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Making Jewelry Storybook–Orange Citrine Necklace

The gem: a decahedron (12-sided) double star cut orange citrine, 13+ carats.

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The setting before soldering, with the seat ring at the top ready to be put in after the setting is soldered.

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The setting is soldered and the seat is soldered inside the setting. Now I’m working on the crown with a file. This file is sharp! I have a band-aid on to prevent cutting myself with the file.

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I’m refining the crown with a small hand file. Notice I now have 2 band-aids on because I cut my other finger with the sharp file, and I don’t want to keep having bloody fingers. Super glue is great for putting cuts back together, but need to prevent them in the first place.

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I’m polishing the crown setting with a pumice wheel.

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This shows the completed crown setting. You can see the seat ring soldered inside. This is for the stone to lay on. The crown points have relief cuts to protect the sides of the stone from chipping, and so the points will bend over more easily, since it’s made from heavy gauge sheet. A bail for the chain has been soldered on, and it’s pre-polished before setting.

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This is the completed necklace with the stone set.

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A little better photo with a close up of the stone.

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And the final piece with the neck wire that has a spring compression clasp. The neck wire looks a little odd in the photo because it has a slight curve in it to compensate for laying on the collarbones so that the wire looks circular in appearance.

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Hope you enjoyed the photo journey of how a piece is made. If you want to see stories of other pieces, vist the category, “Making Jewelry Storybook.” Thanks for visiting!

On the Bench

Just finished! This is a giant almost orange decahedron (12 sides) double cut buff top citrine in a sterling silver necklace. Oh, this gem is gorgeous! It has sparkle like you cannot believe. I can’t wait until I get some good photos of it! I’ll have a Storybook on this one as soon as I get some nice photos of the completed piece.

Orange citrine pendant

Giant orange citrine pendant

This one is just finished too. OK, I work on a bunch of things consecutively, so it doesn’t seem like I’m doing anything, then all of a sudden there’s a bunch of pieces done. These really pretty pieces have complex executions, so it takes awhile to complete them. This one will have a Storybook on how I made it too.

 

Drusy and garnet pendant

Handmade drusy and garnet pendant

This particular piece began as just sheet. I hand etched the Celtic pattern into it, cut it out, made the hinges, did the hinge pin catch assembly and set it with amethysts on both the top and the bottom. Everybody who got a sneak peak preview at the opening of the jewelry show was fascinated with the catch. (Thank you Jean Stark for teaching me that catch–elegant.) They were pulling it up, unfastening, putting it on, fastening the thing. Repeat. All the extra tight hinge allowances have now loosened to their proper tension. It didn’t go in that show, but will be going in another, and then off to a gallery.

Handmade Celtic bangle bracelet

Handmade hinged Celtic bracelt with amethysts

Update

OK, things don’t go to plan. The 3rd installment of how to clean jewelry has video problems, as in–it sucks. The plan was to do it over, but the weather wasn’t cooperating so my daughter could get in to do the filming. Believe me, it’ll be worth the wait, okay?

There was the usual Christmas rush and my usual “I don’t want to see a piece of metal or a stone for a month!” I’m over it now.

I do my usual slow period stuff, redo the website (that’s the Metals and Gems one), do the taxes, sketch a lot and do my pretty stuff that makes my heart sing. Like the one above, which is a doublecut decahedron (that’s 12 sides) buff top almost orange yummy citrine. I think it’s about 13 carats. Oh, and it’s what passes as spring here in Wyoming, so I’m busy with planting.

Soon, I’ll be migrating the blog over to WordPress, because it has a lot more options and is easier for people reading it to navigate. Yet another thing I have to learn. Good for the brain cells, right?

I had a big arthritis flare, unable to use my hands much and couldn’t sit because of the hip. The medicine the rheumatologist put me on is pretty rough on the system too. Did you know they use chemotherapy drugs for advanced arthritis? I have a whole new respect for people going through chemotherapy–they take a lot more than I do! I feel like a pathetic wuss.

My husband is working hard on the room that will become my studio. He’s put down a tile floor and painted the walls. There’s much more to be done–wiring, ceiling, finish framing the windows, cabinets–and then the big stuff–moving all the equipment in and finding new places for everything. It’s gonna be a great place!

Most of my new work has already been placed in galleries, but I’ll be showing you some of my upcoming pieces as shot off the bench.

Handmade Ripple Earrings

The ripples of sand in the ocean waters…

Conjures up an evocative image, doesn’t it?

Think of the ripples on the sandy bottom of the edge of a calm sea. The patterns they make have a calming effect on you too. The day is perfect, sunny with a blue sky and a fresh breeze.

You’re wading in the ocean, and in the perfectly clear water, you can feel these ripples in the sand under your toes.

