Tag Archives: story


Do you know how a top jewellery designer spends their day? Well, I don’t know either, but here’s what I get up to on my typical jewellery making day (this being a Friday) … 7:30am – woken up by Siamese … Continue reading


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.2

If you’ve read part one of this post (hopefully!), you’ll know that I’m currently playing The Night Circus – an on-line story and card based game by Failbetter Games based upon the book of the same name by Erin Morgenstern.  (Please go and have a look at both the game and book – you won’t be disappointed!)

Well, one of the designs in the game is a key, and having read somewhere that Erin likes keys (and she has cats, so that’s a plus in my book!), I decided to make her a key pendant based upon the design in the game.

Key to The Night Circus

Firstly, I sketched out the key from the original illustration (see above.  ©Failbetter Games) and then scaled it down to the finished size I was aiming for.  The silver wires (mostly 0.8mm thick) were shaped, hammered and soldered together.  The design changed as I worked.  For example, the tooth of the key I made out of a single piece of wire and it looked better with  a more simple pattern.

The bail was made by looping wire as if to make jump-rings but cutting off a section of three loops.  The ends were sanded smooth and then the bail was threaded onto the top loop of the key and soldered so it became one ring with a ridged pattern which made for a more interesting bail than just a simple jump-ring.  At this point I placed the key into the pickle pot to get rid of any fire-stain or oxidisation.

The whole key was then filed and sanded smooth ready to go into the tumbler.  At this point, I decided that it still needed a little something extra and so added a claw setting in the middle so I could then add a sparkly gem later.  I used a claw setting for PMC but clipped off the excess silver at the bottom (which would have been sunk into the PMC if I was using it) and sanded it smooth before soldering it.  Then it was back to the pickle-pot and another quick sand/polish afterwards before it was ready for the tumbler.

Once out of the tumbler, I gave the key a last polish with cloth and a cream polish (which has some polishing rouge already in it).  The last elements to be added were the purple cz gem and the purple bow (which isn’t glued or anything so can be removed if so wanted), and so it is now complete.  Hopefully, Erin likes it and will let me know where I can post it to.

The dimensions of the finished piece are: 6cm/2½” long and 3cm/1⅛” wide.
100% Sterling Silver (marked .925)

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!


I’ve always been a part-time, secret writer of tiny stories and poems – most of which I wouldn’t show even if you got me drunk to giggling point.  If you have read the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman then … Continue reading