I’m always looking for ways to reuse my scrap / offcuts of silver, as you’ll know, there are invariably some pieces left when sawing out a shape, or trimming a wire, and there are only so many times I can squeeze another shape from the outer edge!
This is the latest addition to my regular family of pieces – the Budleigh Pebble
Budleigh is one of our favourite coastal towns to visit. Because it’s all pebbles, there are usually fewer children at the beach, allowing for a quieter and more peaceful visit. For a while I had some jewellery in a gallery, and it was a lovely excuse to pop over there for a brisk walk along the crunchy foreshore.
These pebbles are flush set with 3mm round and cushion cut gemstones. I’ve made small pendants, droppers for bracelets and bangles and rings, and am in the process of adding the range to my website and making more statement pieces. Keep an eye on my website and social media if you are interested to see them.
What I love to do is to offset the gems, so that there’s a bit of a wonk to the piece, in keeping with my general wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey aesthetic
Take a charcoal block, and if you are aiming for matching sizes, drill a divot into it to use to give a boundary to the circumference of each pebble
Weighing the scrap also helps to get an even match of sizes if you want matching pebbles or if you want to know what to use to repeat the results
Drop your scrap into borax for flux and then into the divot on the charcoal block, don your safety equipment and apply heat – I’m using #SmeltyMelty tip #18 for full eco-warrior status – and once the silver has all melted together and started spinning, remove the heat and move onto your next piece. Once the silver is no longer red hot, you can pick it out and quench it, then pickle to remove the oxides.
I only ever use clean scrap for my projects – any that has the possibility of solder contamination* ( for example if it’s been sawn from the inside of a bezel setting or the outer of a backplate ) goes into a special scrap pot I keep ready to send off for refinement.
After pickling, I file up any areas that look like they need it, and this is where #IreneTheForedom comes in particularly handy – I have a little silicone set of sanding discs and also some sandpaper discs, and I grip the pebble with parallel pliers, and run through the various grades of sanding discs until I get the desired finish. Then they go for a tumble in #BettyTheBarrel so I can quality assure them.
Once they are out of the tumbler, I’ll check them over, resand / file as necessary and repeat.
If I’m going to drill a hole through for a pendant / dropper I’ll anneal before drilling and insert the jumpring.
Repickling after soldering the jumpring / the pebble to a ring band. Then I drill the seat for the stone, setting the stone and careful polishing afterwards.
*If you choose to use contaminated scrap, you are likely to have an issue should you send it for Assay, or have significantly more filing and clean up to do, and of course if you are selling it, you’d need to advise your customers that the content of silver would be lower
Find more photos of these Budleigh Pebble rings in my online shop at www.DawnGillDesigns.com
ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month?
Contact Kate via her Contact Me page, or leave a comment on her ScrapHappy post. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We all welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month,
Here are the links for the ScrapHappy gang, some of whom post every month, some of whom (like me!) are rather less prolific
Kate, Gun, Eva, Sue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose