My lovely sister had a birthday recently, and I thought she might need a bit of understated bling – so I made her a pair of melanite garnet stud earrings.Love my sister!
My lovely sister had a birthday recently, and I thought she might need a bit of understated bling – so I made her a pair of melanite garnet stud earrings.Love my sister!
To go with the ring from my previous post, my gorgeous client Natasha had me make her a pair of earrings using green gemstones.
The stones are jade and bloodstone (also known as heliotrope.) Fantastic!
My lovely client Natasha found a picture of an amazing antique ring, and got me to make her a similar style using a selection of green gemstones.
The stones are serpentine, prehnite, chrysoprase, peridot and aventurine.
It looks amazing worn on the first finger – the stones wrap around and are all visible to be admired! Thanks, as always, to Natasha for her friendship and artistic vision.
My lovely client Rosie chose this beautiful stone from my gemstone collection.
It’s native silver in cobaltite. I’d never seen it before I came across this cab, but it is so beautiful!
I played around with some ideas, but in the end we decided the simple framed look was the best. It usually is!
My gorgeous client Rosie asked if I could make her a lapis lazuli ring. We discussed her vision, and I came up with a design she liked.
I most often just let the stone do the talking, but the addition of some tiny organic pieces of gold which follow the lines of the gold flecks in the lapis just seemed to fit!
Photography is not my forte, and these pictures don’t really do the ring justice. I’m sure you get the general idea though!
My lovely and ever stylish client Rosie chose these two titanium coated drusy stones to be made into rings to add to her collection of Silver Forge pieces. Fabulous!
For her birthday in December, I made my mum these art nouveau inspired earrings set with malachite, one of her favourite stones.
I love my mum! xxx
Legend has it that Valentine was a third century Roman priest who was caught marrying Christian couples. He was arrested and imprisoned because assisting Christians was a crime at the time. The Emperor Claudius took a liking to his prisoner, until Valentine tried to convert him to Christianity whereupon the priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stones, and when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded and he was later martyred for his troubles. Poor old St Valentine!
It wasn’t until the fourteenth century that Valentine’s Day as we know it was born. The famous poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote ‘The Parliament of Fowls’, which included the popular notion that birds paired off to mate on 14 February each year; it also made reference to some Valentine’s Day traditions such as sending anonymous love letters and exchanging token gifts with your lover.
As well as love, young people and happy marriages, Valentine is also feted as the patron saint of beekeeping and epilepsy. So Happy Valentine’s Day!
My gorgeous client Charmaine has a huge malachite ring I made for her, and she wanted some earrings to match. These malachite gemstones are in my gemstone collection, so I created this pair of earrings to give her.
This was the first time I attempted this particular style of bezel setting, and I’m pretty pleased with the way they turned out!
This cuff bracelet was a one-off remodelling job I did for a lovely client using an old cuff which was precious to her but unfortunately broken. It’s a good reminder to be careful when putting on your cuff bangles not to squeeze or stretch them and over-stress the metal!
The existing stones were (probably) turquoise, and the addition of chrysocolla adds interest and texture to the piece.
It was great working with Juliet, and we discovered quite a few uncanny coincidences that made the experience even more special! Thanks!
I created these custom sterling silver Peugeot cufflinks for a client for her husband.
I sawed the lion rampant by hand with my jeweller’s saw – I cherish my tools!
The Condamine Campdraft Assocation commissioned me to create a custom Condamine bell pendant for their Ladies Draft winner. These bells were traditionally made out of old worn-out sawblades and were worn by cattle. You can read a little more more about them here.
Yes, it even has a clapper!
A client came to me with two old bracelets made from old threepenny bits. They ranged in date from 1897 to 1940. The bracelets had seen better days, and my client asked if I could take two of the 1917 coins off and create cuff links as a gift for her husband.
It was slightly daunting to be working with 100 year old coins, but the cuff links turned out ok!
Lovely Laura recently commissioned me to create a matching ring and earrings for her friend as a wedding gift.
The stone in the ring is malachite, and the earrings are azurite/malachite.
Malachite is just such a wonderful stone – what an amazing natural colour!
Lots of people like to know the process behind the creations I produce, and I sometimes forget – just because I know how I do this, doesn’t mean everyone does! These lovely dangly gemstone earrings were a wedding gift from my friend and client Natasha to a dear friend of hers.
Natasha found these sparkly amethyst, Rose de France and aquamarine rose cut cabochons in my gemstone collection.
First I shaped the bezels. A bezel is the part that goes around the stone and holds it in place on the piece. I take a strip of silver, bend it into shape with my half round pliers, and solder the join. Once the bezels have been immersed in pickle (an acid solution) to remove the buildup of borax and the oxidisation, I rinse and dry them and hammer them into shape with a mallet on my ring mandrel.
