Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Silver Dollar Experiment

So it's not too often that I go around experimenting with old coins. But this one was much different. Ever since I can remember, my mom has ALWAYS wanted this old silver dollar placed in a setting so she could wear it as a necklace. When I started taking jewelry making classes, this is one of the first things I thought about.

But one doesn't delve into something like this without quite a bit of practice. So many other experiments were required before I attempted something like this.

Of course the first thing I did was go to the expert, my instructor. I wanted to be able to show off both sides of the old 1879 coin. Erica suggested that I could use only bezel wire to encase the coin instead of soldering the bezel to silver sheet. (thanks Erica!!) It wasn't until much later that I felt confident enough to start this project.

The major problems that I could foresee would be this:
1. Since bezel had to close over on both sides of the coin, I would have to solder the bezel together as well as solder on some sort of half jump ring on which to attach a bail. I wanted a more traditional look since this coin was pretty old!

2. The half jump ring was going to have to be attached pretty much in the exact center in order for it not to appear lopsided after I pushed the bezel around the coin.

3. How was I going to make a bail, solder it together while being through the already soldered on jump ring? AND no melting! Anything is doable, but I did not want to pull my hair out!

The first attempt at this was, I suppose, practice. I ended up having to pry off the bezel. No harm done though. It was rather tricky to balance the half jump ring on top of the bezel without it being blown off...but it worked! This was the hardest part. After slowly pushing in the bezel ever so methodically on opposite sides of the coin I had to decide what to do about a bail. After soldering three pieces of wire together I cut and sanded and cut and sanded some more, eventually coming up with a tapered bail that wrapped through the ring and fit nicely on the back.

As you can see in this picture, the coin had a
lovely patina that had appeared over time. It was a beautiful mix of a lovely colors including greens and a deep orange. Although I loved to be able to see the definition and detail, I know mom loves shiny things. So I ended up shining up the coin for her liking. The bezel blended very nicely with the coin. So well that it's somewhat hard to see. I think it turned out beautifully. I think you'll did!

1 comment:

  1. What a good idea to wrap it in a bezel. It looks great.