Just for me

I registered with the Goldsmith’s Hall in London last summer, so I can send my silver off to be assayed and hallmarked. Even though many of the things I make are lighter than the legal 7.78g threshold, I send everything off anyway as I feel it’s an important tradition to maintain! And I’ll confess to a secret hope that one of my pieces will turn up on the Antiques Roadshow in a couple of centuries time and be identifiable as something I have made, hee hee!

I made this silver pendant for myself, and had it marked, as well as one for my mum in a different style. I’ve been wearing it on a narrow snake chain, but it didn’t suit it, or me! So today I made this chunky trace chain from sterling silver, having done a couple of practice runs in copper.

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It was not as easy as with the copper! I got off to a great start, cutting lots of nice, neat rings of silver from 1mm wire wrapped around a 3mm steel rod. I soldered half the rings closed, and built the chain from these and the open rings. So far so good. Careful soldering of the links with my teeny tiny blowtorch seemed straightforward enough, the problems started with shaping the links. Squeezing them with pliers around a 2mm bit of leftover wire had the rather annoying effect of breaking the soldered joint on about one tenth of the links 😦 So….. I re-soldered them and was very happy with the result. I think it was trickier because the solder flows into the silver at just under the melting point of the precious metal so you need to move the flame away as soon as you see the solder “flash” or melt. Coppe melts at a much higher temperature than silver, so you can really blast it with the blowtorch without the fear of melting it! Still, I only melted one link out of ninety today, so for my first silver chain I was really chuffed. I doubt it would be an economical proposition to make chains for many my items, but as a special one-off for myself or as a gift, I may well explore some more designs of chain.

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