Saturday, 28 July 2012

Solar Quartz Has a New Home

Thank you everybody who was kind enough to participate in the Solar Quartz adoption.  I very laboriously wrote everybody's names on tiny slips of paper, extra ballots for Facebook or Twitter or blog mentions, folded them all up, put them in a cup and stirred them, shook them and reached in and pulled out.....
Silver Dream Designs!
It would have been so much easier to go to like Pearl does, but it's so much more fun doing things the hard way.  And so much more fun telling about it.
Robbin, if you send me your address, I'll get it right in the mail.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A Little Green and Blue To Cool You Down

We've had a fantastic summer here on the Island with hot sunshine, great beach days.  But the nights cool down enough to make sleeping comfortable and let you recover for the next day.  It's raining today (hallelujah!) but yesterday I had to take a load of ice out to the Malpeque area and actually remembered to take my camera.  These pictures are all taken from my truck.  I am so lucky.  Click if you want to enlarge.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Solar Quartz Giveaway

From jewelry june 2012

From jewelry june 2012

Maybe it's tacky to give away a flawed item but I love this piece and would like to find it a good home.  I was going to keep it for myself but I have so much jewellery and rarely get an opportunity to wear it.  I like long necklaces and they tend to droop in the ice cream when you're scooping. 
For anyone who is reading my blog for the first time, I tapped one of the prongs on the piece once too often and a corner of the quartz broke along a fault line.  No part is missing and I used E6000 glue so it should stand up to anything unless you shower or swim with it on.  In which case you should be ashamed of yourself.
So...hopefully this will serve two purposes.  I want to promote my blog and I want to adopt out my pretty solar quartz.  Nobody would ever know it was glued unless you told them or for some reason they were taking a magnifying glass to your person.  The seam shows up in the enlarged picture but when you go back down to 40 mm, the diameter of the cabochon, it's not noticeable unless you're looking for it. 
Leave a comment, an extra ballot each for FB and twitter, and I'll draw on the 28th, a week from Saturday.  Make sure you put an extra comment in to tell me about the Facebook and Twitter mentions.  And I'll be very embarrassed if I don't get any entries.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Titanium Druzy Pendant

Druzies are rocks with tiny crystals at their heart.  They are beautiful in their own right and I much prefer the natural ones to the crazy never-seen-in-nature colours a lot of sellers are carrying.  Titanium druzy is the exception to my natural colour rule because they are just so darned gorgeous.  The plain druzy is enhanced by Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) in which it is subjected to a gaseous enviroment that contains titanium.  The titanium molecules bond with the mineral, creating a spectacular rainbow of colours.
This is my druzy.

What to do with it was the big problem.  I'm not an experienced metalsmith but running a wire through the little hole at the top just didn't seem right. 

Since I changed my life and moved to PEI, I basically gave up planning and rely mostly on instinct.  Much more relaxing, except when it affects the bank account.  But in this case, planning was required.  I traced the front and back, sketched my idea for capturing it and laid out a proper diagram.  The silver triangle was the base and since I was going to be doing more soldering on top of it, it had to be fused together with medium solder.  I would have used hard, but my torch doesn't seem to be hot enough.  And I could have just fused it, since it was Argentium, but I was afraid that I'd melt it apart when I was doing the next round of soldering.

It wasn't easy.  The prong wires were laid across the triangle, a looped one for the bail and two wires across the triangle for the side prongs.  The first go-round with easy solder, the bail wires, bottom wire and half the top wire soldered well.  One side of the upper bail was sitting too high and didn't fuse.  So...bent the wire down, put another blob of easy solder on it, tried to make sure I heated the triangle first...the wire fused to the triangle but I melted the middle of the bottom prong wires.  It might have been an "oh shit" moment, but for the fact that I had planned to saw the middle of the wires off anyway. 

The bottom picture shows all the rainbow glory of the druzy, the reason why I just had to have it.  I hope I did it justice.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Prong Setting Fail

Jim McIntosh has a great book called Wiresmithing and the combination of wire wrapping and prong setting is a perfect fit for stones that don't need wire covering their faces.  I got a gorgeous solar quartz slab from an eBay seller and thought if I was careful, it was the way to go.  I experimented with a strip of sterling gallery wire as the centre, creating a bail with the top end of it and it's a nice look.
Everything was going great until I decided the bottom prongs were too long and pried them up and shortened them.  When I hammered them down again, the stone broke at a fault line and a piece fell off.  E6000 glue put it back together again but you can see the split in the enlarged picture and I can't sell it with such an obvious patch.  But it's pretty and I guess it's mine.  And I still like the prong setting method.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Experiments in Bails

Two pretty cabs and they deserved something more than the regular single wire-wrapped bail.  The first is a terrible picture of a pretty translucent sepia colored agate with a blue rim.  Plan A was to run two copper and silver wires through, and make a coil at the top.  Four wires didn't fit through the hole in the agate, so Plan B had to work.  I used a hand drill and braided copper and silver wire, made two coils and threaded a silver head pin through the agate in the middle of the coils.
The second agate is called Sedona, which really suits it.  I made a balled silver head pin long enough to do a double loop at the top, wrapped it and spread the loops.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

My dog has a better social life than I do

Corky has a regular play date with Bella the boxer down the street.  Not only does he have a better social life, he is getting a heck of a lot more exercise, since I don't have to walk him as far to tire him out any more.