Saturday, June 28, 2008

making of the SWIRL...

Every once in a while I will receive a special request from a client... and usually I can accommodate (but of course there are boundaries... but that is a discussion for another time!) So, a delightful client of mine asked if I could photo document the process of making her swirly pendant.

We're using family stones (some from a pair of her earrings and others from her grandmothers nose ring) and she wants to share with her family the process of how the piece is made. I think this is a delightful idea!

Now, the pendant/broach is going to be fabricated in platinum, which is INSANELY expensive at the moment. So, I decided to cast it as a solid and have the least amount of waste possible. And because of the intricate nature of the pattern along with how delicate it is, I decided to first cut the pattern out of silver, have a mold made and then adjust the wax.

So... let's see what we've done so far....

...The first step was to shrink and print the pattern and glue it on a 16 ga sheet of silver. From there I pierced and cut out the pattern. But I left the swirl areas solid for a couple reasons...

... Basically I knew that this piece was going to be domed and by leaving these connections it would help to keep the piece from distorting. Also, I knew I would be making a mold of the piece and it would help the wax flow easier.

The next step was to dome the piece. It is a very very low dome... but enough to help hide the bails in the back (where the chain will slide through and the pin stem for when it will be worn as a broach.)

So, this is what the cut out looked like when the paper pattern was removed and sent to have a mold made of it...

... and this is in the wax.

So, I started changing the shape. Thinning, softening and curving the different parts of the swirl. The purple is a low temperature melting wax, called Perfect Purple (I call it purple-nurple... I'm such a 5 year old), that allows me to add to the blue wax without completely distorting it with heat.

The blue tubes are for bezel setting eight 2mm diamonds...

... see, diamonds! Hehehe. The stones will be set level with the setting, but in the casting process you leave them slightly higher to make sure everything casts well.

This is the sketch and final wax. Pretty similar, huh? NOW, in the center I placed the 18K bezel set diamond belonging to the clients' grandmother just to see the scale of the pendant. There are 3 more 18K bezel set diamonds that will sit in the 3 other open swirls (the will remain in the 18K bezels and be laser welded into place... I'll explain more of that later.)

The final size of the pendant/broach is around the size of a quarter. I couldn't make it any smaller because it would loose all the details and just be crammed with the diamonds.

I decided to make an RTV mold (room temperature vulcanized) of the wax. The reason is because I spent so long on this, and for the amount of the details, I would hate for it to die in the casting process (which is not totally uncommon when dealing in platinum.) I should have it done by Thursday (before the Jeweler's Building closes for the 4th of July for a couple of weeks.)

I'll keep you posted on the progress!

BUT you may not hear from me for a few days... my computer has to go to the Apple Store because the display is going (it did this freaky fuzz out thing today!) So be patient with me and check back every once in a while!

1 comment:

Vidya said...

wow! that was awesome... thanks for the detailed process! I loved the wedding jewelery you made too!

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