See the Process

Hi there! I've put together this series of short attention span videos (nothing longer than about a minute and a half) so you can watch one here and there, just the ones you want, or binge watch them all, in your PJs. 

I'll be making this Dolphin & Palm Tree Pendant
Wait, where's the palm tree?
Dolphin Pendant

I dabbled in graphic design for a few years. Ok, more accurately, I dabbled in college for a few years, while studying graphic design. One of my favorite parts of jewelry design is laying everything out in Illustrator, so I can "see" the finished piece, and print accurate saw patterns. 

In this "Designing a Dolphin Pendant" clip, I lay out a design for a 25x18mm Sodalite stone. (To save time, I created and saved the dolphin and palm tree graphics separately; this way, they can be used in any new design, any time.) I adjust the shapes, and separate my cut lines for printing. 


In this "Saw Piercing Palm Trees in a Backplate" clip, I use a jeweler's saw to cut (or "pierce") the design in what will be the backplate for the Dolphin Pendant. This saw blade is a size 4/0 (pronounced: four ott), and at just .0086" wide, is one of my go-to sizes. To make these cuts, the end of the blade is unhooked from the saw, threaded through the hole, and tightened again.


In this "Soldering a Bezel onto a Backplate" clip, you'll see me measure, solder, fit, and position a bezel, then bring the backplate to soldering temperature, and "stick solder" to attach the bezel. I set the piece to hang over the edge of my soldering board out of habit...normally, I do this so I can heat the backplate from underneath, to avoid melting the bezel. I chose not to heat this one from underneath, because of the delicate palm trees. This one ends a little abruptly because my battery died. ;-)


In this slightly wobbly "Soldering and Sanding a Shadowbox Backplate" I fit the shadowbox frame to the backplate and solder, then move the piece to my belt sander, to clean up the back. You'll see me put my leather finger cots on when the piece gets too hot to hold. Yeeouch!


In this (also slightly wobbly) clip, "Adding a Bail and Decorative Hammer Texture" I solder a bail to the top of the pendant, while resting the bail on a steel plate for the proper position. Once the bail is on, I use a sharpened hammer edge to add decorative texture to the front edge of the frame.


Almost done! This "Sawing and Soldering the Dolphin" clip is pretty straightforward. I saw out the dolphin using the pattern I printed from Illustrator, then solder it into place on the front of the pendant.


This clip "Prepolishing the Dolphin Pendant" shows one of the most important steps in jewelry fabrication. A mirror finish requires a LOT of work, starting with files and sandpaper or an abrasive wheel. Once any tool marks and scratches are gone, you can proceed to progressively finer grits. 


This "Polish, Patina, Setting the Stone" clip starts with a glimpse of part of the final polish. (I didn't film all the polishing steps because it's basically just the same thing over and over on different polishing wheels - relaxing to do...painfully boring to watch.) Next, I apply a patina to darken the silver, then selectively remove it to bring out the highlights. Once all the patina and polishing are finished, it's time to finally set the stone!


Here's the finished Dolphin & Palm Tree Sodalite Pendant. (I did clean up the bezel a little more after watching this.) ;-)

If you love this design as much as I do, you can get it here.