After getting things ready for making jewelry it's helpful to keep your workflow simple. And remember to take pictures after each step since you only have one chance to immortalize these steps now. ( I forgot to take pictures of the actual soldering and hammering process)
- Cut and shape the part for the jewelry piece
- Fit the parts together before soldering
- Make necessary modifications to the parts
- Solder smaller parts together to for medium sized parts
- You can do the decided finish to the medium parts at this point (so you don't have to try to finish the whole huge final piece)
- Do needed modifications / fixing before soldering the medium sized parts together
- Come up with creative ways to keep the medium parts together for soldering
- Dry fit gemstones
- Make final modifications to the shape before cleaning and polishing
Creating all the pieces - The great puzzle maker
So I began making my process by cutting and fitting the parts together
Then I proceeded to make the necessary modifications to the small parts, set them ready for soldering
After that I added the solder (paste this time) carefully so the parts wouldn't move at all.
And finally I soldered the small parts together: Slowly heating the parts so the solder didn't dry too fast (fast drying leads to violent reaction that easily moves the parts away from each other). As you can see the final product doesn't have any gaps and is close enough to the original shape I set the parts to.
Refining the pieces - The hammer time
I continued to take the assemble medium parts to a flat anvil
and used the hammers to create the forged finish.
Joining the parts - A beautiful butterfly
Next was the joining of the medium parts to a ready front piece (not yet finished full tiara). This part was fairly easy since I could just lay all the medium parts flat and solder them together and then shape the front piece to its correct shape against a ball anvil.
Then I proceeded to join the medium parts of the sides to the front piece. (Again I forgot to take a picture, this time of the large scaffold I built to hold the parts together) At this point I left the back open because we had discussed the option of making a lock for the back and so it could be tested on my customers head for a perfect fit. And of course I test fitted the green agate gemstone on the socket I made for it and fixed any loose prongs.
Test fitting - Does it even fit
After much work she finally got to try the tiara on. She quite liked it except we had to make some minor changes to the large curves near her eyes (I made them a quite bit smaller after the fitting). Here are the test fitting results before the last soldering.
Last heat - Heated decision
The last big design decision I made was to close the back permanently instead of making a lock. This decision I made to create more stable creation that fit her head tightly. (Long slender sides of the tiara don't provide a lot of stability when they are allowed to move even a small distance)
Here is the front view of the ready soldered tiara.
Then a diagonal view of the ready soldered tiara.
And finally a side view of the ready soldered tiara.
Next to come - Finishing the creation process (Cleaning and polishing)
On my next blog I will write about the finishing of the jewelry creation process: Polishing and how to get (or at least try to get) good pictures of the finalized product.
It's always good to check you have all the information and things you need for doing the jewelry.
- Idea or designs (final ones or at least enough to create raw version of the jewelry piece)
- Measurements (customers)
- Answered questions about design decisions
- Tools and materials
- Recording equipment (currently only camera, later I'm going to do videos about my jewelry creation process)
Idea and designs - The soil
Idea and designs were gone through with the customer and we ended up selecting these designs for the front and side of the tiara.
Here is the final front design of the tiara. Choosing this particular design was straight forward. We had gone through several possibilities and this was the most satisfying and practical as well as the most aesthetic of the designs.
And here is the final side design of the tiara which was the favourite choise of us both. Simple, flowing, beautifull and strong connection to the forests daughter.
Measurements and answers - The hole in the ground
At this point I took measurements and she answered questions about the final design decisions. I basically created templates which to use in the jewelry piece creation process.
Here are all the tiara finishing design patterns side by side. The patterns I made on brass thread which is a bit harder than sterling silver so getting it to look like it would look on silver took a bit of strength.
Here are some closeups on the tiara finishing design patterns from option one to four.
And here are final closeups of the tiara finishing design patterns from option five to eight.
We ended up in selecting the visually pleasing pattern number eight (the last one). It reminded the flow of nature the most.
After selecting the finishing patterns I measured her head and made a band to use as a measuring template when making the tiara. I also made a rough measuring tool for the tiaras front pattern.
Next it was time to piece the front design together from brass so we could see what the size and feel would be like against her forehead.
The materials - The seeds
Here are the materials which will transformed to the final piece. Simple sterling silver thread, silver chain and the green agate are enough for the tiara (after a lot of soldering and shaping may I point out). And a small loop of silver and ready made Harmony - Vesica Piscis Pendant for the ring.
