Craft a Pendant from Scrap Silver

Intrigued by the prospect of optimizing your scrap metal? Engaging with leftover metal fragments can spawn magnificent new items that preserve precious materials. We've crafted pendants adorned with stone settings from scrap silver, customizable to create your unique jewelry designs.

Step 1:

Assemble your clean scrap silver and arrange it on your soldering block. The amount you use will hinge on the dimensions of your stone and your pendant's target thickness.

Feel liberated to experiment – the silver can always be remelted! Use your torch to melt the silver; it should amalgamate into a singular mass. Give it time to cool before immersing it in a pickle solution.

Step 2:

Utilizing a hammer, steel block, and a sandbag, compress the silver mass until it flattens. If your goal is to achieve an especially thin piece, be sure to anneal the metal whenever necessary.

Step 3:

Determine your desired finish. We've filed the Garnet's edge to give it a sharper, angular appearance, while the Topaz has a smoother texture, and the Amethyst retains some hammer marks. We've also sanded the area designated for the bezel to ensure a smooth and even surface for a solid join.

Step 4:

Using the bezel strip and half-round pliers, create a circular shape that's approximately the size of your stone, allowing a bit of overlap. Mold it snugly around the stone, then mark the spot where the metal overlaps. Cut at this point.

Step 5:

Solder the ends of the bezel together. Ensure the join is seamless (it doesn't need to be a perfect circle at this stage if that assists in achieving a seamless join). Place a hard solder pallion beneath the join to prevent the solder from jumping when heated. Heat the surrounding area gently before focusing on the join until the solder flows. Next, pickle the piece.

Step 6:

Form the bezel around your mandrel, checking the stone's fit. If it's too loose, you may need to cut and resolder it. If it's slightly small, you may be able to stretch it by placing it on the mandrel and rolling it on a hard surface. Once content with the size and shape, sand the base until it's flat, ready for soldering.

Step 7:

Now, solder the piece to its base, using hard solder again. Apply flux and place several small solder pallions inside the bezel, right up to the bezel wall. Gently heat, focusing more on the base as it takes longer to heat. If your solder moves, a soldering probe can be used to reposition it. Once soldered, pickle the piece.

Step 8:

Affix a bail to your pendant. Depending on your preference, you can opt for:

  • Drilling a hole for a jump ring: Mark the hole's location with a center punch and hammer. Drill through using a 1mm drill bit. Open a jump ring, thread it through, and securely close, ensuring a solid join.
  • Soldering a jump ring: You can solder the jump ring either after it's been closed or simultaneously attach it to the pendant. Exercise caution, ensuring the jump ring is secured to both the pendant and the solder is closed. For enhanced surface area, file a small flat section on both the jump ring and pendant. If you wish for the chain to pass directly through this jump ring, use your third hand to keep the jump ring vertical and apply solder to the join, prioritizing heating the pendant first as it will require more time to heat. Ensure the placement is correct from every angle. Alternatively, you can solder the jump ring horizontally, where both the jump ring and pendant can lie flat. This might necessitate an extra ring for the chain, facilitating proper alignment when worn.
  • Soldering something decorative: For instance, with the amethyst, I flattened a wire piece to mimic the hammer marks on the sheet metal and soldered it to the back.

Step 9:

Step 9: Cleaning and Polishing - Take the time to meticulously clean all joints, ensuring that they are free of any excess solder by using files and sandpaper. Once the joints are clean and smooth, you can proceed to polish the piece according to your preference. If you desire a less glossy finish, opt for a brass brush for polishing. This step is crucial as it helps to refine the appearance of your piece, giving it a professional and polished look.

Step 10:

Set your stone – Confirm the bezel's top is level and of the right height. If it's too high, it may cover the stone and result in an uneven finish. Sand down as needed. Once satisfied, insert the stone. Utilizing the square pusher, lift the bezel wall up and over the stone without touching it. Start with opposite directions (think North, South, East, West on a compass), which should yield a slightly square bezel. Return to the corners, working opposites again. Progressively work around the stone, ensuring it's smooth and secure. If any movement is detected, continue pushing.

Step 11:

Final Touches - When you are satisfied with your work, utilize the burnisher to meticulously smooth out the edges of the bezel. This step enhances the overall aesthetic and feel of your piece, ensuring a polished, professional finish.

Step 12:

Completion and Assembly - After removing any visible marks left from the stone setting process, proceed to thread your chosen chain through the jump ring. Finally, secure a clasp and an additional jump ring to the ends of the chain. This step ensures your pendant is ready to be worn, bringing your creation to its final, wearable form.