Alison Swindles

Handmade silver jewellery


April 2012

New packaging is here!

New packaging is here!.

New packaging is here!

My new packaging arrived last week and I’ve been busy taking photos of it all this morning. The boxes have my name embossed on the front in silver and then they have a lovely black ribbon which is attached at the bottom.  The ribbon can then be used to tie a bow on the top, keeping the box closed and your jewellery safely inside.

Think I need to do a bit more practice on how to tie the ribbon into a lovely bow though!

Here are a few taster pictures of my new pieces in their new boxes.  The rest of my photos can be found on my Facebook page at

Along with my new oboe reed necklaces too 🙂

The making of my enameled blue earrings

The making of my enameled blue earrings.

The making of my enameled blue earrings

I made these gorgeous earrings last week and I managed to take a few photos as I went along so I thought I’d share them with you on here.


The first stage was to make the rectangle pieces.  I made these in copper and had them cast by my casting company so that the rectangles are solid pieces.  When I got them back I had to clean them up by filing and sanding them.  Vitreous enamel needs a good clean surface in order to bond properly and not crack off once cooled.

Then I applied a layer of flux, here I am using BJG C1 flux. My kiln was at 810c and I fired for 2mins 20secs.  After this I applied a very thin layer of the turquoise enamel, LJE T217.  Here it is just after it came out of the kiln.Image The colours always look a little strange when they come out of the kiln at first and they change considerably whilst cooling.  Sometimes this is a good thing but sometimes I wish I could just save the colour that they are as I love it.  The pieces are still pretty hot in this picture as the silver is still slightly red. I just put them on my heat tile to cool and it doesnt take long.


This photo is taken maybe only 30seconds later and the colour is changing rapidly as they cool down.  It is important not to rush the cooling process as vitreous enamel is glass,and so will crack if it is cooled too quickly.  I can usually handle the pieces and add the next layer after about 10-15 mins.


In this photo I have added the next layer of enamel and the pieces are sitting on top of the kiln to dry out.  This is because if I put them in the kiln with even the smallest amount of moisture in the powdered enamel, then this will cause the enamel to crack as well.  I usually leave pieces on the top for 10mins or so, depending on the size and amount of enamel but once the powder is completely  dry then it is safe to put the pieces in the kiln.


And here they are after their second layer of enamel, still not quite the right colour as they are still cooling down.  The next stage is to file the surface with a carborundum stone which gets rids of any speckles of enamel powder which have gone onto the wrong parts.  I then use wet and dry paper to prepare the metal surface for polishing.  Then its back in the kiln again for a firing to give the enamel a good glaze again (the filing and papers dull it by scratching the surface).  Image

I then place the pieces into the pickle to get rid of oxidisation.  Once they are cleaned in the pickle it is time to drill the holes in the tops.  For this I use my pendant motor and a 1.2mm drill bit.  I then polished up the pieces and attached the earring wires.  I then packaged them up in one of my logo’d boxes and they are all ready for their new home.

And now the earrings are ready to be listed in my online shop at  Image

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog.  Here I am going to share with you my journey of creating my own handmade jewellery business, my other job as an oboist and also general aspects of being me!  I enjoy baking and cooking and also all handmade crafty things and I am a single mother to my six year old son, so it will be a mix but hopefully you will find bits to interest you.

I did an evening course in silver jewellery in 2007 and thoroughly enjoyed it so I thought I would take it a stage further and do a 3 year fulltime degree course as well.  I graduated in 2010 with a BA(hons) in jewellery (2:1) and have been playing with the idea of setting up my own handmade silver jewellery business ever since.  In January 2012 I decided to take the plunge and registered as officially self-employed and I am now working on making this a reality.

I have a website which can be found at

Also a Facebook page

Also a Twitter account @alisonswindles

And also an online Etsy shop at

And now also this blog!

I hope you will join me on this journey and share in the ups and downs of it, which I will now be sharing publicly (eek!)

Alison x

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