Blue Trident Earrings
This set of earrings were to be custom made for the customer who bought the Blue Trident pendant. After getting a closer look at the pendant Darren got back in touch with me to order a bespoke set of earrings to go with it. There wasn’t much time to complete the job before christmas, about a week if I remember, I did have a pair of round blue topaz that were going to be set into rings but they were a good colour match for the topaz in the pendant and a good size, so the earrings were built around these stones
After confirming with Darren that a drop design was the right option to run with I had an idea of what the earrings should look like already, since I was matching them with the triangular pendant I used my powers of creativity and went with … a pair of triangles!
Below is a rough model made with poly-thermal plastic, it’s a very easy to use substance that goes from a solid to a malleable clear gel just by dropping it in boiling water.
On this occasion as you can see from this cast, the resulting finish is too rough and leaves a lot of filing work to be done, I also required good strong corners from the cast, any triangle worth its salt has good strong corners! Not good enough so back to my tried and tested wax carving method.
That’s better. The mushroom coming from the silver cast is left from the casting process. This ‘head’ helps to push the molten silver into every nook and cranny of the clay mould.
After repeating this process, as you can see the resulting cast is in need of far less shaping with files than my first effort.
Why not put more detail into the wax model if you don’t want to file then Pete? ..I hear you ask. Well, there is a limit to how complex a path you can get the molten silver to flow around before it starts to solidify, and secondly I like to keep my options open as far as the final shape is concerned. Using a file to get there slowly, often allows for more creative improvisation.
Honing in on the final design now. Drilling out the setting for the stones is done using various burrs and a pendant drill, I’ve decided for these stones the back should be opened up to let more light through, this lightens the colour which would be quite dark in a sealed setting and hidden under hair etc.
As with many pairs of gem stones this pair are not exactly the same shape, even though they were bought in the same batch from the same seller, often they are cut locally by hand where they are mined (in this case Brazil) and as such they require their settings to be tailored perfectly for each stone.
Next thing was to plan ahead and do any soldering before setting the stones, heating the stones could destroy them or at least taint the colour! The chain is to be the ‘drop’ and is a section of belcher chain.
Once the soldering is done the earrings are quenched in pickle (acid) to remove any firestain (oxidized copper that taints the top most layer of the silver (pain in the arse)). You can see the slightly coppery layer on the earring on the left, I should have left it in the pickle for longer…
The stones are set by pushing or burnishing the silver over the edges of the stones to hold them firmly in place. Unfortunately while I was taking these final pictures I noticed the dull shadow on the polished surface, you can just make it out on the near earring in the reflected shadow. Its very faint, but there none the less, so this needs to be filed off and re-polished.
The final product in its cream faux leather lined polished maple wood presentation box – The first set of earrings I have ever made. I usually get quite attached to the things I make so I was sad to see these go, but I know they’ve gone to a good home. Just in time for Christmas!
Thanks again for the great feedback Darren!