I've got a very special project to show you today, one that I was rather nervous about but thankfully turned out very well!
My Mum has recently been dropping hints about wanting a pair of gold earrings - the type of hints that were accompanied by a little plastic bag with parts of a couple of broken gold earrings and a few other scraps as well! As it was her birthday on 15th February I decided that that was the time for gold earrings. Fancy seeing how I made them? I'm afraid that the pictures aren't the prettiest as they were quick snaps of work in progress, but there are pretty pictures at the end, promise.
First up was melting the scrap into a ball on my charcoal block. Doesn't look particularly pretty at this point, does it? I then realised that to make the type of earrings I had in mind I would need some more gold, so I took out of my Grandma's old jewellery box a couple of old broken earrings of hers that I'd been keeping to melt to make something special. Perfect for a new pair of earrings for Mum! A bit of weighing scrap and a bit more melting and I had two nuggets of gold of as closely the same size as possible. 3g of 9k gold is about £30 worth of gold!
My plan was to use the rolling mill to turn the nuggets into little pieces of sheet as oval as possible, so I hammered them first to speed things up a bit and passed them through the rolling mill lots (and lots!) of times, making sure that they were the same way round each time to stretch them out into ovals. A little bit of filing to make sure that they were the same shape and size and they would have been ready for hammering......but I decided that I wanted to make them thicker and a different shape so I melted them again, into one bigger nugget this time!
And, after hammering with my favourite hammer, soldering on stud fittings and polishing, this is what I ended up with (here are the pretty pictures!). I think that I was more nervous about giving Mum these earrings than I have been about any other piece of jewellery I made for her. I don't think it was because they're gold, I think it was more about where the gold came from, but I do like the idea that I made Mum a pair of earrings from gold recycled from her old jewellery and her Mum's old jewellery. Much better than old broken pieces sitting at the bottom of a jewellery box! Mum put them in as soon as she opened the box, which is always a good sign.