Saturday Share – Lessons Learned, or Don’t Be Like Me!

May 2, 2015 , In: Metalsmithing
Yay, Spring is finally here! 
Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, grass is growing, and lots of
arts & craft festivals loom in the near future for many of us!  I actually don’t participate in very many,
but have one coming up tomorrow, so now is the time for last minute panic and total chaos.

Unfortunately, I have been very distracted this past week…changes in corporate structure and procedures at work, other jewelry deadlines that are looming, bronchitis, and other family/personal events.  So, here is a quick little blog post about what NOT to do!
Last night I decided to work on some pendants for quick necklaces…the main pieces were complete, but I wanted to solder on some little bezel cups and include some tiny cabs for ornamentation.
Rose-cut moonstone, chalcedony and purple chalcedony with sterling bezel cups.
I did the soldering and while I was at my station, worked on a couple of my molten solder pieces that use plumber’s solder.  In a hurry, I went up to put my soldered bezel pieces into the pickle and without thinking, tossed all the pieces in, then went about getting dinner ready.
These are what I pulled out..
Copper-plated bezels with sterling ones for comparison.
As you can see, the sterling bezels got copper-plated!  In my rush and distraction, I accidentally tossed the pieces with plumber’s solder into the pickle as well which caused the copper to plate to the silver.  While it doesn’t look bad, and I could have done it on purpose if I had wanted, I like the look of silver bezels on copper backing.
Unfortunately, the molten solder pieces are a total loss…
Not sure if I can salvage these…the back of the cross was etched as well…I had high hopes for it 🙁
The pickle is ruined at this point..any silver I put in will get the same copper plating…but, as it turns out, I need to add some more solder to one side of the larger cup, as the last bit didn’t flow all the way around.  So the tainted pickle will come in handy to cover the silver solder that I use!
The moral of the story and lesson learned…metalsmithing, torch and chemical use during jewelry making is something that you should save when you aren’t tired, sick, or distracted!  Luckily, I didn’t have any other type of accident during this session!
Thanks for reading 🙂

Melissa Meman

Melissa Meman is a mixed-media jewelry artist and owner of Melismatic Art Jewelry. She loves all things metal... fabrication, fold-forming, enameling, but has recently been drawn into metal clay and polymer clay! Her Melismatic Morsel line features pendants, charms, and more in all her favorite mediums. Melissa lives in Frederick, MD with her husband and son and dreams of retiring from her day job, and resorting to singing and hammering/finishing metal for a livelihood!
  1. Reply

    Oh you poor poor dear. Things always seem to go wrong when you are at your lowest don't they? It just feels like another 'kick' just when you could do with a cuddle.

  2. Reply

    I feel your pain!

  3. Reply

    Ouch. Well the top ones are still beautiful.

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