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Thoughts on Goldsmithing

There are cheap sapphires and spinels of poor quality available out of India. They are murky and have no doubt been heated or whatever they do to enhance the colour. It is precisely the bright colour and the hardness of the stones that makes them good for a ring – providing a dab of pigment on the hand.

I bought some and made these rings, which can be worn together or singly.

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Rings: silver and spinel; silver and sapphire.

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In my last post I put up pictures of some sculptural pendants in the form of buildings, that I had carved in wax. Harald cast them yesterday and they came out perfect. I have finished them, leaving a host of imperfections. I am very pleased with them.

Here they are. I photographed them in golden morning light, which gave the silver the wrong colour – so I have rendered them in B&W. There’s a lot of detail. Click to enlarge.

I had this idea of making some pendants which showed the fronts of imagined buildings. I opted for wax. It would give me the imperfect, hand made textures that I want.

I have carved these waxes and sprued them up. (Sprues are the channels through which the metal will flow when it’s cast.)

These are cell-phone snaps of the things I made. If you click on them, you will see more detail. Each has tiny figures. The pendants are all on the same scale. The smaller ones are about 20mm x 50mm.

 

Now comes the moment of anxiety when I hand them over to Harald for casting. Will all the parts fill? Will there be porosities, or other problems? Harald is usually pretty good, but shit happens. We’ll do it after Easter and I’ll post pics.

 

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I got this gorgeous amethyst and wanted to set it into a ring. The trouble was the size and depth of the stone. I decided to carve a pair of hands gripping the girdle of the stone in their fingertips. This would allow the deep basket shape that I needed. The stone is so deep that it only just misses the finger.

First I carved a blank from some green carving wax – basically a piece of wax with a hole for the finger and a space to hold the stone.

Onto that I imagined, and drew, with a lot of checking my own crossed hands, the hands that would hold the stone, then removed whatever was not fingers. Here are some stages of the process.

After a bit of sharpening up, the wax was sent to Harald for casting.Then came filing, polishing and engraving.

Here are some pics of the final item. Click on them to enlarge.

 

 

Another gallery of various things that will be on show. Enjoy browsing through them.

Here’s a gallery of various things that will be on my 10 December show. There’s really no way to fully appreciate jewellery without touching it, but I hope that these pictures can give you some idea of the pieces.

If you want to be on my invitation list, please contact me via the About page.