Making a Silver Replica from a Bone Pendant

Custom requests are when I have the most fun. In this particular case, it was extra fun because I was making my husband’s anniversary gift!

He already owned a Hei Matau pendant made out of bone and wanted it in silver. Since  bone is very fragile, I couldn’t make a mold “the regular way”. Normally I would use silicone rubber and make a mold using a vulcanizer. However, in this case, the vulcanizer’s heat would have pulverized the bone and ruined the mold. For this reason I had to use a special two-part resin mold that cures at room temperature.

Here is how I did it:

1. I applied Super Glue to the bottom of the bone pendant (hei matau) and attached it on a brass sprue.

bone hook on frame

2. Took two aluminum plates and covered the frame. Placed two small clasps on each side to hold the frames tightly.

frames

3. Mixed the resin and the catalyst according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After mixing I placed the compound in the vacuum and removed as many bubbles as I could. Even after vacuuming, the sucker  had TONS of bubbles I couldn’t remove!

two part mold

4. Poured mixture in the frame until it covered the piece.  You can see the bubbles I couldn’t get rid of! Urgh!! I set it aside and waited 16 hours for the mold to cure at room temperature.

silicone poured in frame

5. Removed mold from the aluminum frame and cut it open with an exxacto knife. Took the pendant out and examined the mold. You can see all the bubbles that didn’t come out at the top of the mold. Here’s when I started freaking out.  By some miracle from above, none of the bubbles touched my mold! wohoo! Thank you Jesus!

mold cut open

6. Injected the mold with wax 5 times. Hubby gave me the green light to produce more than just his gift. So 4 of these babies will be up for sale soon! Woot!

wax injection

7. Then I made a wax tree out of the wax models that I was casting in silver. Notice the green anchor? That’s another custom order!

wax sprue

8. Filled the flask with investment, placed it in the steam dewaxer for 1 hour. Once the timer was done I put it in the hot kiln and  waited patiently for the 5hr burnout process to be completed.

steam dewaxer, kiln and spincaster

9. After a loooong burnout process the wax melts and the investment hardens leaving and empty cavity in the shape of the wax models. This cavity is then ready to be filled with melted silver using a centrifugal casting machine. I put the flask in the spincaster and melt the silver. Then when the silver is liquid, I let the casting machine spin and the centrifugal force shoots the melted silver in the flask filling out the cavities. So awesome.

using the spincaster

10. After submerging the scolding hot flask in water, the investment dissolves and the cast silver pieces come out with ease. They are black from oxidation and, to remove it, I put them in an environmentally safe pickling solution until they turn white. Cut out each piece with the jeweler’s saw and keep the scrap silver for future pieces. Nothing is wasted.

silver tree

11.  File, sand and polish the piece. Here I am polishing the pendant.

polishing silver

12. Clean in the piece in the ultrasonic and done! Phew!  Casi que no! Happy anniversary!

finished silver hei matau pendant1

always with love,

Adriana

Featured in an Etsy Treasury!

Yesterday I joined an Etsy team called All Handmade by Me which is only for artists who sell real handmade items and not mass produced ones on Etsy. It is nice because you have to apply to it and they make sure your creations are indeed handmade by you. After you have been approved you will be able to display the handmade badge on your shop; I put mine in my about page. Not everyone gets approved (awesome!) and it separates true handmade shops from the masses which Etsy is not controlling (or caring about) anymore.

Anyways, today I was featured in a treasury by a fellow teammate, and made my day! Feel free to visit the treasury curated by Sheena from Koolnecks Accessories and the team too! My piece is the Blue Magnesite Bead Necklace.

Always With Love,

Adriana

blue treasury

Filigree Earrings with Butterflies and Amethysts

This is the new addition to my Tears of Joy Earring collection! Hope you like it! Depending on the angle, the butterflies also look like daisies! 🙂always with love butterfly earrings

always with love butterfly earrings 2

always with love butterfly earrings 3

sorry for the blur in the pics! 

always with love butterfly earrings 4

polish and clean the earrings

always with love butterfly earrings 5

always with love butterfly earrings 6

Add them to your earrings and you’re done!

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Always With Love,

Adriana

 

Men’s Cut Out Ring

End of may means one thing for me. Gotta get ready and make father’s day items!

In honor of all cool jewelry wearing dads, I made a cut-out ring that looks like two ring bands in one. I love the jeweler’s saw and instead of making two rings and soldering them together I cut them. Let me show you.

1. Gather your tools.

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some tools used

•Jeweler’s Saw •Precision Square •220 & 400 Sandpaper Stick •Automatic Hole Puncher •Flat hand file • Scribe •Inside ring sanding mandrel • Drill bit •3m Sanding Wheels •Divider •Digital Caliper

2.  To make a size 11 men’s ring cut a 16 gauge sterling sheet 64.6mm X 11mm with the saw. File the sides flat, checking for angles and evenness with the square. Open the divider to 3.68mm and trace a line on all 4 sides. Find the center and trace two perpendicular lines 8mm wide. Drill holes in the center lines. I color the metal with a Sharpie marker to remind me where not to cut.

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measure, scribe and drill

3. Once cut, file and sand the metal. It should look like this:

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after cutting and sanding

4. Before bending the ring, we need to anneal it with the torch to make the metal soft. Wide rings can be hard to shape if you skip this step, not to mention you may crack the metal. Quench, pickle, rinse, and dry.

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anneal your metal

5. Bend the ring and make sure the ends meet without gaps. Ring is ready to flux, solder, quench, pickle, rinse, and dry.

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bend and join ends for soldering. pretty comes later.

6. Place ring in the ring mandrel and with a rawhide hammer, give it its beautiful round shape. File, sand polish… and don’t forget the stamp!

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after shaping, sanding, and polishing.

handmade jewelry by always with love

handmade jewelry by always with love

And done.

Open butterfly ring with turquoise resin

Open rings are very popular right now, so I decided to make one the AWL way. I made this one out of Sterling Silver (925) and blue turquoise resin. The resin I use is called Colores and I purchased it from my favorite jewelry supplier: Riogrande.

First I made the wings and ring band out of 16 gauge silver sheet. I thought I was going to keep it simple, but my husband suggested I do something else to the design… so I did

I soldered 18 gauge wire to the wings and made silver granules to embellish it. This is what the pieces looked like individually.

always with love butterfly before soldering

I cut the shank open with the saw and filed the edges round. Before soldering I stamped the piece with my” AWL” makers mark and the “sterling” quality mark.  The following is not the best picture, but you get the idea.

photo 2 (2)

Polish the piece (no picture for that step, sorry!) and then apply the resin. My husband loves this part so I let him do it. We used the blue Colores resin and mixed according to the instructions in the bottle.  He used a syringe to ensure a perfect fill. He did great!

hubby applying resin to jewelry

hubby applying resin to jewelry

Allow a few hours to dry and its ready!

Always With Love Butterfly Ring

Always With Love Open Butterfly Ring