These earrings have that same feeling of calm. Repetitive lines, smooth but distinct. The undulating shape enhances the ripples calming effect with a continuation of the flowing lines.

The ripples are oxidized to bring out the pattern, and the highlighted lines have a soft satin sheen to them. The design is exclusive to myself, handmade with a technique that makes a dimensional form, but are still lightweight.

They’re entirely handmade from sheet silver and formed into that wonderful shape. Then they are soldered to freeze that shape and make them very strong. They are completed with a handmade earwire that features a ball on the front detail.

This is a great pair of earrings to accessorize jeans for a little more dressed up feel, or for that flirty little dress.

 

Handmade ripple freeform earrings in sterling silver

If you plan on ordering anything for Christmas from my Etsy shop, do it before 10 p.m. MST, Sunday December 18, 2011.

Those reindeer are slow!

For a limited time, you can purchase these earrings by clicking here.

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

On the Bench!

Working on the concept
This is one of my current projects. Maybe you can guess what it is, but I’m not going to tell you until it’s finished and I have it in a Storybook Jewelry posting. But I like the way the lines move on this piece. It’s somewhat similar to the honking big amethyst pendant in another Storybook Jewelry posting. I think I’m going to have to do a whole series of this type of pattern development to get it out of my system. These have been some of my more enjoyable ones, so it might take awhile. I have a whole season of downtime (my favorite and most creative time!) coming up. 

If you have any ideas of what you think “lines” might look good in jewelry, why don’t you give me some feedback. You never know when I might use those suggestions to make something. I depend on feedback from people to help me develop jewelry that gets noticed!

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

Repousse die forming

Making conchas are usually made with a matching male/female die called a repousse die. There are some commercially made ones, but many traditional silversmiths make their own. To make them and use them takes a good deal of skill, even with the commercially made ones. The commercial ones don’t come looking pretty like the one below. They have to be dressed, trued, registered and polished. Once that is done, then you can start using them.
This pair of earrings are made with small disks at the top to make the traditional round concha design, and the lower part of the earrings are made with a large fan shape from the same round concha die.

The conchas below are the typical round shape. The patterns are diamond cut.

Many people mistakenly call conchas “conchos.” Concha is from the Spanish word for conch and other sea shells, and it gender specific for female. However, in certain countries it is also slang for a specific part of the female anatomy. It’s not a nice slang word, so if you’re south of the U.S. border, feel free to use the word “concho”!

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

Making Jewelry Storybook–A commissioned redesign

I do custom work, and this is the story of one commission.

A customer wanted to use some jewelry she inherited from her parents and grandparents. She wanted a pendant using parts of their gold and diamonds. She wanted to use as many of the diamonds as she could. She brought a lot of jewelry with her at our sit down. We chose the following pieces.

The old jewelry

A pair of gold wedding bands.

 A wedding set consisting of various sized diamonds.

Designing with the customer

We began the process of designing after determining from her other jewelry and discussing what she liked and why. She liked simple but flowing shapes, and she settled on the design at the top right.

Changing old to new

I began by rolling the heavier of the two wedding bands through a mill, and then changed the shape through forging.

I soldered the form together and cut off the top piece.

Putting in the heirloom diamonds

Here you see it set with 5 of the largest diamonds, none of which were very large, ranging in size from 1 pointers to a 3 pointer. To give you an idea, there are 100 points in a carat stone. I made a generous hidden bail on the back from one of the rings in the diamond wedding set, because she wanted to wear it with a variety of chains she already had, including an omega.

She’s a very petite lady and I had to be careful not to make the pendant too large, and I didn’t want to gild the lily, so I didn’t use all the diamonds. Her other wedding band and the extra diamonds were returned to her. Maybe she’ll want me to make her a pair of earrings in the future.

Again, not professional photos, just shots on the bench as I went along making the piece.

If you’ve enjoyed the step-by-step story of how a piece of jewelry is made, look for similar stories in the “Making Jewelry Storybook” sections.

Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

Great 3-D jewelry

For many years I’ve used several techniques to get jewelry that most people have never seen. Below are some example of sample forms made in copper and a fully developed form made into jewelry. Would you believe the top three forms began their lives as round disks?

Do you recognize the gold pendant from the form in the middle of the picture above?


Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak

Using handmade dies to make jewelry

Some of my work is made from dies that I cut. This allows me to get a 3-D form that’s lightweight. Here are some dies I’ve cut, along with copper samples.

Matrix dies

How they look finished
Made in silver.

Here is a pendant made from a handmade die. It is the amphora shape in the top photo, middle die.

Split matrix die
Even a simple shape can produce a variety of results.
 Copyright 2011 by Katherine Palochak