Tag Archives: stone setting

Diploma in Silver Jewellery graduate feature – Guida Cusso

 

This week on the blog we will be featuring some of the graduates of our Diploma in Silver Jewellery as we have a free exhibition of their work this Friday, 7th July 2017, 6.30-8pm, at our London studios. You are invited to attend!

Today we feature jeweller Guida Cusso

guida-cusso-silver-ring-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryWhere do you live? I have been living in London for the last 5 and a half years, but I am originally from Barcelona.

When did your interest in jewellery making start? It started when I was a child, I was making jewellery with plastic beads at an early age. I have always loved making things with my hands and I have tried all kind of crafts. When I turned 18 I went to uni to study Translation and Interpreting, but it was a very hard decision and my other option would have been artistic jewellery then.

Why did you decide to take the Silver Diploma? I had tried a few evening courses on silver jewellery and I loved them so much! I really wanted to take a step forward and the Silver Jewellery Diploma was my perfect match.

guida-cusso-silver-brooch-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryWhat was your favourite class on the diploma and why? I enjoyed them all, but if I had to pick one, I would say wax carving. It is so rewarding and relaxing!

What are your goals for the future? I feel quite confident with my skills, but I would love to keep learning more techniques and to go deeper on what I have already learnt.

What is your favourite piece you ever made and why? From all the pieces I have made, my favourite one is a pair of drop earrings in the shape of a curved leaf with matt finish. While making them I realised how important it is to mirror symmetrical earrings. It was hard work but the result was a pair of very light and wearable earrings that match anything you wear.

guida-cusso-stone-set-pendant-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryYou can follow Guida on instagram @guidiki

 

 

The Diploma in Silver Jewellery exhibition is this Friday, 7th July 2017, 6.30-8pm

Where: London Jewellery School, Rear Ground Floor Studios, NEW HOUSE, 67-68 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JY

How to find us

No need to RSVP, just turn up!

images copyright Guida Cusso 2017

Diploma in Silver Jewellery graduate feature – Leonie Marks

This week on the blog we will be featuring some of the graduates of our Diploma in Silver Jewellery as we have a free exhibition of their work this Friday, 7th July 2017, 6.30-8pm, at our London studios. You are invited to attend!

Today we feature jeweller Leonie Marks

leonie-marks-bangle-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewellery

 

Where do you live? I live in Essex near the Blackwater Estuary

When did your interest in jewellery making start? I first became interested in making jewellery in 2010 when I thought how wonderful it would be to turn shells I had found in the Isles of Scilly and Essex into silver pendants.  I achieved this using metal clay and then started using sterling silver in sheet and wire form using basic soldering techniques to create different pieces.   

Why did you decide to take the Silver Diploma? I set a little studio up in my garden and then taught myself to set stones (in a fashion) which led me on to taking the Silver Diploma course as I desperately needed expertise in learning stone setting amongst numerous other techniques covered in the diploma course.   

 

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What was your favourite class on the diploma and why? I loved the whole diploma course as it covered so many different techniques and mediums which I would not otherwise have explored.  I would still say the Stone Setting was my favourite class.

What are your goals for the future? My goals are to continue to perfect my silversmithing skills – in particular stone setting – doing more short courses at the London Jewellery School.  I have a small business selling at fairs and online which I am aiming to expand over the next 12 months.  Since doing the online business course at The London Jewellery School I am currently setting up a new website which should be up and running in the next month.

You can follow Leonie and her work on Facebook https://m.facebook.com/leoniemarksjewellery

and Instagram – https://instagram.comleoniemarksjewellery

 

leonie-marks-bangle-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryThe Diploma in Silver Jewellery exhibition is this Friday, 7th July 2017, 6.30-8pm

Where: London Jewellery School, Rear Ground Floor Studios, NEW HOUSE, 67-68 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JY How to find us

No need to RSVP, just turn up!

all images copyright Leonie Marks 2017

Birthstone for July-Ruby-Not just for Tuesdays or trips with Toto

July folk are said to be fun-loving, cheerful and independent. Ruby is their stone and it’s said to bring good fortune to those that wear it (though whether those in possession of a ruby need more good fortune is debatable) for, much like their clear relative the diamond, rubies can be incredibly valuable. Often used in simply set rings, their intense colour means they don’t need a lot of fuss. But it is this eye-catching colour that can also be used to add accents, such as gleaming eyes in an elaborate diamond encrusted snake or leopard piece. The purest colour of ruby is known as pigeon’s blood, a fact which gives rise to the idea of working on a red-eyed pigeon collection.

