Saturday, April 21, 2012


The other day while washing up I broke this willow bowl. I was going to put it in the pile of ceramics I have for the odd mosaic. Not that I mosaic much anymore, but when I do (one day), I certainly will have a stockpile to work with. Instead I thought maybe I'd make my beautiful Mama a neckpiece (the rest of the bowl will go into the stockpile). 

So, today I made the neckpiece and decided to document the steps taken to make it. All photos were taken on my iPhone, so might not be the best quality, but you will get the idea. 

Firstly I cut a few pieces from the bowl and decided on this one (above). Then I used some paper and wrapped it around the shard to gauge approximately how much metal I would need for the bezel (a bezel is a type of setting). The piece of metal below is slightly larger and did just fine. 

Then I annealed the piece of silver to make it soft enough to bend around the ceramic shard. Can I tell you, holding a torch and trying to take a photo at the same time is a little tricky, hence there aren't any photos of me soldering the pieces. 

A less technical definition of annealing is: when you hammer or work metal the molecules in the metal get closer and closer together, making the metal harder and harder. When you heat the metal, it kind of relaxes the metal making the molecules further apart, softer and easier to work with.  

Then I wrapped the metal around the piece and cut it with a jewellers saw so that the join was a perfect match (picture below) for soldering. 

I fluxed the join to get it ready for soldering. Flux is used to keep the work clean and stop metal from oxidising during soldering. A good clean join is needed for the solder to flow. When I finished soldering it I popped it into some acid to clean off all the flux. 

I then grabbed some scrap metal and fluxed the bezel and the base of the scrap metal, carefully placed solder in-between the two pieces and soldered them together. Put it back into the pickle (acid) and it came out looking like the picture below. 

Then I cut around the base of the piece with my trusty jewellers saw. I cut my first piece of metal with this saw frame over 15 years ago and I still use it today (I love good design and quality workmanship).  

Once I cut all the way around the piece I filed it and sanded it clean (above). I then made a loop for the top of the pendant and soldered that on (below). 

A dodgy picture of me polishing. I couldn't REALLY polish and take a photo, unless of course I wanted to injure myself, so a mock polish shot had to do. 

So, here is the polished piece (above). Now it was ready for me to set the ceramic shard. A bit of pushing and prodding, a final polish and.....

 The finished piece photographed on my eucalypt stump. 


  1. Very insightfully, Sylvia!

    Now I have a much better idea of the development / origination process of one of your gems!

    It's always such a difficult decision for me to attend one of your jewellery course... ;-)
    Now I've an idea what to do when breaking my car some days... ;-))


  2. Hey Uwe!

    Thanks, I thought it would be fun to show how to make something. Might do a bit more of the same in the future.

    My courses are totally worth coming all the way from the other side of the earth to attend (ha ha). Might see you one day..

    I can see a great bracelet made from a bumper bar of a car ;-)

    Take care Uwe

    All the best to you and your family