For this article, I’d like to show you how to sweat solder 14kt gold soldering ornaments onto sterling silver blanks. Sweat soldering is a wonderful technique to learn. When you sweat solder you have more control of the solder, the heat, and there’s less clean-up. This technique will quickly become a favorite of yours if you’re just starting out.
Adding 14kt gold soldering ornaments really make a sterling silver piece stand out!
Let me first start by saying, that we’ve recently added dozens of soldering ornaments to our inventory. Since normally I work almost exclusively with sterling silver, it has been a lot of fun adding 14kt gold soldering ornaments into the mix. Now, there are many positive benefits to adding these gold findings. The mixed metals look beautiful, it also adds value to your jewelry designs while at the same time, the ornaments are inexpensive to purchase. The combination of these benefits truly makes it worthwhile.
Since I’ve had the opportunity to play around with these new findings, it’s given me plenty of soldering time. The first thing that I needed to decide on was what solder to use, gold or silver? I found both worked well, however, I felt that silver solder looked cleaner around the bottom of the 14kt gold ornament. The faint ring at the bottom of the ornament popped when it was a gold solder but blended when it was a silver solder. Having said that, I did choose the silver solder, but the choice is yours.
The next important choice to make was which solder to use. Since there are several types of silver solder in jewelry which one was the right one? Pallion chips? Wire? Sheet? It all depends on the size of the ornament you are soldering onto. Once it melts the solder spreads, and on an item like our small ornaments you need a tiny piece of solder. So I chose one medium pallion chip for the job. When melted it spread just enough to create a tiny hump under the ornament and when it spread it created the nice ring around the ornaments edge. If I had chosen wire, the solder piece would have spread too far and forced me to have to clean up the excess solder.
Let’s walk through the steps on how to sweat solder. There’s also a video at the bottom of the article, which shows you the soldering set-up and process as well.
What you’ll need:
3rd hands or a tripod
Sandpaper (800 grit)
Sterling silver blanks
Soldering ornaments (14kt gold)
and most importantly safety gear (apron and safety glasses)
Sweat Soldering Steps
Clean your pieces with the 800 grit sandpaper, this process will remove any oil and dirt. You will want to sand in the areas where the solder will be. In this case, the solder sits in between the sterling silver blank and the soldering ornament charm. So lightly sand the top of the blank and the bottom of the ornament. Note: Make sure you don’t touch the sanded areas after you’re finished cleaning them.
Place your ornament upside down on top of a soldering board (clean side up).
Flux, then place a small piece of medium solder in the center of it.
Turn the torch on and begin to heat the piece slowly by moving your torch in a wide circle around the ornament. This will prevent the solder from popping off while the flux dries. If it does pop off just nudge it back into place with the soldering pick. Once the flux turns white, bring the flame in and heat the ornament, keeping your flame moving the entire time. Note: Always hold your torch in your non-dominant hand, and hold the soldering pick in your dominant hand.
Once the solder melts (don’t allow it to flow yet), remove the heat and let it air cool. Note: If you are soldering a sterling silver ornament, go ahead and pickle, quench and dry it at this point.
Place your sterling silver blank into a 3rd hand (sanded side up) and raise it high enough to heat it from underneath.
Flux, then begin heating it from underneath.
Using the tweezers, carefully place the ornament (solder side down) onto the sterling silver blank (it should be fairly warm now so use caution). Make any adjustments to the ornament by using your soldering pick.
Once the solder flows, you will see the ornament drop flat down onto the sterling silver blank or you will see the solder flow just under the ornament.
Let it air cool.
Drop it into the pickle until the firescale is removed and the sterling silver is clean, remove using copper tongs.
Quench it in water and dry.
Shop at Halstead to find all of the jewelry findings and tools listed in this article.
Here are a few inspirational soldering articles :
5 Steps to Start Silver Soldering
Making Chain With Jill MacKay
Soldering Half Round Wire & Pattern Wire For Rings
Instructables Article: Granulation in Jewelry: From Start to Finish
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The post How to Sweat Solder 14kt Gold to Sterling Silver appeared first on Halstead Jewelry Blog.
We are kicking off July with an incredible jewelry collection story from Emily, also known as @GemCircus. If you’re a part of the jewelry Instagram community, you’ll easily recognize some of the jaw-dropping pieces in Emily’s personal collection. From the way she styles her necklace layers, to ring stacks, arm parties, and everything in between, we love her taste and enthusiasm for antique jewelry. I’m so excited she has agreed to share her story with us, so let’s sit back and enjoy:
My love for vintage and antique collecting started when I was a teenager, after my family moved to Vancouver, Canada, from Hong Kong in the early 1990s. I remember it was July when we arrived and I would walk to the nearby library every other day to borrow books to read (our container didn’t arrive almost a month later so all I have in my room were merely a bed, a built-in closet and my backpack). I started to notice our neighbours’ garage sales in my walks and I was amused at the things people were selling – from snow cone machines to music records, jewelry to stuff toys. That summer of looking through other people’s belongings and engaging in rapports gave me a sense of belonging and connection to the community. Ever since then I have become a frequent visitor to community flea markets, thrift shops and antique shows.
My jewelry obsession started around early twenties with vintage jewelry, in particular charms and silver filigree bracelets. I love to style them on mixed metal chains and I still love styling them now.
I wasn’t picky and didn’t have a favourite period at that time so I usually picked up quirky little things like brooches, pins, jewel “plaques” (which I found out they were called “clasps” later) etc. Even though my collecting seemed to be random at that time, I was already drawn to jewelry that have motifs, like this brass crescent with hand and arrow and the clasped hand ring that I found in a thrift store. Looking back, I believe my love for antique sentimental jewelry originates from this pair!
A lot of my Instagram followers already knew that I adore Georgian and Victorian sentimental and mourning jewelry, as well as portrait jewelry. This probably relates to my “innate sensitiveness” (as Carl Jung coined it) and the way I see jewelry as not merely an adornment but also a medium for expression, an art, an identity of who we are.
