A dramatic gift.
A wedding is surely a good time for a gift. The customer who commissioned this piece wanted something very special for her soon to be daughter-in-law. After searching some online sites for something unique, it became clear that PepperBox custom piece was the way to go
After some discussion of the wearer’s interests, as well as some sketching, and it was decided that a thespian themed piece in 18k white gold would be a perfect gift. Here is how it came together.
The design settle, here the materials wait to be wrought.
The pendant will have thespian masks on the front and a pierced pattern on the reverse. Here the designs have been drawn in the computer and transferred onto the gold.
The pierced pattern is taken care of first. Here a graver is used to make small cuts that will guide the drill bit.
The small saw blade is fed through the holes.
The sections of the design are pierced out one at a time.
Saw, saw, saw.
Once the piercing is done the transfer film is removed.
Now for the tough part The thespian masks will be done in relief using a technique called chasing and repousse. Here pitch is heated up to hold the gold in place.
Once the gold is put in the pitch, the pitch is allowed to cool and harden.
Small steel chasing tools are chosen for the job.
With a specialized chasing hammer, the steel tools push the metal according to the pattern.
The faces are pushed out from the back of the piece. Repousse refers to this process of pushing the metal from the back side.
The piece is taken out of the pitch and put back in, now with the front side up.
This piece is worked like this, from the front and back side, with multiple passes.
With each pass, the faces become closer to the desired shape.
To get the fine detain and final surface, the gold is set into a thermo plastic. The thermo plastic is stronger than the pitch and allows for a great finish to be applied to the gold.
Finally after hours of hammering and shaping the thespian masks are completed.
Now the two plates will be joined. Registration marks ensure a proper alignment.
The pieces are clamped together and ready to be soldered together.
A torch is used to flow 18k white gold solder along the seams.
The excess gold is cut away and saved for later recycling.
A small file is used to true up the edges of the piece.
18k gold wire is formed into a jump ring around a small steel stake using a hammer.
A jeweler’s saw is used to cut the ring apart.
After each soldering operation, the piece is placed in an acid bath called pickle to remove and oxidation and flux.
The piece is set in thermo-plastic and a steel chasing tool is used to texture the bead and jump ring.
A steel graver is used to texture the back of the piece.
A bail is attached so that piece can hang from a chain.
This piece is not polished by removing gold with buffing wheels and polishing compounds. Rather polished steel tools are used to burnish down the gold and impart a unique finish.
Steel wool is used to impart a shine on the gold.
This burnishing allows all the texture from the pieces creating to be highlighted.
The pendant has a truly unique finish that highlights the work that has gone into it. It’s a one of kind gift to honor of a beautiful new chapter in a family’s life.
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