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Jeweller Tessa Metcalfe uses her trademark cast pigeon foot to set these deep red beauties.

Ruby is also the symbolic stone of 40 years of marriage, making a gift of ruby jewellery on this occasion meaningful and poignant. But if it’s your birthstone you may want to indulge in your own love affair celebrating its other meanings of health and wisdom. Like Dorothy, who took her ruby slippers off the feet of the squashed wicked witch, you don’t need to wait forty years to get involved. Go on an adventure with a Lion, Scarecrow, Tinman and the all important pup Toto. Alternatively find some inspiration from these jewellers, who are clearly besotted with rubies and not thinking about trotting them down any yellow brick roads anytime soon.

Crushed_6-kelvin birkCrushed and combined precious stones that bring a new dimension to these unique pieces by Kelvin Birk, making them more wearable in their informal ‘spacefragmentness’ than a typical setting.

Clawrings_4, kelvin birk

Grasping claws, gilded boxes and indents in irregular bands are a few of this imaginative jeweller’s repertoire for showing off precious stones.

 

fraserhamiltonThis little ruby is benefiting from the hands-on approach to stone setting of Fraser Hamilton.

Why not get to grips with stone setting or find out more about gemstones in one of our courses.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

Advanced Jewellery Diploma review – back to school again!

Back in September 2015, after a year of jewellery making in an evening class, I took the plunge and decided to use up a good chunk of annual leave on a two-week Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery Course at London Jewellery School.

Real school wasn’t easy peasy for me. As it turns out, I am a stealth dyslexic who muddled through, mildly stressed-out, until a lecturer found me out through the help of a particularly nonsensical essay. So I was slightly nervous rather than excited going into my two-week staycation learning holiday. I already knew I really enjoyed making jewellery, but had been making my first pieces in a very excited, thankful-it-was-going-well kind of way and was a little undisciplined when it came to perfecting techniques. I still work a little in this manner, cracking on with each new idea, as it’s what I enjoy about making. The structure of this course, with specific days for designing and the various methods of making (and focussing on the different techniques within this), really helped to control my natural inclination to work in a scattered way. Although this course was ideal to rein in and consolidate ideas, I feel it would be equally beneficial to students approaching these weeks looking for creative inspiration.

Having whole days devoted to making was such a treat, I felt like a proper jeweller. All the tutors are practising, exhibiting and selling their work, so the conversations in the classes were often helpful beyond the subject being covered and I felt genuinely encouraged by people who knew their onions.

Speaking of onions… One of the areas where I had little formal training and had practiced at home the least was wax carving and so in that way that it felt that it was stretching me to learn – these two days of designing and making were a little like going back to school. I love the products (or should I say produce) of these days. These bad boys are perfect for me, they are heavy, ridiculous and pun-tastic. The expertise of the tutors was there to make the heavy and ridiculous aspects non-essential qualities of this design. This advice always assumes that you may want to start your own business; these pieces could be made lighter and more wearable and it considers the cost of casting as well as the customer experience of the piece.  I also could not have managed to create such spheres without the patient help of an expert.

Onions

Another thing that attracted me to sign up for this particular course was the prospect of the work placement, usually a week long, that staff will help you to arrange within an area that is of interest to you. I did mine with JC (Just Castings in Hatton Garden) and it was an invaluable insight into the process of casting, CAD design, plating, 3D printing and finishing jewellery to professional standards –but this is another story in itself. I wear the silver ‘haribo’ ring I made there every day. Along with many other pieces from my happy little jewellery holiday.

I would recommend (and have recommended) treating yourself to this course, I signed up after a quick visit to the studios but there are taster classes and you can visit on an exhibition day (next one is 7th July 6.30-8pm, no need to book). Essentially I left the course feeling like I had achieved real goals I didn’t even realise I had at the beginning and with a certificate to prove it!  It also led to the potential to sell my work, something that I have mostly kept in my back pocket until the opportunity to sell through an immersive art show last December presented itself.

Polishing up your potential

The small class sizes at the London Jewellery School means that you get a lot of expert tuition in the classes, making it possible to cover a range of techniques in these weeks. The course description gives a really good idea of what you will learn but here is a quick run through of my experience on the course.

