A little aluminum vs. sterling experiment

Screenshot at 2018-08-07 10:22:40

 

I did a little experiment a couple of days ago in my own facebook   https://www.facebook.com/NiciArt/  and a metalsmithing group I belong to that is also in facebook .

My posting there asked the question ” which is which ? ”  What guitar pick is made of sterling and what is the aluminum . Just by looking at a picture . When I did the math about 76% percent picked the wrong metal – by the way the left guitar pick is aluminum the right is sterling .

Now why do this experiment at all and what did I want to gather with it ? My point was that when you buy online not everything you see that is silver is in fact sterling silver . If the price is too good to be true it most likely is . I have seen websites offer sterling silver rings and other jewelry for the fraction of what it would cost someone to buy from me or any other metalsmith .

When you shop online you cannot feel and smell the metal – aluminum feels very different from sterling as does steel or some other silver looking metals .

Even looking at the little stamp 925 ( mostly inside the jewelry or on the back ) does not guarantee that what you get is in fact the real deal .

So when buying online be careful out there . Again – if the price is too good to be true – it might very well be …. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Flower Ring with Amber

the prongs get pushed with a bezel pusher over the stone

the prongs get pushed with a bezel pusher over the stone

finished ring with the bangle I made too

finished ring with the bangle I made too
well actually I made the bangle first a couple of days ago , but I wanted a ring too hope you like it

guitar bypass ring

made this today – gold bypass ring in shape of a guitar

made this today - gold bypass ring in shape of a guitar

I started with a mock up in bronze ( much cheaper )

I started with a mock up in bronze ( much cheaper )
20 gauge ( 0.8mm thick ) is what I use i bronze or gold as I have a hard time bending things by hand with those 2 metals 18 gauge ( 1mm thick ) I use for copper and sterling silver as both metals are softer and not as springy

I drew the shape out on a piece of label paper

I drew the shape out on a piece of label paper
make it 3 inches long as you have to “bypass ” the ends and anything shorter will look odd label paper is sticky on one side so its perfect to transfer shapes to metal for the cut outs

my trusted jewelers saw

my trusted jewelers saw
I like to use a 6 inch saw frame ( distance from blade to the back of the frame) and 1/0 saw blades – they are very fine and will move well around the corners

cut out shape

cut out shape
I have several hole punch pliers with different punch out sizes – this one is a 3mm – you need a bit of strength to punch so I tend to sit on the end to make it punch though

added some texture

added some texture
hardened steel punches and chasing tools will last you forever

number 2 file

number 2 file
I filed all edges to make the ring nice and smooth for comfort

foming the ring

foming the ring
I start out with bending the ring around the mandrel with my fingers and then pound it in shape with a non-marring nylon hammer , the head of the hammer has sand in it which gives you a bit more umpf you will work harden the metal when you hammer so it will hold its shape nicely

formed ring

formed ring

cleaning up the inside with a flex shaft

cleaning up the inside with a flex shaft
its basically a dremel with a flexible hose the outside I polished with sandpaper first , starting with a 400 grit and then going finer and finer all the way to a 2000 grit and then ultrafine

finished

finished

rocking 🙂

rocking :)

Silver cross and blue Topaz necklace

Just playing around with metal

Just playing around with metal

I started out with some sketches

I started out with some sketches

I always use scratch paper for the initial sketches and when i like the design I will trace the design onto a piece of label paper . label paper has already ” glue ” added to one side soI do not need to glue my design to sheet metal ( rubber cement works the best if you do not have label paper ) I always end up with a sticky mess if I use the glue

I cut out my design and stick it to the sheet metal

I cut out my design and stick it to the sheet metal

in this case the base cross ( or bottom cross ) which is larger was stuck to 18 gauge sterling silver sheet metal ( 1mm hick ) and the smaller ( top cross ) was transfered to a 20 gauge sterling silver sheet ( 0.8mm) Rember in terms of metal the higher the number of the gauge the thinner he metal is

I cut out the crosses wih my hand saw

I cut out the crosses wih my hand saw

Its a jewelers saw with very very thin blades , the blades I use are he 1/0 When you saw out a piece you need to remember to never ” push ” the saw into he metal . let the saw do the work….Luke….be the saw….. Lock your wrist and move your saw up and down from the elbow ,never from he wrist and keep your saw in place – move the metal you are sawing instead ( maybe I should do an instrucional video on that one )

After sawing out my crosses I put them together to see if I like it

After sawing out my crosses I put them together to see if I like it

I did like it soI went to solder

This is after soldering everything together

This is after soldering everything together

If you want insrucions on how to solder you can take a look a my blog www.themetalchallenge365.wordpress.com . I have many tutorials on easy to make things and on more complicated stuff . All tutorials of course are free

After soldering you need to clean your metal in a Pickle solution

After soldering you need to clean your metal in a Pickle solution

When you solder you have oxidation , turning your pieces black . In order to ge rid of that you can either polish for hours or clean it in a Pickle solution ( you can get he salt/grain to make the solution at any jewelers supply store ) please NEVER take your pieces out with the naked hand ( its an acid and will burn your skin ,its also toxic ) and NEVER take them out wih any other metal then copper tongues

This is after he Pickle bath

This is after he Pickle bath

Add some texture if you like

Add some texture if you like

A normal screw driver will do if you don’t have anything else handy ( I have chasing tools but I also use nails , screw drivers and other things i find )

clean and polish your cross

clean and polish your cross

I have a larger polishing machine where I have the same buffing wheel as on my small flex shaft ( the machine in the picture ) but If you have a setting for he stone its better to use the smaller wheel A Flex shaft is esentially a dremel with a long flexible tube ( yes I am aware hat he name is funny )

