Jewellery Making Cornwall Students, stones and smashing work

Wato everyone,

Eight months of starting Jewellery Making Cornwall, here are just a few of the successes. The following are pictures of participants in the six week beginners course held here in the beautiful surroundings at Perranarworthal, between Truro and Falmouth in sunny Cornwall.

I will post more of the activities here in future posts. For now, like me, for sure you are all impressed with this fine snapshot of the work completed by people, most of who have never made a thing before. The more intricate are from some who have continued to be a part of this creative hub, joining the weekly three hour sessions for improvers.

I will post more pictures of the site and exciting opals and other stones shortly through my friend Stuart Wheeler who is joined next door.

Jewellery Supply South West is on Facebook if you wish to look beforehand


A week three beginner!!!!! As you see, a real talent for sawing. As you can imagine, this lady was super proud of her achievements. This is the ladies name in Arabic cut out and sweat soldered to the pierced pendant.


A first attempt for a lady to make a chunky signet ring for her sweetheart.


Clay casting with my specially made half’s specifically for making rings easier to cast, rather than the more usual round rings.


The downside is not as accurate as ‘proper’ casting. However, its only a bit of elbow grease to clean up.


img_0217 A pretty nice result, for sure you will agree. The chap never takes it off. Awwww.


The level of creativity some people come up with is astonishing.


Wonderfully simple with unique one off fitting.


A smashing lady made this tie clip for her fathers birthday.


He was in tears upon receiving it. Amazing the effect our handiwork can have. giving work so much more meaning that its utilitarian face value.


A Disney princess had this idea for a bracelet. What a result don’t you think. Everything made from scratch, down to the individual ball ends.


Some of the abstract forms are truly wonderful.


A lady made this for her daughters birthday. Turquoise being a favourite stone.


Lady came in with an idea. Can we make this. Yes, you can, and she did.


Another request made real by the person who thought it here in the workshop.


Another birthday present for a daughter. Ruby flower designed by Mum.


Contemporary clean and very sophisticated and exacting. Zara is now promoting her own brand, starting out on her jewellery making adventures after completing the beginners six week workshops.


The final project for Zara. Pretty awesome you will agree.


Check this out. The killer clown. A very creative lady who is a photography whizz. As you can see, a massive undertaking for a first personalised project. Bloody brilliant bracelet eh.


Another final project, flower ring, designed and made here by a young lady with a strong will and the determination to back it up. Wonderful achievement.


A 15 year old young man came with his grandmother who is already an improver. This is what he made never having touched a tool before. As you can imagine, his Mum was over the moon.


Loving the layers and three dimensions.


Whats to add!!!!

I will post more pictures of students work from time to time.

Until the next time, not eight months.

All my very best wishes.



Sterling silver moon ring how to with home made tools. Part 2


This is the nylon hammer I used. Wood or leather would have worked. 15mm doming punch used to refine after the doming block stage.


Bolts used for forming, I used all three. Study the photographs, you can see the increased angles; the middle one first, the one in the foreground second, lastly the one on the right that I made in the metal lathe.


Test fitting with line drawn in the middle as a guide for forming with the nylon hammer and the modified bolt stakes. I refined the design as I went along. The final version was more rounded, I also cut away the bulky shank. Compare this to the completed ring.


Final rounding of the shank.


I made this asymmetrical to give me a choice of profiles.


Small hole drilled in shank to let gasses escape when soldering. I have never used easy solder before, I will in future. Use plenty of it.


I’m not sure I fully recommend it; look at the top of the picture. The marks are left by the placing of the pallions of solder. I would normally turn the ring over and re apply solder to the other side. In this instance the solder ran clean to the other side, fully sealing the piece without additional soldering.


Sawing off the unwanted parts of the shank.


Savage beasty this, be careful, really fast though, saves lots of time roughing out. Notice I stopped just shy of being flush to the surrounding silver.


Large half round file, almost but not quite nearly 😉


Last of the files, small half round needle file, now nicely blended, ready for final polishing.


Close fitting solder joint as I cut through both sided at the same time, making sure they would fit the shank.


Photographed outside.


Wato wato the end of the ring project.

This is a great example of wanting to make something but not having to hand the tools to realise it. As time goes by, I understand more and more why I’m not currently able to sustain myself in this craft. I spend far too long procrastinating on designs, making tools to realise far too many failed copper models before coming up with something I think will appeal. Only to discover I’ve barked up the wrong tree. At best a niche item, nowhere near commercially viable.

I now, with huge regret and not a little embarrassment, view my metalwork/silversmithing as a hobby only now. All ambitions of being able to support myself financially through my chosen craft showing as unrealistic at this time. I feel the clue here is in the realisation that I associate myself with the term craft, rather than designer or artist. As I become ever more bewildered as to what is marketed, I come to realise my place as fairly and squarely a maker in a world than no longer needs makers. Concept appears to be king. I feel its akin to being a computer, fantastic at maths; however it takes the genius of a mathematician to make beautiful equations. I aspire to be more conceptual in my approach to the craft. However my first love is the love of learning more about past masters and the techniques they employed to achieve wondrous constructions. The past machine age is pure romance to me. This is lost in a new era where, at the push of a button, designers/artists realise three dimensional objects, made by unseen operatives with mass production machines in such vast numbers as to make pretty much anything commercially viable. I have neglected to fully understand what is fashionable, wearable and viable. That’s the negative. The positive is that now I am no longer attempting to make a life for me and mine using just my hands. My resulting, more relaxed attitude towards this craft will, with luck, result in a positive re think. Trying to become a ‘mathematician’, not concerning myself as much with the mechanics, ‘computer’ aspect of creating wonderful objects. Working towards becoming a creative designer, rather than just as a solver of technical challanges. Watch this space 🙂

If you look at the bolts I modified for this job, I looked at stakes from established tool supply houses. Here in the U/K it is becoming ever rarer to source forming tools, the ones that are available are prohibitively expensive for a hobbiest. As we use very soft, non ferris metals, even a common or garden bolt will suffice for forming. If you wanted to make a more permanent, planishing stake from a bolt you can buy/salvage hardened steel bolts and fashion them to the shapes you desire. Cylinder head bolts work very well, you can look up through fastener suppliers, the hardness rating of a bolt, if you wish to purchase new.

I used a metal lathe to make these. I was thinking though that those of you without access to such a machine could use a drill and a hand file to create a similar stake. Chuck up a bolt that you have founded off best as you can in a vice, then spin it in the drill, rounding as you go with a file. Finish off with coarse to fine paper whilst still spinning in the drill. Be careful as the bolt will get hot. Try to use a drill stand so as to keep it all steady and have both hands free for proper filing. I also add chalk to the file and paper. This gives a better finish as it prevents the build up of metal particles in the ‘tooth’ of the file or paper.

My aim with the next post is to introduce you to my garage machine shop. Fair warning to those of you not interested in such things.

If you have any questions about the ring, or anything else, as always, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you for looking.

All my very best wishes.

Stu Art 😉