Custom Dragonfly Birthstone Pendant

by Melissa Scoppa September 06, 2018

Custom Dragonfly Birthstone Pendant

I don't always document the process of making every piece of jewelry because to be honest, it can really slow things down to stop and take a good picture at every stage of the process. I've tried to train Maddie the shop French bulldog to operate the camera but she's just too unreliable. 

I knew when I started working on this custom Dragonfly pendant that it would be a fun piece to document. It incorporates so many different metalsmithing techniques that I have picked up over the years. Wax carving, fabrication, stone setting, patinas, hand engraving and the list goes on.

The Body of the Dragonfly was carved from blue wax and cast into Silver via lost wax casting. The wings had to be thin and delicate so it made sense to make them out of a sheet of Sterling Silver. The design was mapped out on the silver sheet and then engraved by hand. The engraving tool is a very sharp, steel tool that removes and carves out metal as it passes along the surface. Usually it takes several passes through the same line, to make it deep enough for the design to be prominent. 

Transfer paper or computer printouts can be used to get the design on to the metal with rubber cement or glue stick, but in this case I chose to free-hand draw the design on with a pencil.

 An engraving vice is used to hold the piece to allow you to put a lot of pressure on the tool while still being able to turn and swivel the piece to create fluid lines with the graver. I move the vice with my left hand and simultaneously do the engraving with my right hand. (The vice also helps to prevent stabbing your other hand with the tool if it slips! Because lets face it, these things happen and OMG does it hurt.)

 I kept the curls of metal there so that you could see the physical metal that was removed from the surface. 

 

Holes are drilled within each space that will need to be cut out. I used a jewelers saw frame and disconnected one side of the saw blade, inserted it through the drill hole, re-connected it to the saw frame and then began cutting out that negative space. This is repeated for each shape.

An Arizona Peridot (Birthstone of August) and two diamonds (for the eyes of course!) were added and "Flush Set" into the body of the dragonfly. Oops I don't have any pictures of this, but you can see that holes are drilled and openings are made in the silver that are the exact diameter of the gemstones. The stone is then inserted and the metal is then enclosed over each stone with a burnishing tool.

The body and wings are then soldered together with a high heat torch. I almost didn't add the antennae because it looked good as is, but looking at it now, that antennae detail adds SO much character and life! I drilled two small holes into the head (that sounds bad) and inserted silver wire, soldered them in place, trimmed them and then curved them with rounds pliers.

A Patina is applied to darken the entire dragonfly and then when polished, the darkened areas only remain in the recessed areas such as the engraving in the wings, and separations of the body. You can really see how adding the Patina transforms the whole look of the piece! 

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment if you have suggestions for future Jewelry Blog Content! 

 



Melissa Scoppa
Melissa Scoppa

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Jewelry Sizing Guides

Necklace Sizing Guide

The length of a necklace affects how it looks when you wear it. Always pay attention to necklace length when you’re purchasing jewelry, and be aware of how different necklace lengths look on you.

Most pendants can not be switched to longer or shorter chains on your own and they would need to be sent in to us for the alteration. They are designed so that the pendant does not fall off of the chain and the bail (part that connects the pendant to the chain) is too small to fit over the clasp and end ring.

We suggest that you measure a necklace that you already have and that is the length that you are looking for. Measurements should be taken from end to end including the clasp.

 

Ring Sizing Guide

Method #1

To get the most accurate measurement possible we urge you to get professionally sized at a local jewelry store and it that is not possible, pick up one of our Plastic Ring Sizers available in the shop. This sizer gives a pretty accurate measurement and is essentially free since it comes with a 4$ coupon code for a future ring purchase with us.

We also realize that time is of the essence sometimes and/or maybe you have plenty of rings lying around that fit perfect but just can't remember the size. Therefore we have outlined two possible ways for you to measure your ring size using this handy dandy printable PDF.

Please be sure to follow the instructions and double check measurements with a ruler. Printers can be tricky with sizing.

 

Method #2 - Measure A Ring That Fits

Place your ring over the closest matching sized circle, make sure the inside of the ring fits around the outside of the circle. If you are between sizes, order up.

Method #3 - Measure Your Finger With a Ruler

1 - Get a non-stretchy string or paper about 6" long and 1/4" wide.

2 - Wrap around the base of your finger. It has to fit snug, but not too tight.

3 - Mark the point on the string/paper where it overlaps forming a circle.

4 - Compare the length of the string/paper to the chart. That is your ring size.

*If you are between sizes, order a larger size.

Make sure your finger is at a normal body temperature -- fingers can shrink or expand when cold or hot. If your knuckle is much larger than your finger’s base, take two separate measurements and choose a size in between. You want a ring to fit over your knuckle, but not be too loose or it will shift around.