After I started reading books on lover’s eye, portrait miniature and mourning jewelry, I became obsessed with researching stories behind the jewelry that I collect. I realized that the brass crescent and the hand motif ring are not ‘funky little things’ as I thought in my teenage days, they actually carry specific meanings – love, new relationship and friendship – in the Victorian era. As my jewelry collection matures over time, I began to search for jewelry with motifs or meanings, like the urn, masquerade (masked lady), hand (figa, clasped hand, claddagh), heart (double-heart, flaming heart), star and crescent, buckle, swallow, snake, fern, acoutistic (“REGARD” and “DEAREST”) and Halley’s comet etc.
I like to think that every piece of antique jewelry carries its own story of those before us, and I’m a custodian carrying on its legacy while creating my story with my collection. I love styling and always try to mix and match, experiment with different stacking and mixed metal, and do simple conversions to make every piece wearable. You can see from my Instagram photos that I’ve worn a big opal crescent brooch with another monkey brooch in the middle, stacked seven Art Deco wedding bands to make a statement ring, wrapped my wrist with antique chains and added a micromosaic brooch on top, stacked an Art Deco paste bracelet with a Hermes red enamel bangle, wore brooches on hats, and layered antique gold chains with watch chains. The fun is endless!
I shop everywhere but recently it’s largely online as there aren’t any antique jewelry shops in Hong Kong. I love the Instagram community as I’ve met so many wonderful souls (many of whom have become friends for life) around the world that share my obsession in antique jewelry. I always visit antique and jewelry shops when I travel too. It has been a tradition to bring back a piece of jewelry from each city that I visit.
One of my obsession is Georgian masquerade jewelry: masked lady ring with ruby bonnet and rose cut diamonds from @karendeakin.antiques ; locket from @abrandtandson and the most recently acquired oval ring from @bijouxvictim
Ring stacking is a daily essential for me: Georgian blue enamel rose cut diamond urn ring from @lenoredailey ; the moonstone on the mourning ring was a gift from my jeweler in Vancouver (he has kept it for 40 years!) and it fits perfectly on the bezel of the once empty mourning ring; flat cut garnet band from @antiqueanimaljewelry
Mourning rings and figas: these enamel mourning rings are too big to wear so I usually wear them on gold chains as pendants. The twin coral figas were acquired from different continents yet they look so much alike. The one with emerald and diamonds was found in a UK auction and the one with seed pearl top was found in an antique show in Vancouver.
WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories
The new year is here and so is the new Halstead Catalog. The 2019 catalog features many of our best-selling items and new additions from 2018. Most of the items are shown at actual size to really help your planning process. As you flip through the pages, you’ll find informative articles as well as information on recommended jewelry schools and events around the country.
Here at Halstead, we love to provide support to help small businesses succeed. Our annual grant is the highlight of our year as we get to see all of the talented up and coming jewelry artists living out their dream. The 2018 grant winner was Emily Shaffer and you’re definitely going to want to check out her feature in the catalog as well as the Top 10 finalists.
Each year we also like to introduce you to the work of amazing established artists. This year, we’re showcasing Kris Schaible as our featured lampworker and Julie Sanford as our featured metalsmith. Look for them in the pages of your new catalog.
Meet Julie Sanford
Award winning metalsmith Julie Sanford grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She always had an interest in rocks and jewelry. Her dad was a serious rockhound who did lapidary work, silver jewelry fabrication and made a living electroplating organic jewelry components. He passed away at age 39 when Julie was 16. She was devastated. She decided all she wanted to was become a jewelry maker so she could use his tools, metals and stones that he collected and cut by hand.
Julie’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education from Western Michigan University. She also completed studies at The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, the Oxbow Summer Program of the Chicago Institute of Arts, Kendall College of Art and Design and The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco.
Julie has been creating quality bench-made jewelry for over twenty five years. She enjoys combining organic elements and textures with contrasting contemporary details creating one of a kind pieces that are fabricated, soldered, fused, formed, hammered and reticulated with various metals, final finishes and extraordinary gemstones. Her work is featured in galleries, books, magazines and museum stores.
Julie’s teaching experience includes visual art classroom instruction with an emphasis on curriculum integration, art history, ceramics and jewelry. Julie also has extensive experience leading jewelry related classes and workshops at national trade shows and conferences, technical schools, universities, private studios and galleries.
In 2007, Julie moved her home studio to an 800 sq. ft. commercial space and called it Studio JSD. She grew out of her little basement area and wanted a public space to teach classes. Since then, Studio JSD has evolved, grown and relocated twice. In 2015, they purchased the amazing 3500 sq. ft. space where they are currently located in Grand Haven, MI.
Julie is an artist within Studio JSD. The studio supports an exciting, vibrant, living, growing community of makers as well as local and regional instructors, artists and students. They support two private studios, 6 bench rentals, and 20 instructors with more than 100 class sessions and hundreds of students. The studio is about the people in the community, their stories and their journeys as makers.
Along with her successful jewelry design business, Julie is also the director of Studio JSD and serves as Vice President of The Michigan Silversmiths Guild.
Julie’s Top 10 Tips for Jewelry Piercing:
Have a sturdy bench pin.
Wear proper protective eyewear.
Relax your grip on the saw.
Go slow and steady – don’t push into the metal.
Breaking a saw blade isn’t the end of the world.
Use cut lube, beeswax or even regular candle wax on the blade to make cutting smoother.
Use pliers to grab a blade from the center of a new pack.
Angle blade teeth down toward the saw handle when you reload a blade.
Tension on the blade is good when you have a small “tinging” sound.
Saw straight up and down.
Get all of Julie’s best advice for sawing in the video below:
Connect with Julie
Facebook: Julie Sanford Designs
Studio JSD : www.studiojsd.com
The post Learn Sawing From Our 2019 Featured Metalsmith, Julie Sanford appeared first on Halstead Jewelry Blog.