The course starts with a design day, a great chance to think about what you want to make and ways to go about making pieces for the projects ahead. As we were a very small group, we also had time to start experimenting with resin.

Day two was for learning cold connections, truly riveting stuff! This involves looking at ways to join materials without soldering, a great technique for moving pieces or mixed media. I made a decorative hinge that I later used for an oyster card holder, various animal shapes as testers to hold metal pieces together, a technique I later used on a Perspex and sea glass silver ring.

Fold forming was next, a really fun and loud technique for creating shapes and textures through excessive hammering. We made silver origami frogs amongst other experiments (I attempted my usual crane but a simpler design that another student knew was more effective), seen here with the squashed frog necklace. When fold forming goes wrong it can still be pretty interesting (I love this piece but would recommend a simple boat as a fail-safe alternative.)

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The two days of mixed media jewellery making were a total dream of experimenting and resolving ideas through different techniques. Making a sea glass, silver and perspex ring with rivets, a wooden neckpiece with a tube of multi-coloured macramé and perspex fastenings to hang from, some ‘Banana handbag’ earrings and a spirit level cuff. So not a bad haul at all. This was so useful as a chance to explore different materials and how to work with them. Great for exploring colour, shape and using bits and pieces you may not have considered using before.

The two days of stone setting were honing specific techniques that could be employed in any piece after the course and also resulted in 3 wearable items. Each of these techniques was challenging in its own way and I felt that each was improving my making skills in a recognisable way. These were channel, collet and claw settings and pictures of these 3 pieces were posted on the Schools’ Instagram account, a small gesture that was really encouraging, as probably only friends would have seen my work before.

Bean

Bean ring (magic beans for growth)

The last day of the taught course was recycling silver. I had done a little bit of silver recycling before so didn’t expect that going through the process in a structured manner would shed that much light on a technique. However, melting my silver scraps in the crucible on this day produced a really fun ‘Bean’ ring, a product of the natural shape and texture that can be achieved with this technique. I had already made some cast vegetable jewellery so it fits into my little collection nicely and its smoothness makes it distinctly more wearable than my Romanesco Cauliflower ring. One of the tutors recently reminded me to follow up the ‘food jewellery’ and get selling my work. This really illustrated to me how much they genuinely care about nurturing any ambitions you might be trying to shy away from and keep you making jewellery! Magic beans indeed!

Interested in finding out more about the Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery? Our next intake is Monday 4th September 2017. Take a look at our website for more information. Have questions? Give us a call on 0203 176 0546

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

Born to Rock! – Birthstones for June

June is just around the corner so our Sunday Studios manager Lil has been looking at some birthstone inspiration!

If you are born in June apparently you are romantic and curious. Even if you don’t believe everything the internet tells you about yourself, it is interesting to look at the birthstones for next month.

June babies get the choice of Moonstone, Alexandrite or Pearl and each presents its own type of mystery and romance.

Moonstone was once believed to be moonlight captured in solid form by ancient civilisations. Alexandrite, is capricious – changing colour from emerald green in the day to ruby red at night while Pearl is a naturally forming rarity from the depths of the sea.

For some reason I could never quite get on board with the appeal of a pearl until now. Pearl obviously lends itself so well to dainty pieces and bridal jewellery that I had dismissed them as a bit twee for me. However the following jewellers have managed to convince me of this stone’s potential to rock and a new appreciation for the traditional use of these calcium carbonate layered spheres. Metalurj is probably my favourite jeweller for unusual and interesting ways to set stones.

london-jewellery-school-blog-pearl-ring-metalurj

Here the juxtaposition of the smoothness of a pearl next to oxidised silver means that these pieces have never been further from prissy. Another two designs that steer away from conventional trappings are this monochrome fishing net style ring and elaborate octopus hand piece-both cleverly referencing the pearl’s marine origin.

Sevan Bicakci 

Why not discover the potential of your birthstone and join us on one of our classes in Stone Setting or our Introduction to Gemstones classes? Or, if your birthday is around the corner, you might want to treat your curious side to a Pearl Knotting class.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

Introducing our latest silver jewellery classes

As you may have noticed, our tutors have been working on some exciting new additions to the courses we offer at LJS for both beginners and more advanced practitioners and we’d love to invite you to book a place!

