Blog – Little Gem at Work

Diamonds are a jewellers best friend – July 2019

Recently I was approached by a client who was wondering if she could get some of her old jewellery re-vamped as she no longer wore it . This always interests me, so ” Yes, sure, bring it along and we can see what we can do”. Ohh! When it turned up we had a bit of old 9 carat, yellow and 9 carat white gold and the best thing of all 7 in total sparkling diamonds. So you can see why this interests me. Every silversmith loves to work with diamonds. Whilst these on there own were small and a bit grubby, we worked together to come up with a new ring that really suited my Rock Chick Customer. (To be perfectly honest I was hoping she wouldn’t like the end result and agree to sell it to me as I’m a bit of an old Rock Chick myself) This didn’t transpire though as she absolutely loves the end result and its not been off her finger since I handed the finished article over to her. And next week I’m catching up with her over lunch just so I can drool over her new ring!

Clients old pieces of jewellery ready to turn into a new masterpiece

Work in progress with final fitting before setting the diamonds

Friends are Treasures – June 2019

You may not know this but I’ve been lucky enough to have lived in a number of different countries due to my husbands work and whilst life as a travelling spouse with a small family has been extremely challenging at times, it’s been as equally rewarding. The biggest and most valued side of living and working abroad is the people you meet and the life long friends you make.

Whilst spending 3 years in Beijing I joined a jewellery making and beading class and met lots of lovely new friends. That was some 10 years ago & I’m still in touch with almost all of these lovely ladies even today thanks to Facebook One of them being the lady who this month commissioned me to make a pair of cufflinks for her new Godson as a christening gift incorporating his initials and his birthstone which is Tanzanite. As well as having an engraved plaque for the inside of the box commemorating his christening date. Of coarse it was an honour to do this although it will be many years before these cufflinks will be worn by him they will indeed hopefully be treasured as much as I treasure the friends I’ve made though my travelling life.

Repoussé and Chasing – Feb 2018

Currently I am working on a repoussé and chasing piece. A very old technique of shaping metal to form designs.

The metal is set into a melted wax like material called Pitch. When it is cooled it is solid so you can start to hammer the metal with tools to begin the shaping process. The metal is repeatedly flipped over and worked from the back to form raises (the repoussé part) and then from the front to form indents (the chasing part). Each time you have to melt the Pitch to remove the metal, then turn it over and set it in again making it a very lengthy and mucky process but its fun to see the shapes appearing over time.

Ripples in the Sand pendant is set with lustrous soft grey pearls and clear glass crystals

Here my very first piece of repoussé. An oxidised silver Ammonite brooch with a yellow citrine set in it
The Reverse side
With brooch fittings attached

Ready to String it using traditional pearl stringing techniques I learnt in Beijing

Lost Wax Craving – Oct 2018

Lost Wax Carving is the carving of a hard wax using different shaped tools to scrape away to reveal a form. A bit like stone sculpture only on a such smaller scale. This is my first attempt at this process but I rather like this cute little snuggled up fox.

Now that I have got the desired shape it will sent it off to be cast in silver. The original wax shape melts away so you can only make one from each carving. This is precisely why it is called Lost Wax Carving.

It is a very therapeutic process with lots and lots of patience required.

I can’t wait to see what comes back from the Casting company.

Gold Sovereigns

Sometime ago I was asked to design piece of jewellery using a female clients sentimental old gold sovereigns. Oh Gosh. The pressure! And it was to mark a special celebration for her. What with gold prices being strong each sovereign is worth a tidy packet. I Just can’t get this wrong!

Sovereign jewellery really isn’t my thing and to design a piece that is contemporary enough for a modern lady to wear. Eeek! I was having nightmares of clumpy looking knuckle dusters so popular way back in the 70’s. Oh what can I come up with?

After much deliberation and head scratching from me we finally decided with the client on a long necklace with a Garnet tassel and even more gold.

Thankfully she loved it and I was secretly quite envious of her new treasure. I very nearly wished I had some sovereign jewellery of my own.

Stones the ideal Idea Generator

Most ideas are generated from a single stone and when I saw this lovely Bumble Bee Jasper for sale I just couldn’t resist it.

Sunrises or Tuscan hills filled with sunflowers? I guess it depends on which way you hold it.

I don’t make many brooches but this looks stunning on a black sweeter but if brooches are not your thing I added fittings so it can also be worn as a pendant.

I’m always on the look out for eye catching gems

Band of Gold – Brought out of retirement

This little ring has quite a lovely story and I was thrilled to help out it’s owner. You see, she was married nearly 50 years ago. In-fact her 50th wedding anniversary was coming up but 35 years previously she had an accident which resulted in a hand injury. Her wedding ring had to be removed and unfortunately never made it back onto her finger.

She had meant to get the ring resized but had never got around to it. So with her Golden Anniversary just around the corner she felt it was about time.

I cut the ring and had to insert a whole 1cm of new gold into the band to make it the correct size to fit over the knuckle. Then a whole lot of filing, shaping and buffing to ensure the curve and shape blended in without any visible marks.

As good as new
Old ring with 1cm of gold added

I was honoured to be asked to do this for her and she had a lovely Golden Wedding Anniversary wearing her resized ring.