Sunday, October 19, 2014

Inherited With a Twist

I keep a couple of jewelry stashes on my workbench, waiting for inspiration.
One of those stashes is jewelry that I've inherited.
Anything that's inherited is often something other than the actual item.
Sometimes, there are memories and emotions that might have more value than the item itself.
And sometimes it is just an item that has been sitting on your workbench for years.
When my mother passed away several years ago,
my siblings and I each selected some of her jewelry as the estate was divided.
Some of the pieces that I now have are ones that I have no recollection of my mother ever wearing, like the significantly dented sterling locket and the wide band sterling ring.
I do remember my mother wearing the sterling and onyx bracelet once,
and I think it is beautiful.
It's also remarkably uncomfortable so there's a real possibility that my mother only wore it one time.
In addition to being uncomfortable, it was also broken.
The sterling disc earrings, however, were frequently worn by my mother.

As part of my ongoing effort of pretending to keep a degree of organization on my workbench, I decided that some of the inherited pieces that I would never wear had to find a new purpose.
The dented locket was sawn apart and hammered flat.
Discs were then cut for use in a bracelet that is mid-project.
The sterling/onyx bracelet was dismantled with minimal damage, and I already have a plan in mind for repurposing the pieces.
The 2 rings snuck their way into the photo....dented thrift store sterling silver finds that I bought for $1.00 and immediately fixed with my ring mandrel.
Because I can easily picture the earrings being worn by my mother, I decided to take them out of the stash and start wearing them.
But....I wanted to put my own touch on them.
First...the earwires were terrible.
The gauge of wire used for the original earrings was too lightweight, leaving the earwires misshapen.
Easy fix with new, 20 gauge wire.
I wanted the discs to have more interest, so I developed a subtle texture with one of my files.
They were then shaped in my wooden dapping block, creating a slightly curved surface.
I could have stopped there, but of course I didn't.
Thinking that a bit of color would be nice, I soldered a small bezel in the center of each disc and set serpentine cabochons.
The inherited earrings now have the memory of my mother with my personal imprint.

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