Here are our newest silver jewellery classes (click on the links for more detailed information)

One day classes

Silver stacked bangles

Intermediate level – learn how to shape, texture and solder silver wire into stacking bangles. Students usually make 2-3 bangles

silver-stacking-bangles-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Make your own silver findings

Advanced level – Learning to craft your own findings such as ear wires, clasps, and brooch pins allows you to customise your designs and add a truly handcrafted and bespoke element to your work. (We recommend that all students complete the soldering masterclass before taking this class or that you are confident working with the torch. As this is an advanced silver class and we recommend that students are familiar with silver jewellery making and are comfortable using hand tools in a workshop environment)

silver-findings-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Granulation and fusing

Granulation is the technique of creating numerous tiny spheres of metal with which to decorate your jewellery. They are not soldered into place, but are instead “fused” with the surface and to each other. Learn this technique in our one day class.

granulation-fusing-one-day-silver-jewellery-class-london-jewellery-school

Channel setting in silver

Advanced level – Learn to set stones in a ‘channel setting’ – a setting commonly used to set multiple stones along a strip of material, either across a pendant or around a ring (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

channel-setting-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Collet setting in silver

Advanced level – Develop your stone setting abilities in this class and learn how to create a collet setting (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

collet-setting-silver-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Grain setting in silver

Advanced level – Learn to set faceted stones using the ‘Grain’ setting technique. The class will really bring on your stone setting ability and add a new setting technique to your repertoire (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

grain-setting-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

 

Evening and taster classes

For those of you that are working in London during the day, check out our new silver evening and taster classes

Stacked silver rings taster (1 evening)

Learn to make four individual silver rings in just one evening!

silver-stacking-rings-taster-class-london-jewellery-school

Soldering and stone setting in silver (6 weeks)

This 6-week evening class (run once a week) is perfect if you’ve attended beginners silver jewellery and you want to move onto the next step. Learn more advanced soldering alongside stone setting techniques including bezel setting, tube setting and gypsy(flush) setting

soldering-stone-setting-evening-class-london-jewellery-schoolClick on the links to find more and to book a place.

We love ideas for new classes so what would you like to learn? Let us know in the comments below

Our shortlist for the Jewellery Maker of the Year 2016!

Wow, we have been overwhelmed by all of the beautiful entries submitted to our 2016 Maker of the Year Competition!  You are all a talented bunch!  Thank you to everyone who entered and shared their beautiful work with us!

It was so hard choosing our short-list of candidates!   We absolutely love each and every one of these designs for their exquisite craftsmanship, design and presentation.  Choosing a winner is going to be tough!

Have a peruse at our amazing shortlist who are presented in no particular order!

Mihaela Coman - A cup of tea

Mihaela Coman – A Cup of Tea

Mihaela had the Katherine Mansfield short story in her mind when she made this ring. The delicate ring has 6 silver little pieces soldered together to create the tea cup and the citrine is cleverly set in the tea cup.

 

London-Jewellery-School-Blog-Maker-of-the-Year-Competition-Shortlist-Vlad-Zoldak-Interstellar-Ring

Vlad Zoldak – Interstellar Ring

The ring was inspired by Vlad’s fascination with space and its elements, primarily an element that gives live to everything living even in the most hostile places; water. It is made of sterling silver and 20ct terminated Aquamarine. The entire ring is handmade and soldered together.

London-Jewellery-School-Blog-Maker-of-the-Year-2016-Competition-Shortlist-Suzanne-Ross-Lapis-Maki-e-pendant

Suzanne Ross – Lapis Maki-e Pendant

The inspiration for this piece came from the colour of the lapis lazuli itself. The colour reminded Suzanne of a peaceful ocean sailing with clear blue skies. Suzanne chose labradorite beads as they change colour with movement like the sea. The gold painting on the lapis is done in the traditional Japanese gold decorating technique called “maki-e” where urushi ( a tree sap) is painted on and gold powder is sprinkled onto the wet ground. When it has set, the gold is sealed with urushi and then sanded with charcoal and polished.

London-Jewellery-School-Blog-Jewellery-Maker-of-the-Year-2016-Competition-Shortlist-Robyn-Golding-Green-Fingers-Ring

Robyn Golding – Green Fingers Ring

This piece is called Green Fingers and is a double ring connected with three short chains. The piece is inspired by gardening but also from the materials used within this piece, It is made from 100% recycled silver and reclaimed plastics, the green hand is also flocked to give it its green colour. The hand is also removable and is a lid of a small container to reveal a real plant inside.

