I thought I’d talk you through (well in pictures anyway) the process of making a gold and amber pendant using traditional goldsmithing techniques. I didn’t have anyone at hand to take photos of me soldering and polishing so you will just have to imagine me with my blow torch or at my polishing wheel doing those processes. By the way, this was a commission I handmade in Brighton for a client for her mothers birthday several months ago.
- 18ct gold sheet 1 mm thickness
- 6mm round amber cabochon stone
- 18ct gold bezel strip
- 18ct gold solder
Having worked out the size requirements and purchased the raw materials , I cut a strip off the gold sheet to use for the bail (loop to attach the pendant to a chain). Then I cut a hole in the gold sheet where the amber cabochon stone would sit to allow maximum light through. Then I soldered the bezel strip (the mount for the stone) in place around the hole.
My client had a good idea of how she wanted the design to look so I scored and cut the gold sheet into a tapered shape according to her request. I soldered the pieces I’d removed back onto the pendant to make this unique and interesting shape.
I hammered the top part of the pendant on a curved former to give it an elegant curve. To form the bail I annealed (heat softened) the spare strip of metal, hammered, filed and curved it into a tapered shape to echo the shape of the pendant. This was then soldered into position on the back of the pendant. I set the amber stone in its setting using a rub over technique.
Finally I had the reverse of the gold and amber pendant engraved and hallmarked.
And to finish I removed scratches from the gold with various grades of emery paper and polished the pendant with Tripoli and Rouge (jewellers polish).
Voila ! A beautiful handmade personalised birthday gift.
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