South Africa is famous for its gold and platinum mines, for diamonds from Kimberly and Cullinan and also has limited silver mining. So it’s a great place, to learn more about gems, metals and jewellery.
In previous post, Hot Metal, I wrote about how I took up a shiny new hobby to help fill my time as an expat wife. I started Jewellery School.
I said I’d let you know how I got on and I’m happy to report that I’ve moved on from wonky copper and have completed a handful of projects in sterling silver since then.
Project 1: Geometric Chain
Beginning with a rough sketch seed of an idea and 10g of fine silver pellets, the first piece I worked on was a geometric chain.
The initial 10g of fine silver was added to, weighed, alloyed, smelted, annealed, rolled, pulled, sawed, measured, soldered, accidentally melted instead of soldered, filed, polished, briefly mangled in the polishing machine, fixed, re-polished and nearly hurled out of the window in total frustration a number of times.
Thankfully I didn’t throw it out the window and here is the finished piece.
Along the way Sweetpea had a day off school and came to watch. I hadn’t been expecting audience participation, however, she was lead astray by my classmate who blowtorched an Oreo cookie under the guise of doing a science experiment.
Sweetpea’s job was to provide the Oreo and observe what happened. It caught light and disintegrated with an accompanying acrid burnt biscuit aroma, which we had to quickly dispel before our teacher returned from his coffee break. We all giggled like naughty schoolgirls.
It’s a great hobby. I’ve met an interesting group of people and I’m learning a lot. It’s certainly not something I’d have thought of taking up if we were living in our home country. So if you want to blow torch an Oreo or commission a piece of sterling work, you now know who to get in touch with.