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Friday, 20 May 2011

Here comes the sun!

Today I want to share with you another of my most ambitious and intricate projects - the Sun Pendant.

I found these Fire Agate beads on sale and couldn't resist their intense colour and interesting patterns. I found a few other focal beads that day but these were by far the biggest and most striking.

When they arrived I wasn't disappointed but I quickly realised that they wouldn't fit the style of any of my existing pieces - it was time to branch out!

Pendant by KSJewelleryDesigns
I wanted to keep the style simple whilst still doing justice to the central bead and I was inspired by designs such as this one:

I went ahead and made up a full design in copper, but realised when it was complete that it wasn't rigid enough and the central stone was free to rotate so I took it apart and made a few key changes.

I started with a soldered circle, only very slightly bigger than the Fire Agate bead. I shaped and hammered 6 little fancy loops and soldered them individually to the circle to provide extra strength to the design. Soldering also makes it much easier to wire wrap the piece when the time comes, though I'm sure technically its cheating!

After soldering the copper has a patina which I usually buff clean. However for this piece I decided to leave the antique finish to enhance the final design. Soldering does make the metal soft and flexible though, so I tumbled the finished frame for several hours to strengthen it and to return the shine to the metal.

The final stage is to wrap the bead into the centre of the circle and then to add wire wrap to soldered pieces for extra strength and also to make the design look nicer. I also added a single piece of wire across the back to prevent the bead from turning around in its "setting". One of the hardest parts was working out where to attach the chain, I toyed with the idea of attaching the chain at opposite sides and having the piece as a high-sitting choker but in the end decided that would be too uncomfortable.

What do you think of this piece? Do you like it or is it not your style? Do you like reading about how I make my items? If you do, check back soon as I have a few more posts lined up about making some more of my latest designs!

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