Well, it was epic! Probably the most involved piece I have made, but I think it was worth it :)
I've used lots of different techniques, and it took a lot of time...especially soldering each and every link of the chain.
I drew my design onto think 18 gauge copper sheet. Crows and Ravens are my favourite birds, and after some research I chose the Raven for my pendant because they have a curved, rather than flat tail, which I think makes a more flowing silhouette.
Cutting thick copper into an intricate design is not as easy as you might think, so, many blades and a bit of cursing later, I had my design cut...plus an extra piece I thought might be nice for some added 'movement'.
Then to choose stones :)
I decided on a lovely mix of colour from 5 garnets, 2 turquoise, 1 citrine, 2 amethysts, 2 green onyx, and 1 lapis lazuli. So I had to make 13 fine silver bezels ....
......and then I etched the copper.
This involves applying a 'resist' to the areas you want to remain untouched and then suspending the copper in an etching solution which eats away the areas of bare copper. I wanted an 'organic' uneven etch so used a resist which would also be affected by the etch, but at a much slower rate.
Etching take time and you have to check regularly that the 'bite' isn't getting too deep. When you're happy with how it looks, it has to be neutralised to stop any further reaction.
When the etch had been neutralised and the copper pickled, which involves cleaning the metal in a mild acid solution, the bezels were ready to solder in place.
And then to make the chain. Because I wanted to make every part of this pendant, I chose to make the chain, rather than add a bought one. I also wanted the chain to be strong and robust, so I decided to solder each and every link. So I made a LOT of copper links and soldered them together....
....and because I wanted the chain to be an interesting part of the overall design, not just the part the pendant hangs from, I shaped each and every link.
After assembling the pendant, it was time to set the stones. This took some doing...setting thirteen stones takes a fair bit of time, and because I wanted to add extra sparkle, I faceted each bezel. This means that I added angles around the bezel for light to reflect off.
After oxidising, burnishing and waxing, it was done. An epic journey but one I'm looking forward to repeating. 'Raven' is a one-off design, so there won't ever be another, but I've got plenty more ideas in the pipeline :)
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