Molten Silver Necklace with Pearls
Soren Priede of St. Paul, Minn., makes a molten silver necklace with pearls.
Soren Priede was inspired by a junior high art teacher who taught jewelry making.
Materials and Tools:
2’ 12-gauge sterling silver wire
scrap sterling silver or casting grain
5" sterling silver chain with clasp
8 sterling silver jump rings
3 white freshwater cultured button pearls
400- to 2500-grit sandpaper
Tripoli and Rouge polishing compounds
two-part epoxy or pearl glue
1. Arrange the pieces of metal in the basic shape desired, making sure that the pieces overlap just a bit. Apply flux.
2. Heat the pieces evenly until almost to the melting point. At this time, focus the heat at the connection points until the pieces fuse together but don’t reach the flow point. Allow the piece to cool slightly, pickle and rinse.
3. Place scraps of metal in a small divot in the fire tile. Apply flux.
4. Heat the pieces of metal to the flow point. The molten metal will ball up. Remove the heat for just a second or two and then press the rounded end of a wet wood dowel into the ball of metal to create a cup. Let cool. When cool, pickle and rinse.
5. Hammer the ends of the necklace for the holes to hold the chain and drill.
6. File to refine the overall shape of the necklace. Sand to clean up any file marks and bring the necklace to the pre-finishing stage.
7. Polish the necklace. Wash with soap and water to remove all polishing compound.
8. Glue in the pearls and attach the chain.
Pickle and the flux are easy to purchase at a jewelry supply store but they are toxic. Ventilation is necessary when working with these chemicals.
Pickle is a strong chemical bath used to dissolve surface oxidation and flux residue from the metal’s surface. Pickle works best when heated. A crock pot works well for this. Warning: Pickle is toxic. Once the crock pot is used for pickle, it should not ever be used for food again.
Flux is a borax-based compound that attracts oxygen during the heating process. It is necessary to help prevent the formation of oxides, which show up as a black surface layer.