Friday, March 26, 2010

Earrings #20-22, Enamel Set in Silver Clay

Slowly, I'm gaining on that target of 30 pairs of earrings!

I've learned some things. For example, I should check the size of the cabochons BEFORE I make the earrings. (I knew that, I just didn't do it.) I wound up changing cabs because my planned choices were less than ideal. Those turquoise cabs were very shallow. Since I didn't plan ahead, so the bezels didn't get sanded down to the proper height. Setting a bezel is much more work if you need to deal with a lot of excess material.

The moonstones on the other hand were big. The height worked fine, but the diameter was a bit large for my bezel cups. I had to figure out a way to open up the cups slightly to get them in.

I'm learning more about enameled and setting into silver. The biggest issue, of course, is dealing with shrinkage. Bezel settings need to be just perfectly sized, so it's tricky. Probably I should go read Jen Kahn's chapter on this in PMC Tecnic, but no, I've just been struggling away. Let's say I have some extras ready, when I find something the perfect size.

I know how to construct bezel settings like this with traditional metalsmithing techniques. That might be simpler in some ways, but these have my beloved leaf texture on the sides and back.


  1. Here's a trick for you Vickie... maybe it's cheating (since we should be doing the sizing for the metal clay... right?) but....

    Just make the enamel pieces after you make the bezel... I found it's easier to cut or file the copper sheet for the enamel piece than it is to exactly size for the metal clay (without going to the trouble of making a sizing plug)!!!

    If you've already got the enamel pieces, well, then you're stuck, unless you use fine silver bezel wire and lavender paste to create the perfect bezel.

  2. I know you're right, Cathy! I'm just being stubborn. I want to take the easy way out and use die-cut copper circles. It's way more fun to enamel than to saw or file. Laziness, at heart, I guess!

  3. Those are beautiful. Congrats, you're closing in on thirty pairs!

  4. So, how did you get the moonstones to fit in the bezel cups???

  5. Not lazy... practical! Hey, I die-cut copper circles to enamel all the time. Really, I was thinking you could die-cut the closest size to the fired MC, then dome and file as needed... I was assuming a close guess to one of your die sizes (not something random) from the start - so there wouldn't be too much work to do...