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Alison Swindles Jewellery Design

Handmade silver jewellery

Month

March 2014

Enameled Sterling Silver Cufflinks

Enameled Sterling Silver Cufflinks.

Enameled Sterling Silver Cufflinks

This is how I made these gorgeous enameled cufflinks.

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So I started with a sheet of sterling silver 2.5mm thick and then I covered it in masking tape so that I could mark the circle shapes that I needed to cut out.

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For the backs I used small circles and for the cufflink fronts I used larger circles.  I cut these out with a piercing saw using a 2.0 blade.

1970752_10152017776632654_1879607716_n  Here are the pieces for one set of cufflinks cut from the silver sheet.

After I had cut each disk out I soldered the silver wire detail onto the large disks using enameling solder.  After soldering and pickling these pieces I domed them slightly.

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I joined each large disk with a small one using 2.5mm thick wire cut to 1.7mm in length.  I soldered these on using enameling solder as they needed to withstand the high temperatures involved in enameling later.

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Once the cufflinks were soldered I pickled them and then cleaned them up. I also gave them a bit of a polish, ready for enameling.

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These are the cufflinks polished up and positioned on a homemade trivet waiting to be enameled.

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I use vitreous enamel which comes as a powder. The powder requires washing using distilled water and then final grinding in a mortar and pestle. I then applied the enamel using a fine paintbrush, taking care to keep the grains of enamel powder even and not too thickly spread.  The cufflinks then went into the kiln for three firings.  Each firing was about 2 mins and in between firings I let the cufflinks cool naturally on top of the kiln which stops the enamel from cracking.

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The enamel goes through many colour changes as its cools and so it is always recommended to test the enamel on scrap silver first.

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Once I was happy with the depth of colour on the enamel I cooled the cufflinks and then pickled them.  The enamels I used were safe to use in pickle, but its a good idea to check first as you dont want to ruin your work at this stage!

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After pickling the cufflinks I gave them a final polish and they were ready to be packaged up and sent off to their new owner. I also made a matching set of earrings to go with this pair.

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