Making sterling silver headpins without a torch  

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The other day I was making headpins and I ran out of gas for my little torch. Since I'm making headpins on the kitchen counter, next to the counter is the cooking appliance. I thought to myself, let's try it, why not. And it worked beautifully! Below are a few steps with pictures on how to do it with your regular cooking appliance.
Note: this is only applicable if you want to make headpins. It DOES not work if you want to solder :) But for a quick fix, if you ran out of gas and you're in the middle of the gorgeous pair of earrings and don't have any headpins left, it works :)



1. Cut your wire to size and put them in the flux (mine is some yellow borax liquid from the local jewelry supply shop). I prefer the flux to touch the whole pin, not only the part to be in the fire






2. Take the wire and hold it similarly to how I hold it in the picture, relatively vertical if possible, so the wire blobs up nicely in the middle. You see the bottom becomes after 1-2 seconds strongly yellow. Right after this it curls up into a nice round blob.




3. Take it away from the fire and inspect it briefly. If the blob is not in the middle, or is too small, or not to your liking, put it brieflyback in the fire and repeat the procedure. IF all is good, go to step 4.





4. In the meantime have hot (but not boiling) water in a jar of some sort, but make sure that the dish is not metal. I use a bowl that I bought yoghurt in a while ago. Then put a teaspoon full of pickle. The brand I use is in this picture.





5. As you finish with each pin, put it in the jar with the pickle. You see as the pins are in the container, they are all dark, ugly, oxidized. If you hadn't used flux before, it would be much much worse! Make sure that if you are using anything metal
to put the pins in the container, the metal does not touch the pickle. On the other hand, do not throw the pins in the pickle carelessly either, as the pickel is acid, and although it's not a strong one (yeah I tested it with my finger once, just coz...), it's still acid and not very healthy for your skin (or god forbid your eyes).

6. Leave the pins in the container for anything btw. 5-10 minutes (at least in my experience), until the headpins are nice and white. They are all coated with the film that will be removed during polishing stage.




7. Take out the pins from the pot using anything but metal. I have a copper thong just for this particular task.
My way of polishing the pins is with a Lortone tumbler. Use stainless steel shot of different forms, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. The US folks recommend Dawn, but as the rest of the world might not be equiped with Dawn, you can use any regular liquid. I'm using in general Palmolive, as this is the one I have in my household. Before that I used a no-name liquid that you buy in the supermarket in larger quantities, as it's cheaper. It worked just the same.
Leave the pins for about an hour or so in the tumbler, and when ready, take them out, rinse well and enjoy using your new home-made pins :)

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Briolette Yellow Jade necklace and earrings  

The battery of my digital camera is on dying, so I've bought a new one from Ebay. It's not here yet and in the meantime I'm suffering (the camera powers down every few minutes), so it's a toughie right now to take pictures. However I managed to take some shots of the latest jewelry I made during the last week. For some of the pieces I used beads purchased last weekend.



Yellow Jade Necklace and earrings
I made this set last weekend using some gorgeous yellow jade beads and a wonderful 
briolette I bought from 
an Etsy supplier. Gotta love that briolette!


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Gemstones shopping  

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ok so  yesterday I decided to indulge myself, so I went to the local gemshop and bought all these goodies, plus 5 meters of sterling silver chain. It was all quite expensive, but I came out with some nice things from there. Rose quartz, all sorts of agates, a couple of glass briolettes, moonstone, jade, two sizes of amethyst and  lapis (the most expensive of all the batch except the silver chain). I guess I won't be visiting that shop at least until Christmas anymore. I need to get going and make some stuff out of all this, and sell, so the hole in my credit card is smaller :)


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Bracelets, pendants  

Monday, September 15, 2008

I've been busy over the last few days and the weekend making all sorts of jewelry. I took a few of Eni Oken's older tutorials to brushen up some of my techniques, also purchased the wrapping tutorial by Earringsbyerin (available on Etsy) and finally on Saturday I made two bracelets in Sharlyn Miller style with a heavily oxidized look.


Tooth of the Wild

When I purchased this tooth style carnelian bead, I had no idea what I will do with it. However once I went  over some older Eni Oken tutorials, I found my inspiration, and this is the result.
Length is about 6 cm, and it comes on a sterling silver chain, with free shipping, as usual, for all my pieces.


28 Euros








Pink Jade Pendant















This is a gorgeous pink jade briolette focal bead that I purchased on Etsy a while ago. I again used one of Eni's tutorials to wrap it around, embellishing it with a round of sterling silver beads. Pendant is 3x4 cm long.

28 Euros


Carnelian Fish pendant


I love this gorgeous carnelian bead and I think I found a nice way to wrap it, in a net surrounded by sterling silver beads. I call it The Fish :)Dimensions are 6.5x3.5 cm and it's of an average weight.

28 Euros






















Autumn Agate wrapped bracelet

My  inspiration for this and the next bracelets is the work of Stacie Florer at Nomadic Creations. She is working in the style of Sharlyn Miller and Connie Fox, and she inspired me to dab in this work a bit as well. I especially enjoyed oxidizing the pieces :D
Wrapped in various techniques, the center is made in herringbone wrapping using heavier gauge silver wire. 29.5 cm long, it can be slightly extended upon request to up to 1 cm.

29 Euros




Blue wrapped bracelet

Yeah, very creative name, what can I say :p

It has a gorgeous lampwork bead by an Etsy artist, some pink quartz beads and I'm not sure about the turquoise color beads. Could be Czech Glass beads, not sure. Clasp handmade, coiled and hammered. Also 29.5 cm long, and it can be extended about up to a cm or so. Plenty of wrapping techniques embedded, among others the famous herringbone wrapping technique.

29 Euros


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Herringbone wrapped silver pendant  

Saturday, September 6, 2008












I've been told this gorgeous bead is white onyx. Now it's not that much white in it, but instead some really beautiful reddish-orange-white coloring, reminds me of the scales of an interesting sea creature. Anyway I like it. I got inspired by a recent herringbone pendant that Eni Oken showed on her new website, and I've decided to make a herringbone pendant as well. Then I oxidized it for added depth. Funny how the silver oxidization brings out the beautiful colors in the stone.
The pendant is 7x1.5 cm, it's a really nice big one, which allows you to show it off on your neck. And of course, it comes on a sterling silver chain. When purchasing, I need to know in advance if you want the chain also oxidized to match the pendant, else it will come not oxidized.



28 Euros


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Cyprus silver pendant - SOLD  

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A few weeks ago while on holidays, I went with hubby to the beach (in Paphos area, if anyone has been in Cyprus, will know where it is), for the particular reason of collecting rocks and pebbles for tumbling and cabbing. We came home with over 5 kg of rocks. It was really a fun day.

Among all those many rocks, I found this small stone a reddish serpentive (I've only seen yellow, brown and green serpentine until now). It was such a sweet stone, and just the right type, sort of oval, that I decided to cab it. So this is not only cabbed and wrapped by myself, but also collected by us. Talk about 100% handmade and 100% Cyprus item!

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