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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 http://www.etsy.com/shop/jinkles  Image