After acclimating to normal life, and when I say normal I mean not having to take 700+ photos per day while meeting one jewelry designer after the other all while trying to look like I haven’t just slept for 4 hours and only eaten a diet that could sustain a person for a brief moment, I am happily enjoying my quiet reflection time from the Couture show. Happy to be tucked away in laid back Nashville, far from the dry air, noisy crowds and thick cigarette smoke of Vegas. But don’t get me wrong, there is a large part of me that absolutely loves everything about Vegas Jewelry Week--including all that is complained about.
One of my most favorite things to do when Couture is over is go through all my photos, take in all that I just saw and narrow down all the goodness into a small list of top jewelry trends. It is no simple task and I like to keep my trend categories somewhat pinpointed, so they are not so broad. Tracking trends and observing how these trends evolve is some science mixed with a heavy dose of anthropology, and no I don’t mean the lifestyle/clothing store.
So here are the five jewelry trend categories I’ve come up with that were the most dominate in the best way possible from Couture 2017. They are in no particular order and are illustrated using just ONE example of designers I had appointments with–there are several other pieces and designers that also captured these top jewelry trends too!
1. Rainbow Waves:
I was seeing SO MUCH rainbow around Couture; color everywhere! I was totally loving it. This trend was best exhibited by Jane Taylor Jewelry whose designs get more and more colorful every year. Every ROYGBIV fan out there can spot the gemstone that represents each spectral color. Designers are embracing color and incorporating all colors into their designs. Buyer and jewelry lovers are searching for pieces that are vibrant, colorful and play off one another while still displaying a rainbow of hues.
2. Shoulder-Duster Statement Earrings:
We’ve seen earrings trend all across the board in the past few years–from simple studs, to ear jackets, to ear climbers/crawlers…even ear cuffs. This year was all about the bold, shoulder-dusting statement earrings. Long in length, sleek in style, and statement-making in their own right. Above, I clearly saw some great examples of this trend at Lydia Courteille. These pieces were quite breath-taking and feature her signature black rhodium and rainbow of gems (which ties in with the first trend). I love Lydia’s gem choices and color combinations. We recommend this trend with pulled back hair and no necklaces.
3. Modern Geometric:
Perhaps one of my favorite trends, the modern, sculptural pieces that have a hint of geometry to them. This trend is easily showcased best by Brazilian designer Yael Sonia. Her designs exude a futuristic feel, very 3017. She uses Brazilian gemstones and each item is handcrafted in Brazil. I love the 3D cubes, spheres and the use of movement that is also incorporated into her pieces.
4. Gold Wire Necklaces:
Chains took a backseat this time around at Couture–it was all about the solid gold wire. Whether it was plain or decorated in gemstones, the wire collar can exquisitely flatter any neckline, all while making a statement. I think the gold wire has gained popularity lately because it almost resembles a choker, has the same capabilities as a regular chain, yet it is heavy, rigid and substantial. Above, one of my favorite gold wire collar necklaces found at Couture 2017–this one is by Zoe Chicco and features bezel set diamonds of various cuts set throughout the piece. It is elegant and edgy at the same time! So good!!
I was not expecting charms to be such a highlight and hit at Couture 2017, but they totally were and as a charm collector, I was loving all the interpretations I was seeing! Each designer had their own take on charms–their own motifs and ideas came to life in colorful and gem-set renditions. The most well-known being the Gemfields x MUSE collaboration charm necklace, as people are STILL talking about it! I loved Sydney Evan‘s charms (shown above) as they were quirky, fun and very colorful. Her signature motifs, like the evil eye, the word “Love,” wishbone, lips, etc. were brought to life as charms. The trend is great for many reasons–low price points, easy to collect, and the wearer can choose to wear them any way they want!
Want more? See my top picks from last year’s show!
Quadrum Gallery resides inside a mall called The Shops at Chestnut Hill
The most mouth-watering stack I’ve ever created, all rings are by Lilly Fitzgerald, shop here
Mesmerized by Paul Morelli’s designs, love the moonstones! shop here
Director of Quadrum Gallery, Sia Maravelias, shows me around as I’m entranced by all the gorgeous jewels
California-based designer Julez Bryant is one of Quadrum’s newest additions, shop here
the work of Lilly Fitzgerald inside one of the cases
Last year, Quadrum added Spinelli Kilcollin to their repertoire and it has been one of their best sellers, shop here
I love when designers’ work complements one another–here I’m wearing Moritz Glik & Sorellina
Quadrum understands that one can never have too much Gabriella Kiss Jewelry, so they keep a heavy stock! shop here
I fell in love with these whimsical gemstone charms handmade by Maria Beaulieu, shop here
Wearing two gorgeous diamond necklaces by TAP by Todd Pownell, shop here
Anthony Lent Jewelry is another new addition for Quadrum, shop here
Jewelry by Sorellina both left and right photos, shop here
Moonstone magic, all jewelry by Paul Morelli, including the engagement ring
the unique earring display for the work of Maria Beaulieu
Spinelli Kilcollin rings piled on…they go perfect with my star boots
Lilly Fitzgerald jewelry–the necklace is made of apatite, shop here
Jamie Joseph is always popular and her work is highly collected, shop here
Quadrum is an ideal place to shop for your engagement ring, look at the variety of styles! Shop more here
These watermelon tourmaline earrings by Lilly Fitzgerald were a favorite, shop here
We’ve got a mix of Sorellina, Moritz Glik, and Paul Morelli
You can stop by Quadrum Gallery any day of the week! Love that about the store…if I lived closer, I would be there all the time 🙂
More Gabriella Kiss, this time on my hands! shop here
Gabriella Kiss designs lots of unique pieces, all shown here
Wearing Julez Bryant–check out my geometric ear stack! shop here
Up close shot of the two Moritz Glik rings (“shaker” diamonds) and Sorellina band
The outside of Quadrum Gallery, where you can easily spend hours gasping and coveting.
Another shot of the Spinelli Kilcollin rings, shop here
Gabriella Kiss rings lined up all in a row, ready for new homes!
