Last weekend I went to Stratford-upon-Avon with one friend and one goblin (my fiancé), and it made me think about the Elizabethan obsession with pearls (of which more in a later blog post). I’ve created a new pendant inspired by the trip, and by the success of my other Tudor-inspired piece (which was actually based on a coin I got from Kentwell in Year 5). Enough brackets; I thought I’d give you all a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating a new design from scratch.
I didn’t actually draw up a design for this one, so the process was a little messier than usual, but here’s the rough blueprint…
Start with some D-shaped sterling silver wire (this is 4mm x 1.4mm):
Cut it to size with a hand saw:
File the ends smooth:
Once the ends are filed and bent flush together, saw through the seam. This removes the tiny gap between the ends and allows for a tighter seam and better solder. (No pictures, because it involves both hands and a lot of swearing.)
Have a bit of a soldering mishap, blacken and warp the teardrop, and give up for the day to embroider and write a blog post. After some sewing, napping and sulking, redo the above steps…
Once soldered with a hand torch, the teardrop shape goes into the pickle pot (a slow cooker full of water mixed with a chemical compound that removes the residue from the flux used when soldering).
After that, file down any visible edges of the seam.
Draw guide spots for drill holes with a pencil, like this one I got on my Stratford trip:
Drill through each side (I use The Goblin’s power drill with a 1cm bit):
Shape and cut a silver pin, then affix into a half-drilled pearl (half-drilled as in only one hole which reaches halfway through the pearl):
Cut some unfinished chain to the desired length (I went with a classic 18-inch):
Thread the chain and pearl through the holes drilled earlier. Later on, decide the pearl needs to hang lower and add a couple of jump rings (see later pictures)…
Solder fixings to each end of the chain:
And finally, back into the pickle pot! (Just the ends though – don’t want to have to re-polish everything.)
Et voilà! Tudor-inspired, minimalist pearl pendant, available now at Tiding of Magpies.