Thursday, January 21, 2010

A stubborn heart

Valentines is just around the corner and I’m creating jewelry with hearts – of cause. I have made a number of dainty little beauties which are neat, but I got the urge to create something bigger and a tad different. I love jewelry with details on the back or other little secrets that only the bearer knows of. And so I set out to create a locket-style necklace –or rather a kind of silver folder, which means HINGE. It’s been a few years since I made a locket and it’s difficult – you easily end up soldering everything together. However, I had chosen a simplified way of hinging the thing and arrogantly thought that it would be a walk in the park. Little did I know, that I was to embark on hours and hours of frustration where everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

But first I created the bezel for the garnet cap, sawed out the front heart and the back and the pieces of tubing I needed for the hinge. I was planning on letting the hinge double as a bezel, creating a fairly simple design.

And then onto soldering………………………….. it all together :-(

Looks neat, right? What you don’t see is that all parts are very much sticking together, not letting anything move whatsoever! I swore loudly and trampled around the workshop before sitting down and unsoldering it. I hate unsoldering. It’s messy, much more cleanup-time and just not very satisfying. It all stuck because I didn’t use any kind of block. I could also have used another cool technique which one of my fellow Etsyans advised me of using hard solder to JUST forming a ball, then carefully taking it apart and soldering it with medium solder, not allowing the hard one to melt too, but to allow it to keep everything in place.

So, what now? Well, I soldered the middle part of the hinge back onto the back part (cleanup) and though that I could just use this part as a guide when placing the tubes of the upper part and then remove the back part when the flux had crystallized and was holding things in place. So though, so I did and here is the result:

OF CAUSE it doesn’t fit! The tubes are flush with the base they have been soldered on –which is too “high” Doh! More swearing and trampling –actually I gave up that day. Next day I braced myself and thought “I’d be damned if this piece will have me –I’ll show it who’s in charge” and came up with another solution: I found a piece of copper of the same thickness as the back plate silver sheet and slipped it under the front heart –staying far away from the hinge parts of cause. Again using the back part as a guide, I now succeeded in soldering the tubes on in the position they ought to have. See!

And the hinge works!

Now for a LOOOOONG time of cleanup and sanding –and then more sanding when it turned out that I had of cause created fire scale during the battle – and then finally for the decoration. I wanted a few words of love on the inside, for the bearer only to know, and a scrollwork decoration on the outer layer, plus a little 14 carat golden heart that I had sawed out and domed. Here you see how I again used the copper sheet to stabilize IF the hinges would in any way think of moving while I was soldering on the heart.

Final cleanup, then LOS and a finishing polish and I was ready to set the cab and string it to the burgundry leather cord. And here it is –tadaaaaaa!

It was a struggle, but I am actually quite satisfied with the outcome! Now I guess I should be creating another little folder while I remember how ;-)


  1. Lovely! Well worth the struggles. How do you get such a good shine on your silver? I am not good at the polish to a shine yet....

  2. It came out so great...and good for you for photographing your steps!
    I am always so anxious to get something finished that I never take the time to take photos along the way.
    You inspire me!

  3. Little Cherry Hill,
    It requires the bore of going through 4-6 grades of emery paper -each time you shift, sand in another direction. When you don't see any grooves from the previous, you'r done and can upgrade to the next one. Then polish coarse and fine and you are done! :-)

    And I'm happy to inspire!