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making silver pendants

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This is a page on information on making jewellery which will be part of a series of articles dealing with the issues involved. Important links:-

Choosing a Chain

There is no right or wrong design of chain for a pendant as it is entirely a matter of individual choice or style. The only points to consider are firstly the strength of the chain and secondly the diameter of the chain/clasp i.e. will it fit through the pendant. An alternative is a leather thong which is both inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing.

Definition of a Silver Pendant

Pendants can made in a variety of styles and designs. Silver crosses are technically pendants which are defined as an ornament or article of jewellery, hanging from a necklace. Within that definition also falls silver lockets

Designing a Pendant

silver chain being soldered on a charcoal block.

As any model maker will know its not just about the detail but also the practicality of the design. Will that design stand up to everyday use or will its render the structure of the pendant too weak. An example of this would be a pendant of a person. A good model maker would know that its best to make the model with the arms either folded or down by the side of the body. Arms that stick out can easily be broken off. This also highlights another factor in designing pendants and that is to simply avoid sharp or pointed projections that might catch fabric or clothing.

Constructing a Silver Pendant

The most difficult aspect in making a silver pendant is adding a jump-ring or clasp, that will firstly attach the pendant to the chain and secondly allow it to freely rotate. It is not always necessary to solder the jump ring however this means it can easily be pulled apart by hand. As soon as you apply heat to the silver jump ring , it conducts onto the main pendant body thereby fusing the ring onto the pendant. There are various methods of avoiding this. One method is to isolate the pendant from the heat by holding the ring in a third hand (clamp) and direct a small flame at the base of it, bringing the flame up to the top where you had previously applied the solder. For large pendants our silversmith actually leaves the main pendant body in a dish of cold water when soldering on the ring, although for smaller items the isolated item is left on a charcoal block. For making plain silver pendants the task is somewhat easier than making gemstone pendants were care has to be taken not to disturb the dimensions of the mount for the gemstone setting. Moreover any soldering done to the pendant must be undertaken with the gemstone completely removed. A similar method can be adopted for making silver chains as shown in the illustration above.