For over 39 years Quadrum Gallery has paved its own way, formed its own niche, and outshined ordinary jewelry stores both locally and across the US. There’s something to be said about a store that can march to the beat of its own drum and their success is because of this. Cynthia Kagan – the owner of Quadrum – had the passion and vision of creating this space known for its unique and exciting mix of artisans and jewelry designers. The artists represented can easily wow with a single glance. I was laughing as I was going through the photos taken from my very fun visit to Quadrum early on a Wednesday morning–every photo of myself I have my mouth open in a state of euphoria, most likely verbalizing the words WHOA or WOW, because that’s all I could say. The jewelry is just as special as each designer’s story is–what inspires them to create, where they are based, how they started…Quadrum is full of magic and I’m excited to share my visit with you all!
Sia Maravelias has been director of Quadrum for over 12 years, with 18 years total of working at the store, and has an enormous passion for jewelry. I also met with Amy Renneisen, assistant director who is equally addicted to jewelry as well. Playing with jewelry all day is just a tiny fraction of what these women do on a daily basis. One of their most favorite things is interacting with their dedicated clients who follow profusely on Instagram, print out their own wish lists from scrolling through the website, and are counting down days until their favorite designers host a trunk show at the store. Sia recalls, “Our Gabriella Kiss trunk shows create some large crowds in our store…it is always so much fun!”
Quadrum is exclusively designer-centered, meaning they don’t create their own in-house line of jewelry or have a repair shop on site. With the focus being on the artists, the store has become a destination. The selection is one of the most unique and distinct out there, having formed some of the longest-running relationships with certain designers. A great example of this is they’ve carried Barbara Heinrich for over 32 years, John Iversen, Reinstein/Ross, and Pat Flynn all over 20 years! Every year the Couture show is a tradeshow the team looks forward to and is often when they scout out a select few new additions to their artist lineup. This year they’ve added Anthony Lent, Sorellina, Moritz Glik and Julez Bryant.
Another aspect that I highly admire about Quadrum is something I just learned of when I visited. They do all their own photography, as well as their website and social media. All photography has been self-taught and it is honestly some of the best I’ve seen. Jewelry photography is no easy feat and those in the business know this quite well. I also love how both Sia and Amy have their own Instagram pages aside from the main Quadrum Gallery page. Both of their Instagrams are dripping with inspiration, whether it is how to stack or style some of the pieces from the store or new arrivals headed to the cases. You can follow Sia at @jewelry_maven and Amy at @thegemdiaries
Thanks so much for having me and I will forever be dreaming of all the incredible jewelry I saw while visiting.
While researching this article on silver jewelry solder, I was surprised by how much I learned. I did not know much about the science behind soldering and it was fascinating to learn about the process in more depth.
Soldering joins two or more metal surfaces by using a compatible alloy that flows at a lower melting point and creates a permanent bond. It is important that the solder flows at a lower temperature so your metal surfaces will remain solid and hold their form. As you heat material, the atoms that form the metal start to separate. This separation allows the solder, when it flows, to enter those spaces and bond to the original material. The solder has now created a tight fit with the material and the pieces are bonded.
Having now learned the science behind soldering and how the metals intermingle, I, of course, had other questions. What are the metal alloys in solder? Why are those metal alloys chosen? What makes the solder flow faster than the material it’s bonding to? So after hours of researching my questions, let’s see if I can answer them here.
Understand your Material
Know the ins-and-outs of the material you’re working with. It’s important when applying solder, that the melting point of the solder is lower than the metal you are working with. If you were applying solder to a metal in your piece that melted quickly, your piece would become ruined before the solder had a chance to flow. For instance, pewter melts at about 500° F, but easy silver solder doesn’t melt until it reaches 1145° F. So if you wanted to solder two pieces of pewter together and used easy silver solder, the pewter would be a melted mess but the silver solder wouldn’t be even close to flowing yet. A list of melting points for common jewelry materials is included below in this section.
Note: It’s always important to check the melt and flow points between your material and the solder; it could vary between vendors and solders. The words Easy, Medium and Hard are not standardized to fixed temperatures.
Silver Solder Alloys
Silver solder has other metals, besides silver, alloyed into it. The alloy is primarily silver but the additional metals provide sought-after characteristics for the purpose of bonding. Copper (Cu) is soft and a great heat conductor plus it’s resistant to corrosion. Zinc (Zn) and tin (Sn) have really low melting points, which lowers the overall melting point of the solder. All the silver solders sold at Halstead are lead and cadmium-free. You can find out more of the specifics by reading the SDS sheets on item detail pages on our website, however, the majority of silver solders have a combination of silver, copper, and zinc and the percentage of each metal varies depending on the solder flow point. The solder metal alloys and general percentages are listed in the chart below.
Silver Solder Melt & Flow Points
In the chart below, you will find the melt and flow points. As I stated earlier in understanding your materials, you must always be sure that the solder you are using flows at a lower temperature than the materials you are joining. When working with silver, the melting point for .999 fine silver is 1761° F and with sterling silver, it is 1640° F. With solder, there are multiple flow points available because of the complexity of multi-step soldering.
A multi-step soldering piece requires you to solder different joins without having previous solders re-flow. So, your first solder join would be done using hard solder with the highest melting point, the next join would be completed using medium with a slightly lower flow point so the first join does not come apart and so on. It is important to carefully think through your fabrication plan.
While I was in school, one of our assignments was to create a lidded vessel. The lidded vessel below had 13 solder joins! Tackle a multi-step soldering piece like a puzzle, you have to have a well-thought-out design in advance. Then, figure out all of the individual solder joins, decide when and how to use each solder without reflowing a previous join.
Since there are not 13 different flow points available, I had to problem solve to join several seams at the same melting temp with each heat application. The first solder must be hard with a high flow point, that way when you use medium solder next, it will flow at a lower temperature than the hard solder leaving those joins intact. What about soft and easy solders? Figuring it out was a challenge as a beginner, but worth it to learn this important lesson.
