Silver

SILVER SMITHING

Jack Schmidling Productions, Inc.
18016 Church Road ~ Marengo IL 60152

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I don't claim to be a silversmith but my work in gem cutting just naturally led to making things to put the gems into.

My first efforts were based on past experience with sand casting. The first pieces were simple castings that I sanded, polished and mounted stones in a variety of methods. I then learned what amazing things forging (hammering) does to silver. This lead to table flatware, wine cups, rings and chains.

By hammering or rolling silver in an appropriate manner, wire can be made which can then be soldered and woven into chain.





MALTESE CROSS

This piece represents several of the above techniques.

The cup is a very large, sliver plated brandy snifter, purchased on Ebay.

The 2" Maltese Cross was modeled in polymer clay and then sand cast in fine silver. I then spent hours, filing, sanding and fitting it to the curve of the cup. The central stone is a brilliant cut, saphire colored CZ set in a cone shaped hole and held in place with four prongs hard soldered to the cross.



The prongs were made by drilling holes and inserting silver wires which after soldering, were trimmed, notched and bent over the stone.

The four cabachons are set in bezels made from flat bezel material, soldered to the cross, and burnished over the stones.

The green cabs are Amazonite found in the garden this Spring while tilling and the other two are as yet unidentified stones also found in the garden. They are pearly white with red streaking and look exactly like bloodshot eyes.

The cross with settings was tumbled to a beautiful luster and after setting the stones, the entire piece was gold plated for contrast with the silver cup.






MALTESE CROSS II

This piece uses the same cross as the above but is made into a truly macho neckpiece. The gems are a ruby cabachon surrounded by 4 faceted Cubic Zirconias, all bezel mounted.

The Etruscan chain was woven from .5" fine silver jump rings that were flattened into loops and linked into the chain. Marilyn and I did this over a two week period and called it my knitting.

The final step was to gold plate the cross and chain.






ETRUSCIAN CHAIN

The jump rings were made by casting pencil sized ingots of fine silver, which were then run through a home made rolling mill (a modified Maltmill) until a diameter of .1" was achieved. This was then pulled though a drawplate to arrive at the required .050" wire for the chain.

The wire was formed into .5" rings and solder joined.

The rings are then stretched into flat links which are bent in the middle and worked into the previous one to form the chain.

The size and thickness described produce a really heavy chain that only a man could love.





MARTINI GLASS

This one drove me nuts. I was attempting to make a wine goblet but came to realize that it simply can not be done by casting. It is properly done by a process know as raising. One starts with a flat sheet of silver and by hammering with all the right tools and experience, a cup is formed.

Not to give up on casting, after many bungled attempts, I ended up with a 4 oz cup well suited to a high class martini.





TAKE 5


This was one of the many failed castings. I ended up inverting the mold and feeding the molten silver into the rim at two places and after 3 more attempts, made a cup that wouldn't leak.

The base was then cast separately and soldered to the cup.







FLATWARE

Working in silver inevitably leads one to "silverware" for table use. So far I have made two sets consisting of a rest, knife, fork and spoon.

The handle was plagiarized from a set of inexpensive silver plate we had on hand.

Likewise, the rest was made using a purchased brass piece as the pattern.






In the Beginning....

This is how they all start out. A pattern was made from the handle and polymer clay in a shape that would accommodate any of the three pieces.

It may seem hard to believe, but with a few hammers, and shaped steel tools and lots of pounding, this rough casting can be made into a knife, fork or spoon.






Rings

In a process not too different from the flatware, I have made silver rings from very rough castings.



The basic ring on the left has been forged (hammered) into a shape that will accommodate many different types of stone. In this case, a bezel mounted Amazonite cabachon from the garden.

After the stone is cut, a bezel is formed to fit the stone and soldered to the head of the ring. The head is then ground, filed and sanded to conform to the shape of the bezel.



In the Beginning....

On the left is the clay pattern used to cast the generic ring. On the right is the rough casting made from the pattern.

From this casting I can make a ring for myself or my wife depending on the amount of pounding I do on the tapered mandrel.

In a future addition I will have some pics of the forging process.






MORE RINGS



This picture is a collection of some of the rings I have made using stones that I cut.

The list below identifies them, left to right, top to bottom.

1. Synthetic Ruby, cab cut, gold plated
2. Synthetic Ruby, cab cut
3. CZ emerald simulant, brilliant cut
4. CZ emerald simulant, emerald cut
5. YAG emerald simulant, prong mounted
6. Amethyst, cab,
7. Amazonite cab
8. Unidentified garden stone



#7 and #8 were made from embossed stock, rolled around a mandrel. A cabachon head was then soldered to the ring and the stone set in this. My wife cut the stone in #8 from a rock she found in the garden and was convinced it would make a pretty cab. I doubted it and suggested that she prove it.






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