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My other half – part 1

I bet you thought I was going to talk about my husband, right? I’m not. This post is about a project I’m currently working on, and the thought process behind it.

A few months ago, I took a green jasper to Rock Club (the Lacombe Handicraft and Lapidary Guild). It was too large to use for a pendant, so I asked about cutting it in half. When Harv told me to just hold it on either side and pass it through the saw, I had visions of losing the ends of my fingers. I actually thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. To my relief, he cut that first stone for me.

I shaped those two halves into cabochons and polished them. The designs in the cabochons were mirror images, and they reminded me of yin and yang.

From that moment, they became inseparable in my mind. Matching pendants? I wondered. Perhaps I would name them “Friends or Lovers” couple pendants.

This week, I decided they would become “My Other Half” couple pendants. It seemed fitting–not only because they are each other’s halves, but also as something that could be designed with Valentine’s Day in mind.

“My Other Half” cabochons resting on square silver wire frames

At first, I thought about making perimeter bases out of square 14-gauge wire and doing prong mountings. While that would look really nice, I didn’t think the presentation had the necessary substance and presence for a man’s pendant.

I decided to make frames out of fused Argentium silver scraps. I put some scrap silver on my soldering board, arranged it to approximately the right size and shape, and added flux to it. (Isn’t that a great-looking soldering board? It’s even worse now….)

“My Other Half” scrap wire prior to fusing

I started with my propane torch, but the heat output from its small flame was too low to melt the scrap, so I switched to a butane torch with a much larger flame.

Fusing scrap Argentium wire for “My Other Half”

When the silver cooled, it looked like this–all dark gray and brown from the cupric oxides released by the heat. (Beautiful, right?)

“My Other Half” fused scrap silver frames

I placed the fused piece into hot pickle (acid solution for cleaning heat-treated metal), gave it a light polish with a brass brush, and then placed my green jasper cabochons on it to see what they looked like.

“My Other Half” cabochons resting on fused Argentium frames

Nice, huh? They are a long way from being finished, obviously, but I’m happy with my start.

Continuing with the theme of connectedness, I plan to saw the frame into two pieces, file/trim/smooth/polish the frames to make them fit the cabochons and be pleasant to touch, solder them further apart on an Argentium silver base, and then cut that apart. I won’t use a cut line as defined as interlocking puzzle pieces, but it will be obvious that the pendants fit together–that they are each other’s half.

Leave a comment to let me know what you think!

 

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