Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Protecting A Keepsake

Jewelry making tools and jewelry making know-how can sometimes be very handy when things require fixing.
In general, I don't do jewelry repair, but....
if you're family or a friend and something needs fixing, I'll do my best to help out.
I've restrung necklaces, fixed earwires and unbent gnarled rings.
I had my own problem that required fixing.
My twins are now 20 and when they were 8, my one son did a week of Art Camp at Main Line Art Center.
For a key ring project, the kids each cut out a shape from a sheet of brass which was then soldered onto a square of copper.
My son cut out the shape of a boat and highlighted part of it with a blue stone set in a soldered bezel.
I have always loved this small dangle, and it has been on my key ring for 12 years.
I like that it's with me whenever I leave the house.
But....I recently realized that 12 years of actively carrying my key ring was taking its toll on this little boat.
When it was made, my son punched a hole in the copper square so a key ring could be attached.
Those 12 years of jangling around in my purse and on my wrist had worn down the outer edge of the punched hole, and I knew that I was at risk of losing this little piece of my heart.
Any repair work had to be done without heat (no soldering) to avoid reflowing the existing solder and to protect those 12 years of patina.
I also did not want to do anything that would detract from my son's original design because it is just too wonderful.
I cut a square of copper from a sheet that's been in my studio for a few years, so it already had a nice patina.
Holes were drilled in the corners of both my son's piece and the new square of copper and the two layers were riveted together with little segments of 18 gauge sterling wire.
I was extra careful with my riveting hammer to avoid making unwanted marks.
With the two layers securely connected, I drilled a hole through the new copper backing.
Done....and back on my key ring with new confidence that I won't lose this special keepsake.

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