|Photo credit: argentiumsilver.com|
For jewelry fabrication, argentium silver behaves much more like gold than like sterling. This is what led Ronda, a master goldsmith, to working with the metal. As both a jeweler and a teacher, she began to test - and push - the limits of argentium. When we started our second project - the slumped leaf earrings, she said that Peter Johns told her "you shouldn't be able to do that"...but turns out she, and all of us in class, could in fact heat the metal just beyond its fusing temperature to make it "slump" over a wire frame.
At the end of the first day, we started the project by fusing a wire frame - a leaf shape - to sheet silver. The center wires were left long to create earwires.
On day two, we moved on to the next step, which involved turning the sheet over and heating the metal beyond the fusing point to cause it to "slump" over the wire frame.
...including the one we started that afternoon. Round pendant dangles with wire, granules (tiny bits of silver heated until they form spheres) and a bezel set stone.
After making the rings the right sizes, we used the same technique as before to fuse the wires to a backplate and create the base for what would become (on Day 3) another pair of fabulous earrings with bezel set oval onyx (which are simply sitting on the backplate in the photo - not secured in any way).
Two days - two and a half pairs of earrings...
Until next time.