My first sterling silver project: Part 4

Looking back, I can’t believe we’ve already gone through so many weeks of the jewellery making class and that there’s only one class left next week! The tutor, Nicola Turnbull, felt bad for giving me homework, but I assured her I wanted to get the pieces etched and finished this term. So when I finished with it at home, it was coated with a mix of cheap nail polish and ground, and after sitting in the etching tank last night for 45 minutes, here are the pieces with the ground cleaned off:

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I’m pleased with the end result, the etching on one of the earrings aren’t as precise as I would like, but you can see the general idea and how it fits together to form the same image as the cuff. I was surprised at how easily the ground came off with a bit of soap and a rough side of a cleaning sponge. You can see from the exposed sterling silver that there are parts that have a mirror finish, but with such a large surface area, I’m thinking of leaving it with a matte instead of a mirror finish when it comes to polishing the pieces. With such large sections, if it were to have a mirror finish polish, it would be easier to see any scratches to the surface.

With the remaining nail polish parts, it wasn’t as easy to clean off with a sponge and soap, so I had to bring it home and clean it off with nail polish remover, which seemed to clean off the ground just as easily!

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Cleaned sterling silver cuff and earring pieces

The next part is shaping the cuff with a bracelet mandrel and drilling holes into the tops of the earrings so I can put ear hook wires in them and oxidise both the cuff and earrings with Platinol so there’s more of a contrast between the design and the matte finish of the silver. I realise now that I was a bit ambitious in hoping to get everything done in class last night, but I’m definitely hoping to get it all done next week, with it being the last class! As long as there’s a 2cm gap between the ends, I’m sure I can get it bent into the right shape next week. Drilling holes won’t be too difficult and getting Platinol on the pieces should be a breeze as well, then it’s cleaning off the excess and admiring my work.

Will display my final design next week, so stay tuned!

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