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.

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heart bracelet

anticlastic bronze cuff with copper hearts

anticlastic bronze cuff with copper hearts

cut a 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch wide strip from 20 gauge bronze

cut a 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch wide strip from 20 gauge bronze

cut lots and lots of hearts from copper

cut lots and lots of hearts from copper
I have a heart cutter from swanstrom ,

flux the back of your hearts and add solder

flux the back of your hearts and add solder
I use hard wire solder for that

heat the hearts until the solder melts

heat the hearts until the solder melts
and then flux the bronze strip and solder the hearts to it

quench in water

quench in water

form your bracelet

form your bracelet
Now I realize that not everybody has a metal press with the anticlastic / synclastic former ,so you can make the bracelet normal on a wooden bracelet mandrel and a raw hide or nylon hammer. I happen to have a full metal shop and have 2 hand cranked metal presses ( the hydraulic ones scare me and I do it rather by hand soI have more control )

thats my metal press

thats my metal press
yay for awesome tools !!

you feed the bracelet through the former 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch untilyou have the bracelet form

you feed the bracelet through the former 1/4  inch by 1/4 inch untilyou have the bracelet form

you can see how the bracelet forms

you can see how the bracelet forms
hand cranking is a lot of work

almost finished forming

almost finished forming

I put the bracelet into the pickle solution after I formed it

I put the bracelet into the pickle solution after I formed it
Pickle solution will clean your oxidation from metal

hearts , hearts , hearts and more hearts

hearts , hearts , hearts and more hearts

what do you think ?

easy teaxture if you do not have a rolling mill

fun with metal

easy texture for metal

this is basic metal smithing 101

take a patterned steel sheet

tape a strip of metal that is softer then the steel to the plate

use clear tape so you can see the back . Start hammering with a ball peen hammer on the whole back ,basically covering the back with dimples .You will need some elbow grease with this as this takes some serious hammer time WATCH YOUR FINGERS !!! while you hammer the back the metal expands and gets pushed into the pattern in the steel plate thus creating a negative the plates are meant for a rolling mill or a metal press .If you do not have those tools ,the hammer is a cheap way to get the texture on the metal

here you can see the dimples on the back which look pretty neat too

flipped over you now have a nice texture

my arm is a bit sore now ,but its worth it this took about 20 minutes of non stop hammering

file your edges and form your bracelet on a mandrel

I have a synclastic form for my small metal press to give the bracelet that nice shape , but you can do an ordinary bracelet too 🙂

I made a copper synclastic bracelet today with some snow flakes

copper disc pendant

And because I needed to work out some frustration I made some earrings and a pendant too

winged ring- brass wings on sterling silver

wings on sterling

draw some narrow wings on a piece of paper

stick/glue the wings to your metal sheet

I am using 20 gauge brass ( 0.8mm thick ) I usually do a mock up in metal that is cheaper before doing a sterling/gold version

draw your ring shank onto sterling silver

this is 18 gauge ( 1 mm thick )

cut out your wings and your ringshank via jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades

make sure the ring shank and the wings fit ( I am good with eyeballing things – I tend not to measure )

solder your wings onto the ring shank

I use extra easy silver solder , after soldering quench in water and clean in Pickel solution

add your texture for the wings

cut the ring shank to length

bend until the ends meet flush and solder again

clean in the Pickel solution until the sterling turns from black to white

form the ring on a ring mandrel with a nylon hammer

polish inside

polish outside

add patina to bring out the texture

polish again

leave a bit of patina around the edges of the wings to bring out the design

I think this is more suitable for a male

what do you think ?

finally got to make another tutorial – it has been a while

fun with metal – how to make a flower ring

You can always look into your community college ( USA) and most of them have beginners and medium metal/silversmithing courses that are not too expensive

I start out with 18 gauge sterling silver

18 gauge is 1 mm thick . I prefer that thickness as the flowers do not bend but are not too heavy either draw a circle ( use a template – its easier )

inside the circle I drew a flower

using a jewelers saw and 1/0 blades for cutting out the flower

cut out flower

cut out flower

I want to dome mine so I am using a dabbing block

mine is a square block with 30 domed indentations and corresponding hammers – put your flower in a ” bowl ” and take the “hammer with the ball that fits ” using a nylon hammer to pound on the end of that hammer if you do not have a dabbing block you can go with 20 gauge sterling which is thinner and bend your pedals with a pliers

file your edges smooth

take any wire you have

take any wire you have
I used twisted wire for the ring shank – twisted wire is easy to do or you can also buy it at riogrande or thunderirdsupply.com

