Silver Jewellery Course Project - The Last One

This Tuesday night (14th May) is the last week of my silver jewellery course. I feel a bit sad to be honest as I've met some lovely people and had a lot of fun. I've also learned stuff!

The main reason I went on the course was to learn how to bezel set and hopefully to become more confident with soldering and piercing. Well I certainly feel a lot better when I'm sawing and piercing now. I don't have a proper jeweller's workbench and have to make do with working on the diningroom table and in the kitchen so sawing metal was a bit of a challenge as the table is too low. I used to resort to sitting on a silly little plastic stool and feeling uncomfortable and a bit stressed about it all. Then I thought it might help if I used a G-clamp to attach my bench peg to the table instead of the metal clamp that came with it (that I'd managed to bend out of shape!) and use my computer chair to sit on as I can adjust the height. The result - a much better position and much quicker and confident sawing. Hallelujah!!

My soldering has improved too and I've overcome my fear of holding small things in position whilst I'm soldering. By this I mean attaching jump rings and earwires to the ends and backs of pieces. My hand isn't the steadiest and I have a tendency to panic slightly if things slip. I still use gravity and my third hand to help sometimes but some of the fear has now gone :D 
I've also realized that my sight when doing close up stuff has deteriorated in the last few months and using an old pair of my Mum's reading glasses helps immensely! I can now see those little bits of solder that have jumped off from where I fiddled about for ages putting them. The glasses do make me look like Deirdre Barlow though .....good job no one can see me.

 The photos are of the last project I made at college - a pendant using etched silver and a frosted yellow glass cab. It's simple in style like a lot of my stuff but I love the contrast in colour with the oxidized silver and the almost glowing yellow of the glass. I rarely use yellow anything when I make jewellery so it made a nice change. I decided I didn't want a normal hanging hole so made a jump ring that I soldered onto the front of the pendant then pierced out the centre. The frosted glass cabs came from an Etsy shop in Turkey and I have several different colours that are currently being turned into earrings and pendants as we speak.

For the last week of college I will be taking full advantage of the rolling mill to texture my own copper sheet for using at home. I would love a rolling mill at home but lack of a proper workroom means I don't have the space for it, alas. Last week I used it to flatten some thick gauge (2.6mm and 3.25mm) copper wire which I then twisted with the help of a vice and huge pair of pliers. I've used the twisted copper wire to make three bangles, yet to be photographed, but I will post the photos as soon as I've done them.
Another good outcome of going to college was that I was classed as a student and could register at the London Assay Office, which is the office nearest to me, for half price, saving £75 which isn't to be sniffed at. It means that if (when) I start making bigger sterling silver pieces I'm ready for sending them off for hallmarking. I checked with the assay office as I wasn't sure if a night school class would class me as a student and the answer was yes as long as the course is a fair length and not just a couple of weeks type of thing.

Overall, despite already knowing how to do some of the things we did at college I've really enjoyed it. I have learned new things and I could go back for a 2nd year in September - the 2nd year isn't a new class in it's own right but basically tagged onto the learners class but doing different projects. Decisions, decisions!!


  1. Love this pendant - you're right the bead does glow.

    Your journey is way ahead of mine but I am also really enjoying my silversmithing classes and challenge myself to learn something new or use a new tool every week.

    That's interesting info about the 'student' discount for the Assay Office. I might look into that. Like you I haven't yet made anything heavy enough to need hallmarking but maybe one day....

    Don't feel bad about your lack of workspace as your creativity can surpass those hurdles. Looking forward to seeing what you create next.

    Kristin :)

  2. Thanks Kristin :D
    I keep finding new tools and new techniques I just have to try. I don't think I will ever run out of ideas and things to make.....


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