Friday, 28 June 2013

Pretty Pair of Peridots

June 28 - New Earrings

For months flooring, painting and gardening ran my life. Jewelry was on a back burner but I really wanted to get some new items in my etsy shop before Christmas in July promotions start. The kyanite earrings went up a couple of days ago. On Thursday, looking through my stash of gem stones, I found a pair of bright green, square-cut peridots.

Peridot is the birthstone for August, so this seemed to be a good time to add a second pair of peridot earring to DixSterling's inventory. Since the first pair are long dangles, I wanted studs this time.

I've been doodling random shapes recently and this asymmetrical, pierced oval appealed to me as the basis for the earrings. The first photo shows the backing, prong setting and ear post assembled. The silver looks frosty white from the pickle bath I use to remove oxides that form when you solder silver.

The second picture shows the earrings after a preliminary polishing of the settings. The stones are sitting beside the earrings.


Love the bright green in these stones. The intensity of color in peridots depends upon the amount of iron content in the silicate. 

I like peridot on silver. Gold seems to my eye to be too close to the color of the stones and takes away from their impact.


The final photo shows the finished earrings with their butterfly backings.

Before taking them to my etsy photo set-up, I gave them a final polishing, then dropped them on the floor. That might sound crazy but it's a tip I picked up years ago — maybe from Jewelry Artist Magazine. The theory is, you make something and sell it. Sooner or later, the client will drop the item on the floor. Better to do it first and be sure it will withstand the shock ;-)

I did the drop and the stones stayed in the settings.

They are ready for their closeup now.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Kyanite studs

What is kyanite, you ask? These delightful stones caught my eye many months ago. While we were moving and rennovating, they slept in my little box of stones to be set "one day". Yesterday was it ;-)

Kyanite is a blue silicate that forms in metamorphic rocks (yeah, I googled that!). It has a number of industrial uses as an abrasive and in making porcelain.


Kyanite occurs in many places but most of the high quality deposits, suitable for jewelry, are found in Switzerland and Africa.

I really love the translucent, varied blues in these oval cabs.


Below, on my charcol block, are the oval backs about to have the ear posts soldered on. The bezels (seen on the stones in center pix) are already in place. The stone on left shows the back. Quite a contrast with the polished face!

Last shot: on a sandbag, the earrings have just had the bezels burnished onto the stones. I also burnished the edges of the back plates. Maybe not essential, but I think it looks classy!


Friday, 21 June 2013

Earring Update

I weighed the brass and copper dangle elements and felt they were too heavy. Gave up on the brass diamond post as a mount and went with gold-filled shepherd hooks instead. Brought them down to 2.8 grams each. Heavy enough, I think.





Still love the colors in these.  




Also like the way they swing.

Monday, 17 June 2013

June 17: Progress on Two Fronts

All that work in the garden is paying off.

This is today's harvest. Will add them to some store-bought lettuce and green onions to make our lunch.

Our lettuce will be ready to start harvesting in a few more days and I think I can pull a few carrots next week. The green onions are coming along but will need a couple of weeks more, I think.

Some of the lettuce has been sampled by the resident rabbits but they seem willing to share! Happily, the numerous squirrels do not seem to fancy veggies and the cornmeal treatment seemed to get rid of most of the slug problem. I'm please about that. It's one thing to see part of your crop taken but it's just nasty to have it taken by something so darned yucky!

I did get back to my bench a few days ago and roughed up the next pair of copper earrings. The patinated copper and bright brass triangles will swing freely below the brass diamonds. They should end up fun to wear.

I'm trying to create silver rivets to hook all that up. Also have to solder posts to the back of the diamond shapes so these can be worn. The weather is supposed to turn cool and showery for a few days so I will get back to work on these. High time I added something new to https://www.etsy.com/shop/DixSterling

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Adjusted the Triangle Dangles - June 8

I finished the second pair of copper earrings but I thought they felt too heavy. I weighed them. Yup, too heavy.

Today is grey and chilly here, so I am spared from the garden for a few hours. Perfect time to put those earrings on a diet! Pretty easy: I trimmed a slice off the dangles. The shape is a bit less dramatic but earrings no one could wear offer the wrong kind of drama: "Ouch. These are hurting my ears!"

Of course, since matter cannot be created or destroyed (Conservation of Mass?), I will use the trimmed pieces to create something new.

I repolished the triangle dangles and set up the camera to photograph them for the esty site. As etsy traffic can be slow on weekends, I will wait until Monday late afternoon to list them.

This photo shows the front (on right) and back of the final version. They now weigh about 5 grams each. Still hefty but wearable.

I think I will make up one or two more copper items but then get back to silver for a bit. I have some very lovely garnets a friend brought me from India. I really want to tube set those in silver. If the garden can manage on its own for a few hours, I'll play with some design ideas.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Make way for June (What, already?)

Now I remember what I never liked about gardens. It's the gardening!

There are days when I wonder why I am not making much jewelry any more. I started on this pair of copper earrings ages ago. All the parts are there. Just need to solder on the posts and assemble the linked parts.

So, what is holding me up? Lack of interest? Shortage of solder? Missing tool? Nope. None of the above. More a case of distractions. The great weather is one problem. When you live in a place famed for its rain, sunshine is really hard to resist. But I'm sure the sun shone last June, too. I remember taking a book up to our roof deck and parking myself in a zero gravity chair to read and relax.

Oh, yeah, the roof deck. The lack of garden chores. Two hanging baskets. Four roof-top pots of geraniums and lobelia. Also, placed against a sun-catching wall, three pots of tomatoes. Clever husband had created an irrigation system that required little effort. Weeds were not a problem as each year's plants went into a new load of potting soil. Pests? Guess what? Plant-eating critters do not climb to rooftops of water-borne homes. If you hate yard work, buy a floating home.

June 2013 is a bit different. Our new home came with this 9 X 10 raised vegetable garden. It had been neglected for years so took a ton of digging to be worth planting. Finally put in radishes, three kinds of lettuce, a couple of zucchini plants and five tomato plants. When things sprouted, the real work began. Digging weeds two - three days per week. Finding ways to stop slugs from devouring the radishes, lettuce and zucchini. Thank God they do not fancy tomatoes. Crows, however, delight in pruning them. They do not seem to eat the leaves. They just pluck and dump! Sure cuts into creative time (and energy). A smart artisan would have levelled the whole thing, just put three pots of tomatoes on the patio and bought a new zero gravity chair.