Monday, January 9, 2012


I previously wrote a posting about the source of inspiration and how sometimes, things just seem to evolve.
Such was the case with my new 'Portals' design.
During my frenzied time of jewelry making for the recent holiday shows, I had a pile of brass discs that were being prepared for earrings. I had cut central holes into most of the discs which were then domed or formed into a lovely synclastic shape.
Out of curiosity, I took one of the discs and punched it with my dapping tools.
Hmmmm....I thought that I had an interesting piece, ripe with possibilities, but I had no time to pursue what any of those possibilities might be and set it aside for future reflection.
With the Christmas decorations back in the basement and the tree at curbside, I was able to come back to the disc and liked how it made me think of a portal on a ship.
This would be a perfect frame for....for something.
At first, I thought I would pull out some of my vintage photos and create small vignettes set in resin.
I instead decided to turn my punched, domed disc into a cold connection bezel and combine it with additional pieces to make a bracelet.
Then came the challenge of finding something that would fit!
I did have some cultured disc pearls on hand which, with careful culling and selective filing, were made to fit snugly. I also had some faceted garnets that were perfect in both size and shape.
The dapped discs were riveted to solid discs to complete the bezel. Additional holes were drilled for wire wrap connections which was done with annealed steel.
Once the connections were made, the steel wire and the discs were cleaned with a fine grit sanding block.
The clasp was made with the same annealed steel wire.
Although I was very happy with the resulting bracelet, I also knew that I could make improvements.
The above bracelet is what I consider to be the new and improved version.
Sterling silver wire was used instead of annealed steel making the wrapped connections more lustrous and precious.
I realized that in the first bracelet, I had missed an opportunity to do something with the back side of each bezel component and this time chose to texture the discs with a variety of steel stamps.
While I did like the previous clasp, I thought it might be a better design to have the clasp be similar to the 'portal' components which meant using a toggle clasp. I cut a heavy gauge piece of silver and textured it with one of the steel stamps. A central hole was drilled and a wrapped connection was made with a balled piece of sterling wire.
The new bracelet has faceted garnet, faceted citrine and two pearls- a white disc shape and a champagne colored rounded shape.
Now I have a good excuse to attend the next bead show that comes to town.
I need lots more roundish, flatish gorgeous beads for future portals.


  1. This is absolutely inspiring! I noticed another difference between the first and second bracelet. On the top discs' of the first, you can see a mark (ring) from the dapping block - how did you not have that the second time? I have a Lab cab that I've trying to do something similar to, and haven't been able get the smooth look to the dapped disc like you did on the second bracelet. These are BOTH beautiful bracelets!

  2. Angie- Thanks so much. Regarding the dapping block marks....both bracelects actually have them to some degree. I think that the oxidized finish has concealed the markings a bit inthe photos. When I made the first bracelet, I was first annoyed by the marks but seeing as I could not figure out how to avoid the issue, I decided to embrace them. Since I reposition the disc in the dapping block, the marks end up looking like varied orbital paths and I'm fine with that. Maybe the best way to avoid those marks is to use a hydraulic press with the necessary sized forms. I'm not fortunate enough to have one of those. I would love to see what you end up doing!

    1. I really like this bracelet! And I liked that the back was smooth on your first one, but when I scrolled down, I love that you stamped the backs on the second one and that the designs are all different. Really nice job!

  3. Snazzy- Thanks for your comment! I do like the simplicity of the plain back, but thought to do something more textural when the first bracelet flipped around on my wrist (whoops...a smidge too big). I have thoughts of possibly riveting something onto that back disc when I make another bracelet.

  4. I hope you don't mind, Cynthia, I was so knocked out by this bracelet/technique I had to share a link to your post on my Facebook page. I think you might be getting a couple new fans...

  5. Thanks so much beetique &'s nice to get positive feedback! The link?...thanks for letting me know!