Brazing vs. Soldering
Technically, anything flowing under 800º F is called soldering, anything over 800 degrees F is called brazing. Yep, we’re technically brazing and not soldering, folks. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever “soldered” in my life. However, the lingo in the field is “soldering,” so we will stick with that convention.
Forms of Silver Solder
Solder comes in 5 basic forms: pallion chips, paste, wire, sheet, and powder. I’ve tried four of these, unfortunately, the opportunity to try the powder form hasn’t come up yet because it is fairly uncommon in jewelry applications. But here’s information about each option and their best applications.
Pallion chips: Pallion chips are tiny clipped pieces of solder alloy that can be easily moved with a solder pick. Exact size varies but these are often just 1×1 millimeters or even smaller! I was disappointed when I first tried pallion chips because I used them on a piece that needed more solder than the chips provided. My first reaction was wrong; now, I wouldn’t use anything else on chain links, jump rings or small soldering ornaments. I quickly learned with experience that the trick is to add more chips along a join if you need more solder. The small size of chips means you can easily scale the amount of solder you need in very small increments. When working on smaller joins, Pallion chips are a must!
Paste: This comes in a syringe and is a mixture of flux, binder, and powdered solder. The shelf life on paste is about one year. My experience with paste is that it bubbles, pops and is porous after it flows, plus I’m not crazy about the limited shelf life. The part that I can see as an appeal to others would be that the flux is mixed in so that’s one less step. It is also clean and portable if you are creating work outside of your studio on a regular basis. Also, if you use it for closing jump rings and links it can really speed up production work. What about using it with a filigree piece? I personally have never done a filigree piece but a peer in the Orchid Community swears by it.
While paste solder may not be the best type of solder to use when sizing rings or fabricating from sheet, it is excellent for hand fabricating filigree jewelry. My primary focus is filigree and I use a lot of paste solder. I also use it to attach findings ie. ear posts, jump rings etc to my filigree pieces. The joints are strong and do not fail.
~ Milt Fischbein
Wire: My go-to solder form. I love using wire solder the most. It can stay in wire form or be clipped and flattened with a hammer, or it can be short or long depending on the work you’re doing. It has more versatility than the others so this form is my favorite. A short segment of wire solder goes a long way. It’s also easy to pigtail wire solder with different loops to signify the flow temperature points. That way you never have to worry about mixing up your solders!
Sheet: Sheet solder is ideal for large-scale projects where you need a large area joined, such as sculptural pieces or vessels. It’s versatile just like wire solder and is easy to use, especially when sweat soldering two flat pieces together. It’s easy to use too much when you are trimming from sheet solder, so remember that less is usually better so you don’t have too much clean up work.
Powdered: Powdered solder is created by filing solder ingots. You can use it either with a liquid flux or borax and I’ve heard that it works well for intricate joins.
As you progress in soldering, you’ll learn different techniques. Each one has its usefulness, depending on the job at hand. Below are the four common techniques used while soldering:
Standard soldering – This is the most common method of soldering. You lay your solder (chip, wire, sheet or paste form) over the join and heat with a torch either from the top or underneath.
Pick soldering – This keeps a lot of heat off of your piece until the end. I like this method when doing fragile work such as chain links, pattern wire and hard to reach areas. Lay a piece of solder on your soldering board, heat it until it rolls into a ball and then pick it up with your soldering pick. Keeping your heat on the ball of solder, move it to the join and then hold it there at the end of the pick until it flows right where you need it to go.
Sweat soldering – If you’re soldering two pieces together, this is a great way to control your solder flow. Place one piece upside down on your soldering board. Lay solder down on it, then heat it until the solder melts, then remove the heat immediately (you want to find that spot where the solder melts but has not reached the point of flowing). Flip the piece over onto the other one, solder side between the two. Heat from the top or underneath until the solder flows, making sure to heat the entire piece you want it soldered to.
Stick soldering – Keeping your wire solder uncut, heat the end of the wire and let the solder flow while moving the wire stick around to the areas that need soldering. This soldering technique requires a precise flame, otherwise, you will end up using far more solder than needed.
Tips for Choosing the Right Solder for the Job
Anytime you fix a visible repair seam try to use the harder solder because the higher silver content can make all the difference between an invisible seam or a tarnished one.
You have two choices to make:
Solder form: chips, paste, wire or sheet
First, when choosing flow temperature, don’t automatically choose the easy and soft flow temperature solders, those actually may be worse in the long run. If you have a visible seam the more silver content in the solder the better. So choose the hard solder (75% silver content) rather than a softer solder with lower silver content. This will slow down the tarnishing on that seam. This tip is more crucial on visible seams.
Having said that, if you have multiple seams on a piece, to prevent the previous joins from re-flowing, use correction fluid or another means of blocking the solder. Yes, there are clean-up steps that you need to take, but I would rather have a longer lasting seam, and less tarnish, than the few extra minutes it takes to wipe on and clean off a little white-out.
Note: When using liquid correction fluid, be sure that you have proper ventilation and that you wear a mask. The fumes can be toxic.
When doing tiny findings, such as finer gauge jump rings, chain links or earring posts, use soft solder. Otherwise, its easy to melt your material right along with the solder. The seams on objects this size are barely noticeable and the findings themselves can’t take a lot of heat, so get in and out as quickly as possible.
Second, choose the right solder type for the job. Don’t use a long piece of solder wire on a jump ring when you can use one tiny pallion chip. As a beginner, I know because I did this, you tend to use far too much solder. I used to flood pieces and then work twice as hard cleaning and finishing than I ever needed to.
Many jewelers stick mostly to one form as their “go-to,” but it can be useful to have different options available in the studio.
