Monday, June 13, 2016

06.13.16 Back in Time

I know it's a little out of the ordinary to write about a May birthstone halfway through June - but I'm going to do it anyway.

My wonderful sister in law celebrated a big birthday in May - and in the time leading up to that event, I decided I wanted to make her a really special gift.  The thing was...I couldn't write about it in advance (it would have spoiled the surprise)...and then I had so much to write about my two most recent classes in fabrication and argentium, it's taken until now to fit it into the schedule.

May's traditional birthstone is an emerald, and as special as she is, a precious stone was beyond both my financial limits and jewelry making skills.  So, I opted for chrysoprase, a gemstone variety of chalcedony with a beautiful apple green color, which is an alternate birthstone for May.

I had already decided I wanted to create a pendant, and put a book cut out on the reverse, because she is a middle school librarian. I searched the internet for book icons that I could use for the design, and practiced by cutting them out of construction paper, to make sure the end result would make me happy.

Through a wonderful Facebook group called CABS AND SLABS, where lapidary artists share and sell stones, I found a beautiful chrysoprase heart cabochon.  From there - I was off and running.

Learning to create a bezel for a stone with corners in my Fabrication 201 class turned out to be really helpful in making a heart shape.  Even though I had not yet taken Ronda Coryell's classes, I had begun working with argentium silver - and used it for this piece.  I fused down the bezel and twisted wire before sawing the design out of the backplate.

All the work on this pendant was done during open studio at Creative Side, and my instructor, Rita suggested creating a scallop pattern in the bezel.  Using a file then a sanding disk, I was able to shape the bezel before setting the stone. I have to admit, I was pretty proud of myself.

The result was a beautiful pendant that I am pleased to report came as a complete surprise to my sister in law - and she loved it!    She even found the perfect outfit to go with it!

For me, being able to create something special and personal has turned out to be one of the most satisfying aspects of my metalsmithing adventure.

I've got some more special projects on the bench - and I look forward to sharing more stories with you.

Until next time.

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