Creation of the Boudicca Pendant

I don't really use many larger stones in my pieces but sometimes I come across one that is just too beautiful to pass up! Whilst mooching around one of my suppliers websites, I found this. 

This is a hand cut and polished Nipomo in Marcasite Agate Cabochon, with a nice little chunk of quartz in it. I loved the arrowhead shape of it and the gleam of marcasite, and it screamed Iceni at me, so I had to have it. I wanted to make something simple and primitive looking - something maybe Boudicca would wear ;) 

I didn't draw anything, I just wanted to let the design evolve as I was making it - but I knew I wanted some granulation (small silver balls!) to decorate the piece. These are created by heating silver to melting point - it balls up and creates these little granules.

I then cut out a backing plate from copper - using the stone shape as a guide and making sure the grains fitted.

The next step was to make a bezel to fit the stone. This is made from a thin fine silver that's purer than sterling - which makes it quite pliable and easy to shape.

Then I created a bail for the pendant. I wanted it rustic and a bit battered looking! So I used a small strip of sterling silver, hammered it a bit and shaped it into a loop.

The next step is to silver solder it together using a flame torch - this needed quite a bit of heat as that copper was sucking all of it up!

With a good pickling (the process I use to remove all the black firescale), I hammered the edges of the copper to add some more detail and then gave it a first polish.

Oxidising (aging) the piece is the next step, with another several polishes to bring it back to a shine, leaving the darker areas to bring out the highlights.

Finally setting the stone finished it off. :) 

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  • Kizzy on

    How exciting to find a special piece that inspires you. And fascinating to read the story of its making! Have you thought of putting a photographic record of all your designs on the web? I’d love to see it!

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