Reticulation is a texturing which occurs when silver is heated almost to melting point. The surface of the silver shimmers and moves. It’s a fine balance between a molten surface and an unrecognisable lump! The process is very satisfying when you get it right. I created this pendant (and also the base of this ring) at the school I attended, starting with a flat straight rectangle of silver. I added the silver spheres and some stippling, with a chenier bail, et voila! 🙂
I made this piece when I was studying at the Goldsmith’s School under the supervision of my teachers. I found this black onyx cabochon at the annual Gem Show here in Brisbane, and designed this pendant to suit it.
The spirally curlicues are known as ‘shnoerkels’ (having two German teachers had its interesting and educational side!) and the piece was set in dental plaster to solder.
As I was expecting any minute at the time, my kind teacher Sue was worried that I wouldn’t get back to class to do it, so she set the stone for me! 🙂
With help from one of my goldsmithing teachers, I created this hair stick not long after I started at the Goldsmith’s school.
It has become my favourite piece to use to represent The Silver Forge brand – in part because of the simplicity of the plain silver, and in part because of the spiral, which reflects in my logo. I am drawn in a huge way to spirals. Fibonacci sequence = fabulous – but instead of the golden ratio, I’m calling it the silver ratio!
I based the design on a similar hairstick that I found whilst touring in China, so it has special meaning to me. I love my hair stick!
On a trip through China with my family in 2008, as part of a tour of Shanghai we visted the Jin Mao Tower (at the time the sixth tallest building in the world). Our tower entry tickets rather bizarrely entitled us to a free pearl each at the top of the tower (don’t ask, I still don’t know!), so we wandered past many vendors of tourist tat, and found a counter where a girl whisked out some big flat oysters, popped them open with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver, and offered us a choice of pearls!
We each chose one, and I held onto them for some time, then decided to set them in a ring so that I could enjoy them.
The top of the ring is reticulated – a method that involves heating a sheet of silver to almost melting point, so the surface becomes textured. Fun stuff!
As another addition to my family was on the way at the time, my very kind teacher Sue, gave me a little seed pearl to set in the top of the ring along with the other three. I treasure this ring, and still wear it today!
Some years ago, my gorgeous husband came home from a work trip to Hong Kong with this beautiful piece of jade for me. Yes, I love him!
I created an elaborate design for the stone, and built that during my goldsmithing classes. Part of the component creation included making some chenier – which is hollow tubing, to go through the middle of the jade, which was cut in a donut shape. That was fun!
At the end of the day decided I didn’t like what I had made, so removed a good portion of the framework and left a simpler way to wear the jade. Sometimes, you have to modify your original idea to make the piece work!
At The Goldsmith’s School where I did my training, after learning to set a stone, I was taught how to create a hollow ball or sphere.
There is some danger involved – once you have cut out two circles, domed them to be exactly half of the diameter that you require, you solder the two halves together, and because there is a hollow space in the middle of the ball that you are closing, the risk is that the ball explodes as you are soldering it. This hasn’t happened to me, but I always wear my protective glasses just in case!
This ring was not born from my own idea, as I borrowed the concept from a beautiful piece I bought years ago from a jeweller who had a stand at the Brunswick Street Markets – I have seen this notion replicated in many places however, and it is a simple smithing concept. I try not to look at other people’s work these days, as I would hate to accidentally plagiarise someone’s original creation! There is nothing new under the sun they say, but I like ideas to grow organically inside my own imagination. And I do have plenty of them!
Continuing my flashbacks to the first pieces I ever made, the next step I took at The Goldsmith’s School was to learn to set a stone. A round or oval shaped cabochon is the simplest to set (no corners to contend with!) and I chose one of my favourites, peridot.
I have written about the stone setting process previously here and here – and as you can probably tell, it is one of my favourite ways to create!
I’ve gotten faster and better at setting stones of course, but these earrings have stood the test of time – although I would design the ear hooks differently another time! I still love peridot, too – it and garnet are some of the few gemstones that are not treated in any way.
At the Goldsmith’s School I studied at, the second piece that all students created was a pendant. We were asked to come up with a couple of designs, bearing in mind that we would have to cut the pieces out of sheet metal with a jeweller’s saw. Good to see I’ve had the spiral theme going for a long time!
After cutting out the circle for the base layer of the pendant, I stippled it by hammering with a stippling tool (a steel rod with a design carved into one end) all over the metal. Then I cut out the top layer, and soldered it and a a simple cup hook bail on (with some assistance from the teachers!)
I was always very taken with how, out of a room full of people given the same basic brief, so many very different pieces come to life. I’m still pretty fond of this piece, although I don’t wear it very often – perhaps I should get it out!
When I started attending the Goldsmith’s School in Brisbane back in 2005, the first piece that everyone made was a plain half round ring. This is known in the trade as a ‘wedder’ (as it is a basic wedding ring.) The ‘half round’ refers to the profile of the ring.
It is possible to use a rolling mill and roll wire to be half round, which is the easy way to make one of these rings; we started with a thicker, flat piece of metal, shaped it into a ring, then filed and emeried until it was half round – it’s a good way to learn those basic techniques, and also to get an understanding of the complexities of silversmithing.
I made this ring to give to my son at the time – I don’t think it would even fit onto his pinkie finger these days!
I am taking a short break! Feel free to continue shopping, and your purchases will be mailed out to you on 8 January 2018. Happy holidays, and thanks for visiting! Dismiss