 

London-Jewellery-School-Jewellery-Maker-of-the-Year-Competition-Shortlist-Anca-Druga-Pendant

Anca Druga – Starry, Starry Night

This design is inspired by “Starry Night over the Rhone” – Vincent Van Gogh. The pendant was hand painted and handcrafted using acrylic colors on polymer clay, fixed in a wire wrapped support to emphasize the texture and depth of the design.

 

London-Jewellery-School-Jewellery-Maker-Of-The-Year-2016-Competition-Shortlist-Claire-Housden-Morphology-2-Necklace

Claire Housden – Morphology #2 Necklace

This is a leather necklace which I designed in 3 colourways (black&black, black&white, and black&red). The inspiration for the morphology collection is vegetable tanned leather itself; and how it can be manipulated to hold a 3-D form. Claire has  developed a unique technique to texture and fold the leather, which she uses throughout this collection.

 

London-Jewellery-School-Jewellery-Maker-of-The-Year-2016-Shortlist-Theodora-Gould-Holy-Trinity-Bangle

Theodora Gould – Holy Island Bangle

The Holy Island Bangle is inspired by a small and magical island off the western shore of Lough Derg in Southern Ireland.  Theodora wanted to make something that had an ancient and celtic feel but also reflected the colours of the island. Made from sterling silver, the stones are 5mm cabochons; garnet to represent the rambling roses, sapphire for the water and the expanse of sky, peridot for the lush Irish grass, citrine for the yellow lichen which covers the tumbling ruins and dark and lavender amethyst for the wild flowers.

 

London-Jewellery-School-Jewellery-Maker-of-the-Year-2016-competition-shortlist-Kim-Styles-Morganite-and-sapphire-cluster-ring

Kim Styles – Morganite and Sapphire Cluster Ring

This morganite and sapphire cluster ring, with wild rose and hydrangea flowers in white and yellow gold. The morganite is set in rose gold to echo the beautiful pale pink of the stone. Kim wanted to make something really pretty that she could wear as an example of what she does. It is entirely handmade from 18ct gold sheet and wire.

 

London-Jewellery-School-Jewellery-Maker-Of-The-Year-2016-Competition-Shortlist-Nichola-Foster-Wirework-Lampwork-Bead-Pendant

Nichola Foster – Wirework Lampwork Bead Pendant

Nichola is a lampwork artist and recently learnt how to wire weave which she finds really enjoyable and very addictive! Here is one of her lampwork glass beads which she has set and decorated with copper. The design emerged as she worked, and demonstrates her love of curves and scrolls.

 

London-Jewellery-School-Jewellery-Maker-of-the-Year-Competition-Shortlist-Scott-Shead-The-Kracken-Pearl-Ring

Scott Shead – The Kracken Ring

Sterling Silver ring with a large Pearl. The ring is designed to sit on one finger and have a tentacle curl around another finger.  Scott lives on a Scottish Island which inspires him and he handcraftedthe Kraken Octopus ring to be a statement piece. The ring is designed to be comfortable to wear and also to make a great addition to a steampunk or nautical style outfit.

To check out all of the competition entries – please have a look at the Facebook Competition Post!

Don’t forget!  The prize winners will be announced on 5th September!

Good luck to all of the Shortlisted Candidates!

Behind the scenes at the filming of our online jewellery courses

2016 marks an exciting time for LJS as we are launching some new online jewellery making classes on our website jewellery school online. These classes are designed for students who can’t attend classes with us or who want a refresher for the classes they have attended. LJS tutor Anna Campbell has filmed two of the new courses for us, stone setting in metal clay and she has contributed to the business course. In this post, Anna talks about the experience of filming and what to expect from the courses.

In the beginning …..

I was very pleased to be asked to film some tutorials for jewellery school online by Jessica Rose, the founder of the London Jewellery School. Julia Rai has already filmed an online course in making silver metal clay charms which is excellent and teaches a wide variety of skills which, once mastered, can lead to so many different designs.

Jess and I met to discuss how we could create a tutorial that was different and that helped metal clay artists develop their skills further while not repeating what was in Julia’s tutorial. Jess wanted to do something with stone setting and we agreed that we would like to make it as widely useful as possible so we decided that all the projects needed to be torch fired.

Trial and error – making the samples

Stone setting in metal clay, sadly, is not as easy as pushing a stone into the clay. Many stones are damaged by the heat of the torch or kiln firing as natural stones have fissures in them. When heated, the heat expands the air inside these fissures and the stone shatters (for an excellent breakdown of which natural stones can be fired with a torch or kiln see this article from Cool Tools).