cut the wire to length – file edges flat

cut the wire to length - file edges flat

take a needle nose pliers

bend your ring shank until edges meet

bend your ring shank until edges meet
try to get the ends as close as you can together

domed flower

domed flower

flux your ring

I prefer paste flux add some solder and…

….start heating with a torch

....start heating with a torch
heat until the solder flows , quench in water and clean in pickle solution

soldered ring shank

now comes the forming

using a ring mandrel and a nylon hammer , shape you ring shank until its round

I prefer my rings to be flat and not round

so I used a planishing hammer for flatten the ring

rounded ring shank

rounded ring shank

take some metal scrap – flux and then heat with torch

take some metal scrap - flux and then heat with torch
this is to make the little ball in the middle

heat the sterling until it forms a ball

heat the sterling until it forms a ball
here its red hot metal

turn your flower upsdide down and flux both ring shank and flower

turn your flower upsdide down and flux both ring shank and flower
heat with torch and solder together

flip again

flip again

flux the inside of your flower and add a small piece of solder

flux the inside of your flower and add a small piece of solder
heat again until solder flows – add your ball of molten sterling and again flux and heat

this is after everything is soldered together

clean in pickle solution to get rid of oxidation ( blackness )

after the pickle bath

after the pickle bath
start polishing ( sand paper , steel wool )

finished

finished

I added the smaller ring to the slightly larger one I already had

hope you liked it

www.niciart.com   in case you want to see more of what I make

three hearts

three hearts

3 metal hearts 🙂

I used copper ,brass , sterling silver

cut 3 hearts in different sizes from different metals mine are copper, brass , sterling silver

cut sterling silver wire to make your ring shank

silver wire ,or metal wire is the best you can use for ring shanks , the width is always consistent and its a lot less work

mark with your makers stamp and 925 for the sterling

bend your ring shank until the ends meet

flux and add solder – heat with a torch until the solder flows

The solder will flow when the metal gets red hot

be careful – any hotter then that and your sterling will melt

after soldering and quenching in water ,clean in the pickle solution

I also soldered all 3 hearts together

the solution is almost spend ( you can see it on the blue color ) if it gets to be really blue you will need to make a new batch

after the pickle bath form your ring on the ring mandrel

and a nylon hammer

now you need to solder the ring shank to the hearts

add flux again , use a third hand to hold the ring shank in place , add solder and torch again

quench in water – throw in your pickle solution

polish

thanks for reading

flower ring from scratch

fun with metal – how to make a flower ring

You can always look into your community college ( USA) and most of them have beginners and medium metal/silversmithing courses that are not too expensive

I start out with 18 gauge sterling silver

18 gauge is 1 mm thick . I prefer that thickness as the flowers do not bend but are not too heavy either draw a circle ( use a template – its easier )

inside the circle I drew a flower

using a jewelers saw and 1/0 blades for cutting out the flower

cut out flower

I want to dome mine so I am using a dabbing block

mine is a square block with 30 domed indentations and corresponding hammers – put your flower in a ” bowl ” and take the “hammer with the ball that fits ” using a nylon hammer to pound on the end of that hammer if you do not have a dabbing block you can go with 20 gauge sterling which is thinner and bend your pedals with a pliers

domed flower

file your edges smooth

take any wire you have

I used twisted wire for the ring shank – twisted wire is easy to do or you can also buy it at riogrande or thunderirdsupply.com

cut the wire to length – file edges flat

take a needle nose pliers

bend your ring shank until edges meet

try to get the ends as close as you can together

flux your ring

I prefer paste flux add some solder and…

….start heating with a torch

heat until the solder flows , quench in water and clean in pickle solution

soldered ring shank

now comes the forming

using a ring mandrel and a nylon hammer , shape you ring shank until its round

I prefer my rings to be flat and not round

so I used a planishing hammer for flatten the ring

rounded ring shank

take some metal scrap – flux and then heat with torch

this is to make the little ball in the middle

heat the sterling until it forms a ball

here its red hot metal

turn your flower upsdide down and flux both ring shank and flower

heat with torch and solder together

flip again

flux the inside of your flower and add a small piece of solder

heat again until solder flows – add your ball of molten sterling and again flux and heat

this is after everything is soldered together

clean in pickle solution to get rid of oxidation ( blackness )

after the pickle bath

start polishing ( sand paper , steel wool )

finished

I added the smaller ring to the slightly larger one I already had

hope you liked it , please have a look around , comment and maybe even visit my shop at
www.nicilaskin.etsy.com  , thank you 🙂