I solder the bezels onto a silver backing plate. After I pickle, file and emery the bezel settings, I check that the stones all fit nicely into their little housings.
Then it’s time to add some links to join the bezels together. I create the links, line them up and solder them on.
I add the ear wires. As always, I am amazed that something that looks so unappealing will soon become something beautiful!
After yet more emerying and finishing, the earrings are ready to go off to their new home!
As part of a bracelet I’ve been asked to put together, one of my clients wanted a special box to keep to tiny and precious booklets inside.
It is set with a carnelian, one of his favourite stones.
The piece will like a charm bracelet, filled with pieces that have significance to my client – what a great way to wear all those memories at once!
This brooch I created for a client is in the shape of his wife’s business logo.
The peach moonstone reflects the colour of the logo, and provides a nice focal point to the design.
What an apt and thoughtful gift!
Natasha and her partner Philipp were in need of some new wedding rings. These lemon quartz cabochons from my gemstone collection had a good feel to them, and Natasha had a number of designs that she gave me for reference.
We worked together to come up with the perfect rings.
It’s always a joy to create for someone who is like-minded, I feel very fortunate to meet such lovely people!
My gorgeous client Natasha commissioned me to make these amethyst, rose de France and aquamarine earrings as a wedding present for a friend.
Natasha always has such beautiful ideas, and chooses such lovely gemstones from my collection.
Thanks, Natasha, it is always such a pleasure to work with you!
Some very kind friends gave my client a Silver Forge gift voucher for her birthday.
This oblong shaped drusy cabochon makes a gorgeous piece!
My lovely client, Natasha, chose this cabochon from my gemstone collection, and commissioned me to create this labradorite ring for her mum.
The gorgeous stone is offset beautifully by the silver. I’m very happy with the end result!
Thanks, Natasha, it’s always a pleasure to create for you!
I caught up with a dear friend of mine recently after many years. It was so lovely to see him! Isn’t is great how you can have a lifelong connection with some people, and share laughs and stories as if it were only yesterday that you had seen one another? We talked about what we’d been up to, of course, and he was interested in my silversmithing. A while later he commissioned me to make him a ring.
I love the simple yet so effective design!
Thanks, my dear Max, for getting me to create for you. It was a pleasure!
I created this ring for a client who is getting married.
He is into metallurgy and smithing, so a sterling silver ring with a hammered finish was the way to go!
Simple, timeless and elegant – what a nice wedding ring!
A client’s husband had lost his fulani wedding ring from Mali, so I created this custom made ring for him in the same tuareg style.
I was so pleased to hear that they both think it’s perfect! I love making my clients happy (and receiving such lovely feedback is a bonus, too!)
In part one of a series of tips about the basics of jewellery wearing I looked at necklaces. Today I’m going to talk about my favourite pieces of jewellery – rings.
A ring is traditionally a circular, decorative or symbolic ornament worn on fingers, toes, arm or neck – however today’s understood meaning of the word ‘ring’ is one that is worn on the finger. Rings can be made of many materials, but are commonly made from metal. They can be plain, or ornate; simple, or set with many stones. They are made in many different styles, but I’ll be focusing on bezel set gemstone rings as that is what I make!
First, let’s identify some of the basic parts of a ring. It’s good to know these terms, so that when discussing your ring, we’re on the same page:
Next, sizing. When you’re trying to determine the right ring size for you, it is best to have your finger measured professionally by a jeweller. If all else fails, you can use my guide to ring sizing.
When deciding what material your ring should be made from, sterling silver is a good choice – as well as being beautiful, it is usually hypoallergenic, so you avoid allergic reactions and green skin (problems usually brought about by the nickel in inferior quality metal).
Check out this good Wiki article on ring styles which shows many different kinds of rings – I’d never heard of some of these, so I found it very interesting!
Although I am happy to make any size ring, my preference is for large statement pieces. Sometimes people say to me that they can’t wear big rings because they have small hands – I say not so! I’m only 5’2″, and have little hands, and I love wearing a big rock! I don’t find large rings impede my hand, either – as fingers only bend inwards, the ring sits on top of the hand and allows you to do most things as usual. Ring size is really a matter of comfort and personal preference of course. Tell me, what’s your favourite ring?
As always, I am happy to create you a made to measure silver ring from any of the gemstones in my collection. If you’re interested, you can contact me about that here! Meanwhile, enjoy a browse through my custom gallery.
My lovely client Kate and I collaborated on these septum rings.
I hadn’t made nose rings before, so these were a bit of a learning curve!
Kate posted this gorgeous photo of herself wearing one of her new septum rings on Instagram – love it! Thanks Kate!
One of my lovely regulars, Karen, reserved this stone from my collection, and when she was ready, asked me to create her a ring.