So, I had to find a way to torch fire pieces for three different stone setting projects – not an easy task! I did some practice pieces and in the end settled on the following three projects

  1. Setting a man made stone in clay e.g. cubic zirconia or lab created sapphire, ruby, spinel etc
  2. Setting a dichroic glass cabochon (I know, not technically a stone but the effect is the same as stone setting)
  3. Setting a fine silver bezel for a stone to be set inside afterwards

This meant that the tutorial covered firing stones in place, firing glass with a torch (which is not something that is taught usually) and setting a stone that cannot be torch fired.

I enjoyed playing about with designs, trying to make pieces that were different and that could show the students the possibilities of the techniques.

online metal clay class

Pieces from Anna’s online course

Filming

My filming day started at 5.30am.

Filming was to start at 7.30am and I had to travel to south London so it was an early start for me. I needed to take some tools and some of my own jewellery for display which you can see to the side of me in the shots sometimes. I was nervous as I knew there was a film crew! There were actually three members of the film crew but luckily they put me at my ease. I had a microphone clipped on (one of the crew had headphones on so he could hear everything I was saying!).

I sat in place so that the lights and cameras could be set up. There were three cameras focussing on me. One directly in front of me, one to one side and one directly above my hands to film what I was doing. Luckily I was able to have a cup of tea while everything was fiddled about with.

And then we started. There was an actual clapperboard with the takes written on it. Which is just as well as we had to film everything out of sequence because the clay had to dry in between takes.

There was a lot to get through and I was conscious that I didn’t have a lot of time to make mistakes, firstly because of the hot filming lights the clay was drying very quickly and secondly I knew the crew were filming another tutorial in the afternoon. It went well and we managed to get everything filmed and done by 12.30pm which was quite a feat. For some reason there were a lot a ambulance or police sirens that morning and we kept having to stop to wait for them to recede.

Written notes

As well as access to the videos, students on the course also get written notes. I wrote these after the filming, based on the notes I took to the filming day (I had wanted to make sure I wouldn’t forget to say something important!). These did take some time to write but are important as a reminder for you when you are learning so I hope you will find them useful.

Editing

I am grateful that I am not involved in the editing process. It takes hours to do this – to synch the camera footage with my audio and make sure everything is clear for the learner.

Then the tutorial is ready for you to purchase and watch over and over. I really do hope you learn something new and I would love to see what you create, please do share photos with us on instagram, twitter or facebook.

Class Pic Stone Setting in Metal Clay

To access Jewellery School Online click on the link and watch a trailer before you purchase your course. You can choose from a wide variety of jewellery making courses including silversmithing, wax carving, metal clay, jewellery business and wire wrapping. Anna’s Stone Setting in Metal Clay course will be available from the end of February 2016 – you can pre-order it a half price now from the Jewellery School Online site.

Anna Campbell is a metal clay artist, one of only ten people to hold the Higher Diploma in Metal Clay. She holds both Art Clay and PMC Rio Rewards certifications and is a member of the Metal Clay Masters Registry.

Inspirations – unusual stone set rings

Tutor Anna Campbell has been looking at some more unusual stone setting for design inspiration

My previous blog post featuring some unusual stone setting for inspiration has been popular so we thought we’d have a part 2 on the blog.

This time I’m focusing on unusual ways to set stones in rings

 

stone set rings

Engulfing aquamarine ring by Katherine Rudolph

 

stone set rings

Gold ring set with black diamonds by Joanna GN Jewellery

 

alternative rings lapis

Sterling silver and lapis lazuli ring by Helfried Kodre

 

alternative stone setting in rings

Citrine ring by Raphael Steinbach

 

 

unusual stone set ring

Larimar sterling silver ring by In Vintage Heaven

stone settingin silver

Silver and pyrite ring by Catelina Brenes

 

 

 

unusual diamond ring

Platinum and diamond ring by Schaffrath

 

In the jewellery workshop: Stone setting in metal clay

Tutor and silver clay artist Anna Campbell discusses the possibilities for stone setting in silver clay

metal clay

Many jewellery makers haven’t heard of silver clay. It is a mouldable material made from silver particles, an organic binder and a bit of water. Once the clay is dry it can be fired with a torch or in a kiln to burn away the binder to leave silver. It is a flexible way of working with silver and I’m often asked if stones can be pressed into the clay and fired. Sadly it’s not as simple as that! Some stones can be fired in place, others are damaged by the heat of the kiln/torch and these stones need to be set in a more traditional way familiar to silversmiths e.g. using a bezel setting.

