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A Passion for Jewelry making

My approach for teaching is not the standard approach where I create a project and teach that project, that look, that set of steps to the entire class. I learned from my teacher, Deb Jemmott, that everyone has a different aesthetic and the pictures in their mind are what is important to them.

These are the different groupings:

  • Some want to make fine jewelry and open a brick and mortar store to sell their work.

  • Some want to have a creative outlet and have fun!

  • Some don't like what jewelry they see, therefore they want to make something different.

  • Some want to skip the walking steps and run to the endgame of making and selling

  • Some are artists in other areas of their life and they may want to transition away from that to jewelry making and selling

  • and more... What's yours?

Everyone has a different reason for wanting to make jewelry. Jewelry has the advantage over many of the arts because it can be worn and shared visually.

Sharing some student work might give others an idea of what is possible. I teach people on the path they want to go, not through cookie cutter classes. Each person's journey is different.

For Winter Blog, sharing a dedicated Student's latest project:

A thirtieth birthday gift for a beloved daughter..

The project, to create a hefty ring with faceted heart garnets. The heart is about 1.5-1.7 carats. The vision evolves...

This was a great challenge for the student as it is a very advanced project. I am going to take you through the steps and talk about options to make the project easier.

Materials: Sterling Silver, 20K Gold.

Band is Sterling Silver Oxidized

Seat around the heart is sterling silver and silver dust is fused to the surface to give a sparkly look!

The border gold and the prongs are 20K Gold.

1. Fuse or solder enough silver sheet together to make at least 8 gauge for thickness and clean up and prep the rectangle using the Jooltool.

2. Since the Student artist had not worked with faceted stones beyond tubesetting, we practiced using a ball burr to remove material for the heart to sit in on a chunk of copper first.

3. Once the practice was over, she traced the heart in the center of the thick sterling silver and cleared out material using a ball burr.

Lesson learned: I would recommend stopping before the heart is completely below the surface. It worked however the heart would be brighter in view if the area above the girdle was above the surface of the metal.

4. Next we created the ring band and kept it wide at the top and narrowed at the under finger part for comfort. Soldered this to the square. Both pieces were cleaned up on the Jooltool and ready for the next step.

5. Next we added the silver dust, using Ronda Coryell's masking mudd to prevent the dust from soldering where we needed to put the gold border.

Lesson learned: We found it difficult to solder the gold border on after the dust and it took a lot longer than it would have had we put the border on first.

6. Soldering the Gold border on after the gold was rolled down to the correct gauge.

7. Drilling for the prongs and then soldering the prongs in place - This was. bit difficult due to the silver dust being uneven where we needed to solder the prongs so it took some challenging drilling.

Lesson Learned: Putting the prongs on before the dust, after the frame, would have given us the ability to get them a little closer.

8. Cleaned up the piece first by tumbling, then patina, and a final tumble. Set the heart shaped garnet and polished on the Jooltool.

9. Final lesson - It is best to know the person's ring size before we set the stone

10. We will be resizing the ring this week, putting the top in water while we quickly solder the band.

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