Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fusing Fine Silver Jewelry

A word of caution: This is not a tutorial! Take a class from a qualified professional before attempting this.
I recently got my start from a class I took at Maui Community College with Iris Sandkuhler http://www.sandkuhler.com/index.html. She is excellent at explaining all the steps it takes to make beautiful silver jewelry with extra care given on how to do it safely. We start by learning how to make basic rings and fused loops using .999 fine silver that are hammered and then polished with a polishing cloth. She has a great book that you can order from her website.

I had to order almost all my supplies online since Maui is very limited and expensive. Some things I purchased on Amazon which was great since they offer free shipping on $25.00 up, some of the things I had to purchase are very heavy. Like this bracelet mandrel.
Bracelet Mandrel, very heavy!
The first thing I had to look for was a brick that can withstand temps of at least 26k. Its called a soft kiln brick and people use them inside kilns for ceramics etc.
Soft Kiln Brick and cross-lock tweezers.
I purchased a butane torch and butane from my local hardware store. They actually have these in stock. (Can also be used to make creme brulee) The first one I purchased doesn't do well with thicker silver, so I am going to try one that is a little bigger, but to make rings and loops, a small one is okay.
Torch and butane
Also, a cookie sheet to put your brick on so you don't torch your nice table. I highly recommend taking a class before attempting this on your own! This is not meant to be a tutorial on how to do this, I am just sharing with you what I have learned and the beautiful jewelry I have been making and the process that goes into it. 
Some of the other tools I use:
Steel bench block, ring mandrel, texturing hammer, hole punch.


Pliers and cutters for working with the silver.
The silver comes in coils and you buy it by the weight, or foot.
Fashionable head gear.
I also found out the hard way that things can explode when they get too hot. I was making a bracelet with a fresh water pearl and the pearl exploded into a gazillion pieces. Luckily I had on reading glasses and a mask.

So these are some of the beautiful things I have made in a pretty short time and I sell them on my Etsy website
Bracelets
Stackable rings
Earrings with the fused loops.
I'm really excited about all the possibilities!
Thanks for looking! And don't forget to check my Etsy goodies. http://www.etsy.com/shop/beachgirlmaui
Here is a little video on youtube I found that shows fusing. Link

4 comments:

  1. I ordered and received three sterling stack rings. They are beautiful. I recommend them to anyone who likes delicate sparkles on their fingers. Simone your workmanship is outstanding.

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  2. Very nice Simone! Tools and talent are winning combo :)

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