Cuttlebone Cast Silver Pendant
I mentioned a while ago that I'd been doing some cuttlebone casting at my jewellery night class and that I would post about it. Well this is the pendant I made from the cast silver. You wouldn't know it was cast from a cuttlefish bone really but I did learn several things by making it including what not to do when tube setting!
I took some scrap silver in to college to use for the casting rather than pay for casting grains and made my mould in the cuttlebone. I went for a simple rectangle shape just to keep it simple rather than try to create a more intricate design that possibly wouldn't work. My first mistake was to use all the scrap silver I'd taken in - all 35g of it! It took forever to melt in the crucible and at one point there were two of us with two torches going at it. I actually gave up at one point then realized that the silver was stuck in the crucible so I'd have to carry on and get it flowing. Eventually (after about 20 mins) the silver scrap started to melt and it could be poured into the cuttlebone mould. Part of the cuttlebone snapped off at the bottom as it was too thin but I did end up with this....
It was thicker than I hoped but what a lovely texture! I wanted to thin it down a bit as I was hoping to sell whatever I made and didn't want it to be over 7.78g otherwise I would need to get it hallmarked so I took the thing with the beautiful texture and flattened it in the rolling mill!
I then cut a shield shape out of it and added a partial heart cut out at the side. I soldered on a bail and a silver ball. The silver ball took three attempts - the first time I soldered it to the back of the bail by mistake, the second there wasn't enough solder and it came off so I did it again at home. I usually need to sort out things at home as soldering in class always seems to go wrong for some reason.
In the meantime we were shown how to tube set so I thought I'd add a tube set faceted gemstone to the pendant. My first attempt didn't go too well. I forgot about the culet (the pointy bit at the bottom of the gemstone) and cut my tube too short! So when I set it the culet touched the pendant and the gemstone skewed over to the side slightly. I also used a setting punch which was too big and left a lovely ring stamped around the base of the tube on the pendant. I'd been so engrossed in looking at the gemstone when I was setting it I didn't even notice the stamped ring. So after swearing quite a bit and sanding out the stamped ring this is what it looked like after I'd oxidized it.....
You can see in this photo how the gemstone isn't level. I finished it but wasn't really happy but when I took it into class everyone said it looked ok and you couldn't see it wasn't completely level. I was sort of reassured but as I wanted to sell it and knowing it wasn't "right" I decided to sort it out and start again. So here it is with the stone and tube setting removed, cleaned up and new tube setting soldered on...
Putting it through the rolling mill did flatten the texture a lot but it still has some texture plus I was able to sand the bottom part smoother making it easier to solder the tube setting onto it. I finished it by setting a stabilized turquoise cab into the tube setting and oxidizing it.
I was quite glad to see it finished to be honest! I seemed to spend weeks working on it. I listed it in my Etsy shop and it sold earlier this week and is now on it's way to California.
Goodbye my first cast and tube set pendant, you drove me completely nuts but thank you for teaching me what not to do :D