And the tools - The sun and water
The jewelry smiths needs tools to transform the materials into the desired form. Here are some of the tools I use in the creation process. I don't have any pictures (yet) of the imaginative scaffolds I usually create to hold the pieces together while soldering them.
First I took out tools for cutting and bending. Wire cutters to cut sharp edges and several pliers to bend the wire (round or straight)
Then I picked the soldering tools that included my trusty curved soldering tweezers, solder (this time I used paste) and a micro torch.
After which came the tools for creating the requested finish to the tiara. A flat anvil and couple of hammers are enough to create a interesting and forged finish to the jewelry piece.
Finally the tools for removing imperfections and polishing. I use several different large and small files to remove any unwanted materials and excess solder from visible spots. My trusty burnisher is used to create shine to the final jewelry piece.
Next to come - Continuing the creation process (pieces and putting them together)
On my next blog I will write about the creation of jewelry piece parts and putting them together by soldering.
So the design has progressed to the point in which I went through the final design decisions with my customer. We spent enough time going through all the necessary things from design choices crucial measurements.
Shine of the woodland crown
Most crucial things we decided on were:
- Green translucent agate as a centerpiece
- Shining finishing
- Forged texture pattern
- Visible but not too large or prominent
I drew out the different possible variations for the side chains and couple different front designs based on her favourite choice. We decided to go with the larger front piece with smaller curves to keep the front more fitting to the proportions of her face. And since the actual tiara should have the main focus without any extra movement, the simple downward hanging chains were chosen.
Flow of nature and mind
The side designs of the tiara seemed to flow around Celtic style curves. Starting first with more hectic design I ended up doing these designs not in one day but during several weeks. You can see how the design matured through a plainly nature themed and via love themed winds to the classical combination of wild nature swirling around the sides. (Which ended up being my personal favourite as well as hers)
At this point I was still coming up with several designs more. They varied from pure leaves to a more musical themed curves. And finally I made two radically different designs just in case my customer would have different styles in mind. These last designs ended up being the pure Elvish design and more futuristic and simplistic style.
Side product ideas
There was also talk about several side products for the wedding day:
- Ring for the bride: Silver, forged texture, shining finishing with a small harmony - vesica piscis attached (peridot as a stone) - Which I ended up creating (Forest Daughter - Tuulikki Ring)
- Cufflinks for the groom: Silver, forged texture, shining finishing with a small harmony - vesica piscis attached (peridot as a stone)
- Earrings for the Mother of the Bride
Next to come - Beginning the creation process (flow)
On my next blog I will write about the beginning of the jewelry creation process: What is good to have and know before you start making the piece.
I’m designing a wedding tiara for nature and music loving mother. Naturally my first designs draw some influence from Ancient Nordic, Celtic and Elvish designs with some twist of my own design. Trinity and endless spirals of life with added focal point from a cabochon stone. The final color will be chosen by the mother as it’ll be hers to hold. It will lay on top of the nose flowing near the ears and knotting behind the hair.
It’ll be light and sturdy (with a forged / hammered texture) but prominent. Different lengths of chains hanging from the sides will create movement and Elvish feel to the tiara. The simpler design will also allow a more prominent forged feel to the piece and structural integrity since the piece will not have a frame that filigree pieces usually have.
I’m still in the process of creating the design and so is the name of the piece still covered in mist. Some of the design ideas are usable in both ways upright and upside down though the nature of the piece will change.
First thoughts when I started to think about the design was to do really complex weave of silver threads but since the hanging chains were a request from the customer I wanted to create something simpler which wouldn't fight the smaller chain details and would still keep true to the original idea.
Still haven’t drawn the side view and back view of the tiara since I’m still playing with the height and positioning of the piece. It’s also somewhat dependent on the wearer of the tiara so I’ll keep her in the design process. Next step is to choose the main design front and continue designing the whole piece.
Letting time flow
Designing this piece has been a long process since it’s been maturing in the back of my mind for almost half a year. Of course the actual drawing of the design is pretty fast and forward but I always take my time with the designs. I’ll let my unconscious mind do some thinking and combining different elements until some day the design is clear in my mind. This way I can think different outcomes and styles for a longer time.
The Meditating Way is only one of my designing styles. I’ll talk about them in detail another time (or when someone requests)