Friday, 23 September 2016

Turning My 9ct Gold Scrap Into A Pair Of Earrings

For someone who's loved silver forever I seem to have an awful lot of scrap 9ct gold! Some of it is from gold chains and a ring I had when I was younger and some of it I was given by my Mum as she wasn't a big gold jewellery person either. She preferred wearing my early bead creations bless her!

There's also a couple of scrap pebbles from previous projects.
I started by melting it into as large a pebble as I could manage with my torch.

I ended up with a slightly saggy looking black lump. As I thought gold wasn't supposed to oxidize I decided to look up exactly what 9ct gold contains and found out it's made up of 37.5% pure gold and the rest is made up of silver, copper and zinc. That's explains the oxidation........

This is the 9ct gold after pickling - still a bit grubby and you can see some of the copper on the surface.
I then ran it through the rolling mill, annealing several times as I did so.

This is the result. It started to split on one edge and the copper content is very evident from the annealing before it was pickled.

I chose this design to imprint onto the gold as it fit the size of the sheet the best.

The patterned gold after pickling. I think the copper is drawn to the surface of the gold during annealing but I wasn't too worried about it as I have the means to remove it with...........

Super pickle is a 50/50 mix of clean pickle and hydrogen peroxide and is fabulous for removing copper from where it shouldn't be.

As you can see the super pickle did it's job.

After tidying the edges of the two gold pieces I added a satin texture to two pieces of silver sheet and soldered the gold pieces onto them.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the earrings yet so I used fairly large pieces of silver sheet.
Then I started trimming them...

I still didn't know what I was going to do at the top of the earrings so left it a bit longer.
Then I decided to trim that off too.............:D

 And add a jump ring for the earwire. 
{I think my design mojo had nipped out that day}

I soaked the earrings in the super pickle again to remove the copper that had appeared on the surface from soldering then added sterling silver earwires.

After tumbling the earrings to clean them up and polish them I decided to oxidize them in liver of sulphur to add a bit of depth around the join where the gold part meets the silver and also because I like the contrast of oxidized silver with the shiny gold.

I cleaned them up with wire wool and tumbled them again and here they are all finished...

I really enjoyed making something different and as I have some scrap 9ct gold left will most likely be making something else of the golden persuasion soon.

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  1. The earrings are really gorgeous. Owing to the difference in my exposure to gold jewelry I first found the concept of melting and rolling it horrifying. But after seeing the textured piece (it resembles ancient coins) and the final earrings, I now wish that they are more options available like this in the market

  2. Great idea! It must have been fun melting down the old pieces. The new earrings are beauties.

  3. Those are fabulous Tracy! I love the way gold looks with oxidized silver and you do a great job with your picture taking. Bravo! <3

    1. Thanks Kalaya. I am improving with my one-handed photo taking :D

  4. Oh wow. Those are so sweet! Understand the design mojo thing but letting the design just work itself out was a great way to go :: lynn

  5. These are extraordinarily beautiful, just wonderful. And I love how they were created from scrap and so organically too - I'd have been too nervous at getting it wrong (with gold!) to make it up as I went but your approach worked a treat with these.
    One question - did you imprint the design using your rolling mill?
    Thanks for all the great photos and the descriptions - you made it look easy and I'm sure it wasn't!

  6. What an incredible end result – these earrings are stunning! It’s great that you saw the potential for your scrap 9ct gold to be reused and turned into a masterpiece like this. Often we discard old jewellery odds and ends, when they can often be redesigned into modern and beautiful pieces like this. Your combination of the gold and silver is perfect and has become a very modern design.

    1. Thank you! Having a rolling mill is very useful for recyclng scraps :D


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