copper tea light holder

made a copper tea light holder 🙂

cut a 1 1/2 inch wide strip by 6 inch long from copper

draw your shapes onto the metal

small tip (if you like a shape make a template out of plastic via exacto knife )

cut out your lizards

i use a jewelers saw with 1/0 blades

shape the strip ,dome a circle and cut a 3×3 inch square

solder everything together ( use plumbers solder as it has a low melting temp )

start polishing – steel wool will do or sand paper

put a tea light in and light it

turtle pendant

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Today I went with a combination of medallion and shadow box ( the shadow box being the flower inside the turtle . I used 20 gauge sterling silver for that . The reason for not using 18 gauge was that I ran out ,lol 🙂    But that worked out in the end as I added an extra circle .

turt turt1

I cut out a large circle 1 1/4 inch in diameter with the help of my disc cutter. If you don’t have one you can always cut out a circle by hand . I invested in a disc cutter after cutting out discs right and left and wasting a lot of time doing it .  I drew the turtle onto paper that has a sticky back( uline label paper ) and stuck it to the sheet of metal . If you only have regular paper either glue it to the metal or use rubber cement ( rubber cement is easier to peel off after you are done cutting  I cut out the turtle with my 6 inch jewelers hand saw and some 1/0 saw blades ( I go with the ones from Germany – being a bit patriotic )

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Punch or drill a feeding hole inside your flower and feed your saw blade through . Start cutting out the flower .  Clean your metal with some sand paper to make it easier to solder

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Make sure everything fits well together . I did not like how the turtle and the circle looked so I decided to add a 1 inch circle in between the turtle and the 1 1/4 inch circle . Next step is soldering .

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Flux the back of the turtle and the 1 inch circle and add your solder ( sheet , wire or stick solder ) . Start heating the metal with your torch using slow circular motions so that the flame does not hit just one spot . Use a third hand to keep things from slipping while you solder. Quench and repeat with adding the turtle to the 1 inch circle  I recommend first soldering both circles together and then to add the turtle . Last picture Is the piece all soldered together after quenching it in water. To clean it put it in your pickle solution .

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After your sterling turns white in the Pickle solution take it out with copper tongues and rinse with water and dry . Pre polish really quick with your flex shaft and start adding some texture ( anything goes – screw drivers , nails ect . )  Polish again and then add patina  Liver of sulfur gives the best result . Polish one last time taking care that you leave some lack low lights so that the texture and the turtle pop . Add a ail or a jump ring and put it on a chain 🙂 finished is your turtle pendant . As always I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial . I am always open to questions and will help where I can . 🙂

 

you can visit my store at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com if you are interested in buying some of my pieces

 

butterfly and flower bracelet in sterling silver -intermediate level

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Today I am posting another tutorial .  I made a link bracelets with soldered on flowers and butterflies .ts made from sterling silver ( 18 gauge and 20 gauge ) .By the way silver prices are way down right now so if you need to buy sterling do it now !!

What you need for this project : 1 jewelry saw with 1/0 saw blades , 18 and 20 gauge sterling silver , Split rings , clasp , silver solder , a torch , some gas for your torch , a charcoal block or heat tile, Flux, water for quenching , pinzette , copper tongues , pickle solution , flex shaft , polisher , liver of sulfur , some pliers ( flat nose and needle nose ) , chasing tools , a hammer , a nylon hammer ,dapping block and the punches , hole punch pliers or drill

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draw your base shape onto 18 gauge sterling silver ( you can also use copper , bronze or brass if sterling is too expensive ) .I drew a rounded dog tag pendant shape in a 3/4 inch size .You can make any base shape you like , remember it is your bracelet and I just point you into the direction on how to make it :) . I drew and cut out 6 shapes which in the end will make a bracelet of about 6 1/2 – 7 inches . I used a jewelry hand saw with 1/0 blades . Those blades are very thin and will brake very easy . The way on how to properly saw is to not “push ” your saw through the metal . You need to let the saw do the work . Lock your wrist and move your arm from the elbow up and down . If you do a lot of sawing you will feel it in your upper arm !! To make the saw move easier you can either use burr life or bees wax to wax your blade ( I use bees wax , its organic and non toxic -I try to use as much from nature as I can as metal smithing uses a lot of chemicals and non natural stuff ) . After you cut out your base shape you can draw some other shapes on paper -I use label paper as i don’t need to use glue , it sticks on its own – make sure that your shapes are smaller then your rectangles . Transfer or stick your paper onto a 20 gauge sterling silver sheet . Again I use label paper so I don’t have to worry about glue and waiting for the glue to dry . Cut out your shapes ( butterflies and flowers for the bracelet I made )

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Again make sure that the shapes that will be soldered to your base are smaller than the base shape . Now is the best time for your holes. I use a hole punch pliers from swanstrom with a 2.5mm hole punch for bigger holes . You might need a bit of a strong hand for that . The bigger the hole you are punching the more strength you need. Keep your punch well lubed too that will help also.