Federal Trade Commission Rules
Legally, in the United States, in order to call a piece sterling silver, the alloy has to meet the specifications below:
Sterling Silver = .925 (92.5% silver)
Time and time again, I see inquiries about sterling silver soldered items. Jewelers new to the field worry about the purity of the silver after soldering. The FTC established rules regarding minor variances between batches of manufactured materials. Here are the tolerances for sterling silver based on the National Stamping Act:
.921 = Unsoldered Items
.915 = Soldered items
As you can see in the solder alloy chart above, silver solder has quite a bit of silver in it. It is unlikely to lower the silver content of an entire jewelry piece enough to fall below the legal requirements because of the alloyed metals in a small solder join. The only time I would worry about it is if I did a fine silver filigree piece with many joins or an intensely granulated design with solder over an entire surface. Here is what Milt Fischbein said about filigree work and soldering:
“My filigree wire is always fine silver and my filigree frames are always sterling silver. Paste solder that I use is about 65% silver. I use as little paste as possible, so it doesn’t depress the silver content much. A typical pendant might be about half sterling and half fine silver, although this varies quite a bit depending on the design. Taking it a bit further, if a final piece contained as much as 5% solder, and 45% fine and 50% sterling, it would assay at 94.5% silver. So I always mark my filigree 925. as it should always assay higher and is very unlikely to assay lower.”
If you are concerned about a piece, you can always send it off to a lab for testing, that way you can be certain of the results. However, lab tests are destructive so you would need to sacrifice a sample. This is only practical if you are designing a production piece that you intend to produce in quantities.
Halstead is one of North America’s leading distributors of jewelry supplies. The firm is celebrating their 46th anniversary this year. Halstead specializes in wholesale findings, chain, tools and metals for jewelry artists.
Milt Fischbein has been creating jewelry for about 25 years now. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from McGill University, but 6 years ago he began to focus on fabricating filigree jewelry. You can read his full bio and CV on his website: mfmetalarts, where you can also find his filigree jewelry, tiaras, and crowns. He has taken dozens of courses with teachers such as Alan Revere, Michael David Sturlin, Gerry Lewy and Charles Lewton Brain.
You’ll be enchanted forever by this ring, up for bid at Leslie Hindman Auction in Chicago, IL — this is lot 87 in the three-day bidding extravaganza.
Four mesmerizing opals are on the block at Leslie Hindman, day one, and they come back-to-back in lots 377-380. Get your bidding paddles up!
Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers jewelry headquarters in Chicago, IL. To say I’ve got some perspective on how an auction house runs is far from the truth, but I came away being able to put faces with names, insight into a typical day, and a brief intake of the enormous amount of sparkle the jewelry department works with. It was one of my most favorite experiences of this year! Now when I hear that Leslie Hindman has an upcoming auction this September (the 10th-12th to be exact) I have more context of the event, as they are excited to bring a three-day extravaganza with some heavy and hard-hitting bidding in the future. This three-day auction will feature over 1500 items of all price points and eras. If you like big and bold, Victorian or Modern, opals or rubies, they’ve got something for everyone.
Let’s take a look at some of my top picks:
Lot 6: Nothing beats an Etruscan Revival basketweave wrap bracelet! This is such a fine example and I love the gemstones used on it–sapphire and diamonds! It gives it a cool look against the warm yellow gold. I also love the granulation work, in both excellent and ready-to-wear condition. This piece may date back to 1870, but never looked more trendy than on an elegant wrist in 2017. Estimate: $3,000-5,000
Lot 55: Lately I’ve written several articles on engagement rings and I’ve been finding that women are wanting something traditional but with a twist! This ring speaks volumes with just the small accent sapphires, as it makes the ring totally unique. The piece is Art Deco and set with a 3.24 carat Old European cut diamond in the center. Love the style and think it should belong to someone who will treasure it as an engagement ring. Estimate: $10,000-15,000
Lot 68: I’ve seen the benefits of purchasing pieces that are convertible and this is a fine example of a two-in-one! Meet the silver-topped diamond pendant/brooch of your dreams. This piece totals over five carats of old cut diamonds and radiates from every angle. I could picture it being worn on a chain or worn pinned to a collar. The possibilities are really endless. Estimate: $4,000-6,000
Lot 86: The only kind of bugs I like are jewelled insects! This guy is one for the books–look how cute he is. Set with rose cut diamonds all-original to the piece and a jaw-dropping opal back. I love the detail on the textured gold legs and the ruby eyes. It’s all in the details. Estimate: $2,000-3,000
Lot 111A: Plique a jour is jewelry’s version of stained glass and I must say, I don’t own a single piece of this beautiful artform. These earrings though, should and would be the best first piece of plique a jour to add to my collection. I love the colors and I love the design. They are 18k yellow gold and feature 12 brilliant cut diamonds. Estimate: $500-700
Lot 118: This diamond and ruby ring stopped me in my tracks. Wow. It is done in platinum and set with a marquise cut in the center, with calibre French cut rubies and round diamond accents. It is pristinely made and you can see the remarkable craftsmanship even in the photo alone–now I want to see it in person! It could be yours on September 10th. Estimate: $4,500-6,500
Lot 124: This ring is so cool for so many reasons! Let’s start with the fact that it has contrasting metals–rose gold and platinum. The design is also pretty amazing, and the different metals really play off this element. The rubies are actually different, if you already couldn’t tell–one is synthetic and the other is genuine. Such a stunning ring. Estimate: $4,500-6,500
Lot 300: The coolest earrings I ever did see. These are actually diamond studs with detachable jackets that easily slip on/off the earring posts. There are four jackets total, so lots of possibilities here! And the style of these has never been more on-trend. Geometric and angular, love them. The diamond studs total 2.26 carats. Estimate: 3,000-5,000
Lot 487: I had to include this insane emerald ring because of its colossal size–then I read further and realized it is a piece by Judy Geib. A true artist who hand makes everything herself–fun fact: did you know she taught herself how to make jewelry? No formal training. Her pieces are known for their juxtapositions–like beauty and rawness, fine gold mixed with silver. Estimate: $4,500-6,500
Lot 509: Iconic and chic, I had to include this cuff bracelet from Verdura into my favorites list! It is easily recognizable as a Verdura statement piece. Done in 18k yellow gold, set with peridot, amethyst, and diamond and complete with the Maltese cross enameled in black. What a special bracelet. Estimate: 28,000-38,000
This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Leslie Hindman.
