A woman well traveled and her man that wants to make sure that no matter where she goes, she’ll always have a little sunshine. Here is what happened.
A favorite customer of PepperBox wanted to create a necklace for his lady using the sun as a theme. This picture is of a repoussed sun in bronze. The customer liked the rough looking feel of this piece so we decided to create a piece that would have a lot of texture in silver.
These drawing show the basic idea for the necklace. It will have a large central piece and the customer wants to have the piece on a neck ring rather than a chain. A neck ring is one piece of metal that is formed to the shape of the neck. Like a ring for you neck.
The first thing that is going to happen is the creation of the neck ring. Here a silver ingot that has been poured from molten silver is having the end bead cut off of it.
Once the bead is cut off the silver ingot, it is rolled through a grooved rolling mill. This process compresses the silver and is like putting a piece of play dough through one of those roller things.
This rolling process hardens the metal and in order to keep it from cracking the silver must be heated to a dull red and quenched quickly in water. This process is called annealing and it must be done several times through out this process.
By repeatedly rolling and annealing, the thick piece of silver is formed into a piece that is the correct shape and length for the neck ring. Here the piece is marked where the excess will be cut off.
Once the silver is the correct length, it is bent over a round forming stake.
The neck ring now has a proper shape that will fit the wearers neck.
The neck ring is to be textured. Because hammering the silver would cause it to expand and change the shape of the neck ring, a small abrasive wheel is used to texture the piece.
Now that the neck ring is finished, it’s time to work on the sun pendant. The piece will be made up of several parts and will have an inscription engraved on the back. The first thing to be done, cut out a disc that is the appropriate size.
The disc is cut out and extra metal is left around the edges to make sure there is enough material for the final design.
This first disc is sent out to the engraver and the inscription is cut into the silver.
Now to make the sun. Some sterling silver is melted in a ceramic crucible and will be poured into an ingot mold.
This thick piece of silver is called an ingot. It will be rolled out much like the wire was rolled out for the neck ring.
By this repeated process, that thick silver ingot is formed into a much thinner and larger sheet. A piece is cut off that will be formed into the sun design.
Since the sun design is to have a hand made feel to it, the design is drawn in by hand. This allows for drawing to retain some of it’s originality and personality.
After the drawing is applied, the piece is set into a hard, resin like substance called pitch, and is now ready for the chasing and repousse process.
Here the sun and the rays are being pushed outward with a blunt steel chasing tool. The process is similar to chiseling with a hammer, but because the steel tool is blunt and polished the metal is displaced rather than removed.
Once the entire design is pushed out from the back, the pitch is gently heated so that the silver can be removed.
The pitch is gooey and sticks to everything, care must be taken not to get it on the skin or leg areas. Youch!
Now, it’s time to work the front of the design. The negative space is first filled in with some hot pitch. The silver is then place in the pitch bowl again and allowed to cool and harden.
The design is very rough on the front side. More blunt chasing tools are used to refine it’s shape.
Other tools are used to texture the silver.
Tap tap tap. This is how the chasing hammer is held and used along with the steel chasing tools. Lookin tough with that little hammer.
A final texture is applied to the entire piece in order to give it a uniform surface.
Now that the sun is made, it’s time to make the border that will frame the pendant. In this picture, a piece of silver wire is being annealed so that it can be formed into the circle that will make the frame.
The wire is formed to the correct shape.
It is then cut and soldered into a ring.
The ring is lightly hammered to form into a more round circle.
This mag light turned out to be the perfect circumference for the piece.
The pieces of the pendant will be held together with pins. Before anything else is done with the frame, it is marked where the holes will be drilled.
A very small drill bit is used to drill the pilot holes.
After the drilling, the frame is then soldered into place around the sun.
The excess metal has been removed and then the holes are drilled all the way through the piece.
Here, a ring is about to be soldered to the top of the pendant. The ring will allow the bail to be attached later.
The front and back pieces are to be held together with silver pins. The first step to creating these pins is to cut piece of wire.
The wires are then heated and melted into bead on one end.
The back plate containing the engraving is also drilled and the pins are put into place.
Steel binding wire is used to hold the pieces firmly together while the other ends of the wire are quickly melted into beads. With both ends of the wire beaded up, the piece is now securely assembled.
The only piece left to make is the bail. The design is first laid out on a flat sheet of silver.
Two curved wires are soldered onto the sheet.
The piece is textured on the inside of the wires.
Excess silver is cut away, leaving a long oval shape.
A steel hammer is used to lightly texture the wires.
Non-marring nylon bending pliers are used to bend the oval into the shape of the bail.
A little tap tap from the nylon hammer and the piece is now the correct shape.
The end of the bail is then soldered closed on the piece.
Just a little extra hammering, you can’t have enough.
The necklace is pretty much done, as a final step it will be darkened and polished. This process really brings out all the texture that was imprinted on the silver during the fabrication process.
When the pieces come out of the darkening solution they are totally black. A little scrub with some steel wool and a polishing cloth and…
3 Responses to “Sun Pendant”
Leave a Reply