Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Click here for part 1 of this story.

When I left off yesterday, I was telling you about these really stubborn earrings that didn't want to stay in place the way I wanted them to. I didn't want to scrap the earrings, so I needed to find a solution.

But before I tell you what I did, let me backtrack a bit.

Silver is expensive. I've been working with it for a while and have lots of little pieces that can't be used: tiny clippings, ends of wires too small for anything, and "mistakes" that have to be shelved.
All this time, I've carefully collected these bits of silver with the thought of recycling them -either by selling they back to a supplier or melting them down to be reused.

While I'm not into casting (YET!!!), it's easy enough to melt down small bits of silver into little spheres. I've done it before and have been thinking about incorporating them into my work.

These melted-down spheres are REALLY solid and REALLY heavy. I thought to myself, why not use them to weigh down my earrings so they stay EXACTLY the way they're supposed to.

melting silver torchSo that what I decided to do.

My 13 year old daughter, Emma, was more than happy to sit in the garage with a propane torch and melt down pieces of silver into balls. (She thought it was so much fun that she probably would have been willing to PAY ME for the opportunity! LOL) After they were made, I was more than happy to try to incorporate them into the earrings.

silver hoop earringsAnd, after some trial and error, I was able to get the silver spheres soldered on the bottoms of the hoops, weighing them down.

I still wanted the earrings to look organic. The hoops are free form and have been hammered to make them look like they're almost drooping. Therefore, I didn't want the spheres to be symmetrical. Instead, I placed different sizes in different locations.

Also to compliment these spheres , I made earwires from silver wire that had one end balled up by placing it in a flame.

After all this, I had to re-sand the earrings with increasingly finer grits of sandpaper, then tumble them with steel shot in a tumbler so that the earrings really shine.

silver hoop earrings
Overall, I think they didn't turn out too badly - for a mistake.




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32 Comments:

  1. Jen said...
    I like the little balls on them. Good mistake! :0)
    -10oneworld
    Tammy's Treasure Chest said...
    They're really cool! Sometimes mistakes become bestsellers!
    marissa said...
    the torching picture is awesome and I adore the asymmetrical balls
    ChichiBoulie said...
    as they say... necessity is the mother of invention. Great solution. The earrings look fab!
    High Desert Diva said...
    Very creative!
    Rosebud Collection said...
    I think they are beautiful..wow..
    Silver Canyons said...
    love that idea!
    CarolynArtist said...
    Awesome solution! Looks like your daughter is enjoying the torch a bit!!!
    germandolls said...
    I was expecting to read about a total desaster. But looks like your mistake turned out very pretty. When I mess up a doll my daughter gets it! Actually her favorite doll is a doll that I tried to paint a face on. The red for the mouth started running and the doll looked like she ate too many strawberries. My daugher thinks she is wonderful! Messy eater like herself. =)
    Virginia Burnett said...
    Glorious! Looks like you have a budding jewelry artist at your house, too.
    Contrariwise said...
    Emma's always wanting to help me with the soldering. She even got mad at me last week because I did some without her!
    Tialey Vintage Clothing said...
    Now wouldn't it be nice if all mistakes could look this pretty? I think the silver balls are a very nice touch.
    JustJaynes said...
    They look great!
    Andrea said...
    Clever solution!
    Melissa said...
    I love them! Great save!

    ~M
    Kala Pohl Studio said...
    Love the save, fantastic. Looks like your daughter is having fun too:):)
    ARTISANNE said...
    They look fantastic! :0)
    SolSisters said...
    It's only a mistake if something beautiful doesn't come from it in the end. I'd never call these earrings a "mistake!"

    here's my latest "mistake"
    http://solsisters.blogspot.com/2008/11/rescue-at-sea-naida-clutch.html
    Five O'Clock Somewhere said...
    Wow, these came out great! Very organic looking, and beautiful!
    Deer Mountain Creations said...
    You've been tagged! - if you want to play - I would love to learn more about you! :)
    {{{hugs}}}
    Freida

    http://dmwashopnotes.blogspot.com/
    Kelly Drill said...
    They turned out REALLY cool!
    Ophelia Miller Boutique said...
    What a beautiful mistake :O) I love them.
    Jelveh Designs said...
    lovely work around, very coo...
    Snowberry and Lime said...
    these are gorgeous! I love the organic hammered look, and the little balls work really well with it, they do way more than just fix it, lol.
    Avenue7 said...
    Heya.. You have beautiful earring creations! I think my users will like what you make. You see,I help run this fashion website called avenue7.com. Its a fashion community for people to create and rate outfits from real clothes. Just thought it might be a good idea for you to add your products into our product list for more visibility and hopefully increase sales.

    You can read more about Avenue7 at blog.avenue7.com too.

    Have a nice day!
    Yazmin @ A Pretty Rock said...
    Great job! Now, the question becomes do you have plans to and can you duplicate your mistake. ;)
    rad-tastic said...
    Not too badly? I think they're amazing!
    Contrariwise said...
    Yazmin,
    I'll list them in my shop later. But I haven't decided if I'm going to make anymore of these.

    They were so much trouble, it's going to be a while before I want to go back to them.
    Yazmin @ A Pretty Rock said...
    I totally understand. The bummer is always finding out that a wonderful piece just takes too much time.
    JMW Jewelry said...
    Sometimes mistakes result in even better finished pieces! I love them! I've been playing with balled up silver myself lately!
    Chyrl's Origami Cards said...
    Its really beautiful :) A blessing in disguise (those mistakes). Creativity is such an amazing thing.

    Happy Crafting,
    Chyrls
    Lana said...
    These are so cool! Love the design!

    And you have a sweet daughter for wanting to help her Mom.

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