Haute couture is one-of-a-kind creations crafted from the finest materials by skilled artisans using century-old techniques. Haute couture had humble beginnings. In 1858, an English couturier, Charles Frederick Worth, established the first haute couture house in Paris championing exclusive luxury fashion for the upper-class woman and coining the term “fashion designer” in lieu of the basic dressmaker. Today, haute couture is still synonymous with high-quality materials and workmanship. And when haute couture meets haute joaillerie (high jewelry), the result is transformative! The jewelry becomes an extension of the designer’s vision for his or her collection creating a complete story – one that is truly a work of art!
GIAMBATTISTA VALLI AND ELEUTERI:
Giambattista Valli accessorized his haute couture collection, comprising of ethereal tulle gowns, draped silk chiffon dresses and embellished minis with exquisite vintage jewels from Eleuteri. The jewels focused mainly on bracelets featuring a glorious 1950s French amethyst and turquoise piece as well as a intricate jade and gold design from David Webb and several Tubogas wristwatches from Bulgari.
PICTURE Credit FROM VOGUE.COM
GUO PEI AND CHOPARD:
The Chinese designer made a name for herself when she dressed singer Rihanna in yellow couture for the MET’s “China through the Looking Glass” gala and red carpet. For her haute couture collection, she collaborated with Chopard paying homage to the golden era of haute couture and Hollywood icons of the 50s. The results were a perfect fusion of Chinese and Western cultures, high fashion and exquisite jewels.
The deep jewel toned hues of Pei’s dresses paired effortlessly with Chopard’s the Silk Road collection, which featured an emerald bib necklace, diamond and pearl drop earrings and an amethyst pendant necklace. The Chopard jewels complemented the opulence and extravagance of Pei’s couture collection perfectly.
PICTURE credit FROM ZIMBIO.COM /GETTY
This post was contributed by:
Laura Lee Fulham | T: @WhoWoreWhatDly | W: www.whoworewhatdaily.com
The price of a rolling mill can be staggering, they vary anywhere from $150-$3500 for large, electric rolling mills. This is no small investment, especially if you are an artist just starting out with your first one. With larger machines, rollers are purchased separately, which can be a costly expense. Try a less expensive rolling mill to start, which will give you insight into how you’ll use it. The rolling mill we carry at Halstead, comes with 5 rollers, covering everything you need to get started. Later, if you choose to upgrade, you’ll know what rollers you use and it can better suit your needs. Here are 5 ways to use a rolling mill, caring tips, and a maintenance/breakdown video to help get you started.
1. Emboss Patterns on Sheet Metal
The number one reason I used our studio rolling mill was to run brass pattern sheets through it. It was fun to imprint patterns onto the annealed copper sheet. I would quickly have patterns on a copper metal sheet which were ready to go. We also annealed copper and ran found objects through. Leaves, flowers, twigs and soft screening materials can all be used. Always anneal the metal that you want to emboss on. Using a rolling mill in this capacity is lots of fun and quite satisfying; however, there’s so much more it can do.
Steel objects such as mesh, saw blades and other hard objects will permanently damage a roller. Steel is extremely hard on the rollers, it can leave scratches and gouge them. When the rollers are damaged, they need to be shipped out to be resurfaced, which is costly and time-consuming. If running steel through the rolling mill, sandwich the steel between two soft metal sheets. That way the steel never makes contact with the rollers.
2. Melt and Roll Scrap into Usable Sheet
It wasn’t until I attended Michael David Sturlin’s retreat that I realized how important a rolling mill is and I really learned to appreciate it. It was the first time that I ever saw scrap metal melted into an ingot. Next, I watched as Michael ran that ingot through a rolling mill until he had flattened it into the gauge that he needed. This is what he does with his scrap metal. Rather than sending it off for money, if he needs a gauge and he doesn’t have it on hand he just melts and rolls it.
Separate all of your scraps. Dedicate specific jars for copper, brass, and sterling silver scrap.
3. Draw Down Wire Gauges
This new outlook on rolling mills really changed how I felt about them as tools. One day I put it to the test on a project I was recently working on. I was learning how to wire wrap and we had run short of a gauge that I needed. It occurred to me that our rolling mill came with wire rollers, so I unwrapped them from their boxes and above is what I found. There a total of 5 rollers that came with this rolling mill. The two flat rollers that were always on the machine, long and short wire rollers and a short textured roller (this textured roller has two mesh patterns on it. What fun that was to discover!).
After switching out the rollers I started with a larger gauged wire and rolled it through the mill. I found myself rolling it down until it was the gauge I needed and the problem was solved. It worked perfectly.
If you want half-round wire just leave the flat roller on the bottom and place a wire roller on the top.
4. Harden your Sheet Metal
Occasionally you’ll need to harden your metal and a rolling mill works great for hardening sheet and wire. You’ve already learned that if you want to imprint your metal it needs to be annealed, however, every pass you make through the rolling mill is work hardening your metal. It can harden to the point of cracking in just a few passes, so when hardening your metal just pass it through the rollers to get the temper you need, but don’t exceed the passes and damage the metal either.
Tip: Rollers bend your metal. Don’t feel frustrated when it happens because it’s an easy fix. Use a bench block, and a rawhide or nylon hammer to flatten it right back out without damaging or moving the metal.
5. Fold Forming
Yes, you can fold form without a rolling mill, but the creases in your metal will be so much more pronounced if you run it through a rolling mill. Your metal folds will be tighter and look so much sharper that you may use a rolling mill with all of your fold formed jewelry. Give it a try and see what you think!