We worked on the design together, and I love Karen’s request for a wire border of silver around the stone.
Love the sparkly crystals in that drusy!
One of my lovely regular customers, Niki, commissioned me to make this ring as a gift for someone close to her.
I always love making rings, I think it’s partly because they’re one of my favourite pieces to wear, too!
Thanks, Niki, I hope Angela liked her gift!
I met my lovely client Kate when she visited me with a friend of hers who was having a piece made. She fell in love with this petrol pink titanium coated drusy agate cabochon and asked if I could make her a ring with it.
I was so happy to do that! The drusy has been treated (see my blog posts about treatments here), and I think it’s gorgeous.
Kate is the owner of the hair & makeup salon Peach Industries on the Tasman Peninsula, and does totally amazing things with hair.
I’m loving the similarities here! Maybe you’d like your own ring made with a similar stone? Let me know!
In part one of a series of tips about the basics of jewellery wearing, I’m looking at necklaces. A necklace is a piece of jewellery which (as the name would suggest!) is worn around the neck. If the necklace has a primary hanging feature, it is called a pendant. If the pendant is a small container, that is called a locket.
Necklaces come in various lengths to suit different styles and different occasions. Some standard lengths are:
When you’re trying to determine the right length necklace for you, use a measuring tape to measure your neck. Standard necklace measurements as shown above assume a 35 cm (14 inch) neck, but of course we all vary wildly, so calculate accordingly! Add 5 cm (2 inches) to your neck measurement for a comfortable length for chokers; add 10 cm (4 inches) to it for princess length. Alternatively take a favourite necklace, or use a piece of string to measure around your neck from the desired level; then lay the string or necklace out straight and measure how long it is. That measurement will be the length you’re after.
Choker: suits a garment with a high neckline. Chokers can work well for people with long necks.
Princess: sits just below the throat at the collarbone. This is the most common necklace length, and is a good length for a pendant. This style works with most necklines as it can sit above or on top of the garment.
Matinee: sits below the collarbone and just above the bust. People with larger necks may choose this length for a pendant style necklace too. Matinee length draws attention to the center of the bust area, so bear that in mind when choosing this style. Women with larger busts may want to opt for a longer necklace to create a more balanced look.
Opera: hangs below the bust, and elongates the torso. This length works well with high necklines and evening wear. If you have a fuller bust, an opera length necklace can be an issue as it may not hang properly. You could try a necklace that sits slightly higher on the body, such as a princess length necklace.
Rope: can reach all the way to the waist. A versatile length, in that you can double and layer it, or wear a pendant on it. Looks great for business and evening wear.
When deciding what material your necklace should be made from, sterling silver is a good choice – as well as being beautiful, it is usually hypoallergenic, so you avoid allergic reactions and green skin (problems usually brought about by the nickel in inferior quality metal). Stainless steel can also highlight your pendant choice. Leather or ‘pleather’ (pretend leather) is another good option.
If you are planning to wear a pendant on your necklace, take into account the size and weight of the piece you will be wearing when you choose the necklace you will be suspending it from. This is important both physically to support the weight; and aesthetically to balance the piece.
Bear in mind that in a similar way to sunglasses, a necklace helps to frame your face, so try out different lengths and see what they do for you. A long necklace may flatter a taller frame where a smaller frame might need a shorter style. A good thing to consider is that people’s eyes will stop at the point where your necklace ends. And remember, really, a necklace is a personal choice – with a little trial and error you will work out what suits you and your wardrobe.
I am always happy to create you a made to measure silver necklace, whatever size you require. You can contact me here!
My lovely client Rosie loved a pearl ring I’d created for another customer and wanted one of her own.
I made her this one. Pearls and silver look so gorgeous together!
My lovely sister had knitting markers on her Christmas list this year, so I thought I’d have a try at making some silver ones!
I wanted to decorate them with tiny glass beads, but I also wanted to solder them closed so that they wouldn’t catch on the knitting.
I often say you learn something new every day – and that was the day I learned glass (well, those beads, anyway!) will withstand 700⁰C plus temperatures. Seems logical, given that glass is sand, which presumably melts at a higher temperature than that – I was a bit worried to put my theory to the test though! All’s well that ends well – and happy Christmas to my sister!
A client asked if I could make her these very simple yet striking staple earrings.
I like to do small commissions as well as larger ones.
These earrings are a fabulous every day addition to a wardrobe!
Rosie, one of my lovely clients, commissioned me to create this necklace for her. It is completely handcrafted from sterling silver and black onyx, and the cabochons were cut specially for this commission by the lovely and talented Annaig from Annaig’s Gemstudio.
I’m often wowed by the ideas and requests I receive, and this was one of those times.
It’s a real statement piece, and I envisage it being worn by generations. It’s a privilege to do this kind of work for such wonderful people. Thank you, Rosie!