the hardest wire I had) on top.  I then improvised with a small metal cylinder with flat ends (actually one of my bits for my rotary tool) instead of a lining punch, and hammered the wire into the silver leaf.  This gave the leaf it’s lifelike shape and curves as well as defining the central line.  I also drilled by hand the tiniest hole possible in the end of the large leaves so I could add a gem (like the drop of water on the illustration) later.

I was so worried about melting the delicate wires (0.8mm) but all my soldering practice paid off and everything worked first-time; nothing melted, or dropped off when quenched.  Hooray!

After polishing and tumbling, I added the cubic zirconia gems and made the ear-wires.  The finished earrings are extremely light and very sparkly.  Perfect for any female réveur at the Night Circus – see you there!