Caring for your Rolling Mill
Gears & Handle
I’ve spent time with Michael David Sturlin in his studio and in ours. He’s one of my mentors and he passed along some important tips on rolling mills. But first a little about Michael. Michael travels to schools and studios teaching courses and classes. He also runs week-long retreats at his home studio in Scottsdale, AZ. His insight is extremely valuable to me. Second, a rolling mill is not a disposable item. This is an expensive machine for the majority, so caring for your machine can be the difference between a machine that lasts for years and one that breaks early on.
Michael said, when I asked him for tips and suggestions regarding rolling mills, “The issue with breakage is usually with the gears. On smaller or lesser quality mills, if undue force is applied, it’s possible for the gear teeth to break, usually with the gear attached to the handle.”
One tip I suggest is to not attempt too much reduction in one pass if there is too much resistance as you start to roll, open the rollers slightly.
~ Michael David Sturlin
Proper Rolling Mill Height
Another tip from Michael combines ergonomics and posture, efficiency and long-term damage to your body (and we know it’s never too early to do it right the first time). “The proper elevation is placing the mill so that the handle at the top of the rotation is aligned with the outstretched arm, parallel with the floor. Generally, this will place the handle at the bottom of the rotation at the position of the hand hanging at your side, pointing down towards the floor. This varies a little depending on the size of the mill and the length of the handle. If the mill is on a low table it forces the user to bend over as they use it and if the mill is too high it forces the shoulder to extend as the handle is pushed up a the top of the swing. Either of those positions will encourage back and shoulder problems.”
He also added suggestions to raise your rolling mill to the proper height: “For most situations, a 4 x 4 inch or 4 x 6 inch might suffice. I did not have that dimension of wood at hand so I stacked up two sections of 2-inch boards. People can check in the lumber department of their home improvement store, quite often there is a cut-off or scrap bin where they can find an odd or end piece for very little cost.” This discussion made me realize that our studio rolling mill is too short and when attending school and at studios, they have been bolted to average size tables. When I made that observation to him, his reply was: “Quite often in academic teaching environments, they have the rolling mills bolted to a table that is way too low. Commercial rolling mill stands are made with quite a high platform to bolt the mill too, ensuring the mill is at the proper height.”
After annealing your metal, dry it thoroughly before running it through the rolling mill. Water can damage it by causing rust and corrosion over time, so never run anything wet through it.
Clean and dry metal is the heart of the issue.
~ Chris Contos
My jewelry instructor at Yavapai college, Chris Contos, explained to me why the school rolling mill was locked up tight. “The rolling mill was locked to prevent untrained hands from destroying it. The old roller had scars from unprotected steel and surface etching from the pickle. Ideally, the rollers should be kept as pristine as possible. Some folks like to wipe a light oil onto roller surfaces after each working session before it sits idle. In a college studio, the ideal is not always practical or possible.”
Storing your Rolling Mill
When you purchase a new rolling mill it will come heavily greased in oil. That’s a good thing! Always keep your rolling mill and rollers greased in a 3-to-1 gear oil which will protect your mill from corrosives. This is especially important during transport via ocean freight, so new mills have a lot of protective grease during transit. To remove it, use rags to wipe away the excess, but don’t use water or liquid cleaners. You want a little bit of grease to remain on the mill to keep it in good working order. When rolling metal through your mill you can wipe the extra oil off of your rollers with a soft cloth or paper towel. When finished, simply re-grease it with the 3-in-1 oil before storing it.
Finally, place a bag or box over your rolling mill to protect it against dust and debris and other harmful things.
Here at Halstead, we sell an economy rolling mill for under $350.00. We’ve had this same one in the studio for three years now, and it’s perfect for our needs. Below is a video which shows you a breakdown of the rolling mill that we carry here. Remember, a rolling mill will last for years, as long as you care for it.
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The post 5 Ways to Use a Rolling Mill in your Jewelry Studio and Maintenance Primer appeared first on Halstead Jewelry Blog.
Jennifer Lopez may have been one of the originators, but now there seems to be a resurgence in the popularity of hoop earrings and celebrities are following suit.
What makes this hoop trend new? Crank the typical thin metal circle hoop earrings up a notch… or 12 notches! We’ve spotted all kinds of luxe versions of the hoop earring — from diamond color coated to encrusted opal slices. Hoops are competing as the new statement earrings on the red carpet.
Not to mention they have a remarkable way of framing the face and are extremely adaptable in size to fit anyone’s face shape. They’re quintessential and dependable. Hoop shaped earrings have been a powerful symbol in numerous cultures throughout history. The oldest earrings archaeologists have discovered belong to Sumerian women who lived in 2500 BC, and favoured the classic gold hoop style.
Hoop earrings are a foolproof, classic staple and if you don’t have a pair of hoop earrings in your jewelry box, check out these celebrity looks for inspiration to add a pair now!
Hailey Baldwin demonstrating that one pair of hoop earrings is never enough. Hailey wearing 2 pairs of gold hoop earrings from Jennifer Fisher Jewelry at the iGo.live launch event.
Jennifer Lopez wore Harry Winston three row diamond hoop earrings at the ‘Rei Kawakubi/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between’ Costume Institute Gala 2017. She also wore a pair of bold gold Samira hoop earrings by Jennifer Fisher Jewelry in her new music video for ‘Amor Amor Amor’.
Nicki Minaj wore oversized diamond hoop earrings by Lynn Ban at the 2017 MTV VMAs.
Rihanna prefers colored diamond encrusted hoop earrings. She wore Rihanna Loves Chopard pink sapphire hoop earrings to the LA premiere of Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets. She also wore yellow diamond hoop earrings by Jacob & Co. at the launch of her Fenty Beauty, pictured here.
Singer Rita Ora wore diamond Tiffany and Co. hoops at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards.
Sarah Paulson wearing diamond Jasmine hoop earrings by Nirav Modi at the 2017 Screen Actor Guild Awards.
PICTURE credit all GETTY, with the exception of Rihanna photo via WIRE IMAGE
This post was contributed by:
Laura Lee Fulham | T: @WhoWoreWhatDly | W: www.whoworewhatdaily.com