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Now comes the part with the fire and the flames . Remove all paper from your pieces . Yes some say you can burn them off ,but don’t…just don’t…. I clean my metal before soldering with the flex shaft really quick so I know that the metal is clean to solder.  The picture above is my set up here in New Jersey with my soldering station . Its an old bar stool, a flipped over tin box that was fixed to the bar stool with some nails . I use a charcoal block for soldering as the charcoal will glow and burn retaining the heat from the torch and reflect it back to your pieces making it easier to solder .

Ok on we go . Apply Flux to the side were you want to have your solder ( back of the pieces you cut out ) . Flux is used to make the solder flow and to protect from fire scale and oxidation . I use paste Flux but there are different kinds. Apply your solder – On my pictures you see the little wire sticks ? That is the solder I use . Wire solder ( there are again many different kind , like paste solder , stick solder , gel solder  sheet solder ) The solder I mostly use is extra easy wire solder ( 60% silver content ) because it has the lowest melt temperature .

After You have done that use your torch – I have an Acetylene / Air torch system  that means I have one tank . Most use an Acetylene/ Oxygen torch system , meaning you have 2 tanks , one with oxygen and one with the acetylene . I am very hesitant to do that . having pure oxygen next to a gas tank is just really creepy to me and for my purposes the Acetylene / Air works perfectly .

Heat your pieces one after another and make the solder flow , this will happen fairly quickly with smaller pieces . i don’t get mine red hot ( red hot means the red color your metal gets right before it melts into a big lump ) due to the low flow extra easy solder . After all the solder is bonded with your pieces , quench them really quick in water

d15   this is how it will it look after your solder flowed

 

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Apply flux to your bottom pieces ( rectangles in my case ) and put your top shapes with the soldered side down onto the rectangles . Start heating again with the torch until you see a fine silvery liquid line around the shapes ( I use a soldering stick or a pinchette to press lightly to make sure I have no gaps ) Quench in water again . Never touch your soldered things before quenching . You will burn a hole right through you !! Pick them up with pinchettes or tongues and then quench in water .

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After soldering your  metal will be discolored and mostly dark black , that is due to oxidation from soldering and heating your metal . You can clean your metal in a “Pickle ” solution  . You can buy the salt in any jewelry supply store , I get mine from riogrande.com . You need a plastic or ceramic container or bowl . Add the salt / grain to water . Now instructions say use it in a warm solution ( crock pot ) . I don’t do that . yes t will takea bit longer to get clean , but I am scatter brained and will forget to shut the crock pot off thus making it a fire hazard . I use it at air temperature and it has been working will for me.  Put your metal in the solution and check frequently . When the sterling looks white you can take it out . Always use copper tongues to remove from the pickle -NEVER with your bare hands – that solution is an acid and will leave burns . Wash your hands or any other skin that comes in contact with the solution . Also do not use a different metal then copper to get things out as the metal will react to the copper ions in the solution and then those copper particles will cling to your pieces making it very hard to clean.

After taking them out ash in water and dry.

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Polish the edges or file the edges nice and smooth .Use any chasing tools or anything you can find to create some texture ( screw drivers work very well and nails )

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After you are done with your texture you can form your pieces or you can leave them flat . If you form the you may use a dapping block ( hardened steel with round indentations and balls on sticks ( lol ) the corresponding hammers . Dome your pieces in the dapping block .You put the rectangle face down inside a indentation , take the corresponding hammer and put on top of your rectangle . Pound the end of the hammer with a nylon hammer ( don’t use steel on steel , you can also use a raw hide mallet . After you are done doming . Run through your polisher or use the flex shaft . Remove any remaining oxidation and fire scale.

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Add patina (liver of sulfur bath ) and polish again , leaving the texture black .Now you need your split rings and your clasp. I use split rings because I am lazy .Yes I admit it . You can use Jump rings but you will have to solder them close so that you will not brake the bracelet . With Split rings you do not have to worry about them opening on you . Combine your rectangles with your components an add the clasp .Polish by hand to remove any finger prints . And you are done )

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I would say this is a intermediate level in metalsmithing

hope you liked it , come by and visit my shop at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com