Companion to Gene: Introducing Ava

Ava is a necklace, very similar to Gene, with a central pendant with stone and a hanging stone — this time a teardrop cabochon rather than a faceted briolette. I had an idea of the design and went straight into the drafting of the pattern for the pendant. I had selected the stones I wanted to work with; in this case, a grossular green garnet for the center stone and a teardrop-shaped sugilite cabochon. From what it would hang I would decide later. Below is a picture of the pattern I would use to fashion the pendant.

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The first task for this piece is the making of the bezels. The reason for this is simple: the added volume of the metal will affect the other components in terms of their sizes and positions. In many cases as in this one, I use copper wire to make prototypes of the curved components. In the picture below, I’ve fashioned the copper components and put them into place.

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I now make the components (or elements) in sterling silver. I’ve drawn down the wire so I could achieve exactly the thickness of the curved elements that I want. Once the elements are all fashioned, I put them in a tumbler, the same kind that is used to polish stones. The tumbler will burnish the components to a high shine. Then I solder the components together to the bezel in exactly the way the pattern indicates. The picture below shows the work in process; I’ve soldered the top components together to the bezel.

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Jewelry-making can be a very dirty business. In the picture below, I have just finished soldering in two places where the solder did not “take” where I needed it to. The dark spots are where I’ve painted the successfully soldered joints with a pottery glaze (yellow ochre). The yellow ochre will prevent solder from flowing because solder will not flow when the surfaces of a piece are not chemically clean.

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Once I’ve cleaned up the piece after soldering, I will solder on a bail for the teardrop stone. I’ve decided to add small round silver balls to the pendant, and I’ve begun to make oval jump rings to join the pendant to a chain as well as to join the teardrop to the central piece. The picture below shows the work in progress at this point.

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I’ve decided to make a chain for Ava very similar to the one I did for Gene, that is, curved silver elements with rondelles and freshwater pearls joining them together. The curved silver elements in Ava, though, will be elongated. In the picture below, I am making the curved elements and the oval jump rings.

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Once all the design elements are made and tumbled to a high burnish, I will wire up the amethyst rondelles, Bali spacers, and freshwater pearls. Below is the completed piece. I hope you like it.

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Julie Martini