However, there are some stones that can be set and fired in the clay and here is some advice about using these.

metal clay

 

Cubic zirconia

Cubic zirconia (cz) are manmade stones that come in different shapes, sizes and colours. They are a very flexible stone for silver clay as they can be fired in place, both with a torch or in a kiln.

Hints

  • You do need to be wary of czs that lose their colour when heated and it is worth testing them by heating them safely with a butane torch for 30 seconds to a minute to ensure the colour stays
  • Ensure you push the stone so that the table (top) of the stone is level with the silver clay. This will ensure the silver clay shrinks around the stone to hold it in rather than popping it out
  • After you’ve fired the silver clay and cz do not quench the piece (put it in water), let the piece cool naturally (I have seen czs shatter when going from hot to cold through quenching).
  • At the jewellery school we buy our czs from metal clay as they are tested as kiln safe and come in a wide range of colours and shapes.

metal clay

 

Dichroic glass

Although, of course, not technically a stone, dichroic glass can be fired in place in silver clay. Dichroic glass cabochons can be very brightly coloured and a lovely addition to silver.

You can embed the glass in the silver, it will shrink slightly around the glass and hold it in place. This can be torch fired (when the silver is dry) as the glass is not as affected by extremes of heat and cool but let the piece cool naturally, do not quench.

Hints

  • For both torch firing and kiln firing, place the pieces onto thinfire paper (particularly if the glass might be in contact with the firing block/kiln shelf)
  • You want to make sure the piece is level as the glass can begin to melt and shift
  • Kiln fire on a full ramp at 700 degrees celcius for 15 minutes. Ensure the ceramic plug is our/vent is open to ensure the fumes can escape as these can affect the glass
  • Allow the kiln to cool naturally before opening the kiln door
  • For more information have a look at this article from the metal clay academy

metal clay

Half drilled pearls/stones

You may have seen that you can buy half drilled pearls and stones. These, as the name suggests, are drilled part of the way into the bead rather than all the way through. You can add these to your silver clay designs by embedding a piece of fine silver wire into your piece.

Hints

  • You need to use 999 fine silver wire, sterling silver becomes brittle at high temperatures
  • Ensure the thickness of the wire fits the hole in the bead
  • Fire this piece as you would any silver clay piece, I suggest in a kiln if possible as silver wire is easy to melt when torch firing
  • Do any polishing you want to do before adding the bead
  • Once the piece is polished and ready to add the pearl/stone, cut the wire to the correct length to take the bead and add some epoxy glue to the end of the wire. Thread the bead on and hold it for 30 seconds to ensure it adheres
  • Allow the glue to dry completely before wearing (check the drying time of the glue you used)
sapphire ring

Manmade sapphire and silver clay ring made by Anna Campbell

Man made stones

The reason many natural stones cannot be fired in place in silver clay is that they have natural fissures/holes in them. The heat from the kiln or torch expands inside these fissures which can cause them to break and crack. However, there are some manmade stones that don’t have these fissures and can be fired in place. I have used lab created blue sapphires, red rubies and blue spinel. Unfortunately the stockist I used has recently closed so I cannot recommend a stockist personally. I recommend you try heating the stones first as I mentioned with the czs to check that they keep their colour before incorporating them into your designs.

Stones that can be fired in place

The US supplier cool tools has put together a very comprehensive guide of the natural stones that can be fired either with a torch or in a kiln. It’s an invaluable guide and you can find it here. Refer to this to see if your favourite stone can be fired.

Do you want to join us to learn techniques to set stones in metal clay? On our one day stone setting in metal clay class you will learn

  • how to dry set cubic zirconia stones (similar to the gypsy setting in silversmithing)
  • how to set a dichroic glass cabochon
  • how to create a bezel setting for any stone and set it after firing (the technique you need for any stone that you cannot fire)

This class is suitable for those that have used silver clay before e.g. have attended our beginners silver clay class or taster class.

We have dates available for the class up to December 2016 and our 25% off sale runs until 20 October 2015.

Anna Campbell is a silver clay artist and tutor at LJS who runs her own jewellery business Campbell Hall Designs.