After you have done your first polishing add patina

After you have done your first polishing add patina

I used a liquid that I can brush on .usually I use Liver of sulfur but I am still nauseated due to the car accident we had on Saturday and Liver of sulfur makes me gag at the moment ( stinks like rotten eggs – and no mom i am not pregnant !! )

polish again

polish again

add your stone

add your stone

the little cup were the stone sits in is called a bezel cup , you can either make your own or buy them , I will make my own if I have irregular shaped stones or If I feel like making one . Most of the time i am lazy though and just use the bought ones next to he cross you see my stone setting tool , the cup has little teeth that get pushed CAREFULLY over the stone to hold he cabochon in place , start a 12 o’clock and push once , go to 6 o’clock and push some teeth over the stone at that position , then goto 3 o’clock then to 9 o’clock , the reason for doing that is so that tthe stone ges set even in right smack in the middle of the cup , take your finger and try to move the stone when you have pushed all the teeth over it . If i does not move you are done

close up of he little teeth of the bezel cup

close up of he little teeth of the bezel cup

Now you can hand polish with a cloth to ge rid of your finger prints , add a jump ring and a chain and ….tata…….. done 🙂 hope as always you enjoyed it nici

Sterling Silver Flower Pendant with Black Onyx

This sterling silver flower necklace was sawed and constructed entirely by hand from 18 gauge sterling silver and features a genuine black onyx stone in the center to complete the botanical statement.

Embodying the organic flow and rhythm of a flower shape, the outer pedals were sawed as one continuous shape from the flat sheet of sterling silver and dapped and domed on a shaping block to capture a realistic three dimensional form. The inner whorls or pedal structure was also sawed by hand, domed, and then soldered to the outer pedals using a hydroflux welder before setting the onyx cup. Adding intrigue, a subtle patina was brushed onto the flower to produce highlights with natural iridescence that brings out shades of grey blue, grey black, and dark silver depending on the viewing angle. The last step is setting the 8 mm genuine black onyx stone in the cup and hanging the flower pendant onto a genuine black greek leather cord to complete this necklace.

[shopify product=http://metalopiajewelry.com/products/sterling-silver-flower-pendant-with-black-onyx]

Boho Rings

I was procrastinating today a bit and those 2 rings are the results

I was procrastinating today a bit and those 2 rings are the results

I am actually supposed to work on fathers day orders but for some reason I got side tracked

i used galery wire for the so called bezel setting

i used galery wire for the so called bezel setting

wrapped once around the stone tightly to make the setting

soldered the ends together so they form a ring

soldered the ends together so they form a ring

place the stone inside

place the stone inside

there is a lot of forming going on with you fingers so that the stone sits tight but can be taken out without loosing the shape of the bezel

I traced around the bezel to make my inner ring

I traced around the bezel to make my inner ring

punched a hole in the middle

punched a hole in the middle

I used a jewelers saw to cut out the middle part – that is where the bezel will sit inside

cut out part

cut out part

looked again to see if everything fits

looked again to see if everything fits

traced the lager oval to make the base

traced the lager oval to make the base

cut out again and stack

cut out again and stack

now cmes the fun part

now cmes the fun part

soldering everything together we moved recently and I lost my tripod somehow – its easier to sweat solder from the backside if you have a tripod and a screen so I had to use a charcoal block – its trickier as you have to heat everything from the top and the bezel wire is thin and will melt the fastest

this is the ring top all soldered together cleaned and textured

this is the ring top all soldered together cleaned and textured

i chose this wire for my ring shank

i chose this wire for my ring shank

made 2 different ones just to see which will fit better

made 2 different ones just to see which will fit better

the wire gets bend until the ends meet to solder them together to form the ring shank

this is after the last soldering step – joining ring shank with the ring top

this is after the last soldering step - joining ring shank with the ring top

now I just had to clean it , darken the metal and set the stone

now I just had to clean it , darken the metal and set the stone

I had so much fun with the first one that I made a second one

I had so much fun with the first one that I made a second one

The stone is a Turquoise from Bisbee Arizona from a mine that has been closed since almost 30 years – I got some really cool cabochons from a friend of mine – He cannot make jewelry anymore because his eyes and hands are too kaputt

www.metalopiajewelry.com

fresh from the bench – small cross with peridot

dainty cross charm with Peridot

I love peridots , they are with sapphires and garnets one of my favorite stones . The vibrant green always reminds me of spring and nature and fresh mowed grass .

dainty cross charm with peridot

drew on some 18 gauge sterling sheet

I used a template made from plastic as I am not so good in drawing straight lines especially if it is so tiny . There are tons of templates out there , sometimes I make my own template out of 20 gauge brass . there is another small pendant i will make later on .

drew on some 18 gauge sterling sheet

cut out with jewelers saw and 1/0 saw blades

I also added a little circle for the hole for the jump ring as I am terrible in soldering on rings for the bails ( I always melt the metal)

cut out with jewelrs saw

soldered a bezel cup onto the cross

soldered a bezel cup onto the cross

threw it in a cleaning solution

the cleaning solution is called Pickle and will get rid of all the black oxidation

threw it in a cleaning solution

added some tiny flowers

added some tiny flowers

set the stone and polished 🙂

set the stone and polished :)

fresh from the bench – started a new collection in my shop

fresh from the bench – made a butterfly today

fresh from the bench - made a butterfly today

I added a green Peridot

drawing the butterfly on sterling silver

drawing the butterfly on sterling silver

I cut it out with a small jewelry saw

I cut it out with a small jewelry saw

soldered a bezel cup onto the wing

soldered a bezel cup onto the wing

cleaned it up a bit

cleaned it up a bit

added some doodles/texture

added some doodles/texture

cleaned it up a bit again

cleaned it up a bit again

added patina to make the texture pop

added patina to make the texture pop

cleaned it up again and added a jumpring and a chain