I have a custom order for a pair of earrings. The brief was very broad, the customer chose the stones and said "make whatever you think will suit the stones". This sort of free reign is pretty rare, but I guess the reason she asked me to do this in the first place is because she likes my style of jewellery.
The stones in question are two beautiful vibrant peony pink topaz. The colours are warm and summery and made me think of my favourite flowers, the frangipani. So out came the sketch pad, and after a few scribbles a design began to emerge.
I transcribed my frangipani template onto the silver and started to pierce them out by hand. As you can see I am cutting out four frangipanis, two for my custom order and two as a pair of plain frangipanis to list in my store.
I left the 4 joined together at first as a larger piece is easier to work with. I punched guides which I would use for the drill holes, the guide marks guide the drill and stop it from skipping on the surface. As you can see from the photo where I am drilling, having the larger piece to work with is a much safer option, a small individual flower may come loose in my hand and spin up the drill bit or get thrown somewhere.
After drilling the holes I have to insert the saw blade individually into each hole of the template to cut out the inner sections. I am then ready to finish cutting each flower. Some imagination is still required here to envisage the finished earrings. I showed my son and asked if they looked like flowers and he said "nup!"
After smoothing up the edges and giving the surface an emery I stamped each earring 925 for sterling silver. At this point is was also important to invert two of the flowers in order to pair them up. Then I shaped the flowers by forging with a hammer and also tweaking with some tapered round pliers.
Finally it was time to insert the posts, which I had balled up the ends of and solder them in place. The the earrings were carefully cleanned up and annealed and rubbed back lightly with pumice a number of times to achieve a soft pearly white fine silver finish.
The frangipani studs are now available in my Etsy store.
Don't forget to come back next week to see the completed custom order frangipani earrings. And for my customer, I hope you enjoyed your sneak peak!