Silver Shells

One of my friends had been on a long trip to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. She collected some souvenirs but was limited to what she could collect due to travelling around most of the time.  One thing she kept was a shell that she found on a beach in New Zealand. She asked me if I would make into a piece of jewellery for her. At the time she gave it to me I had just finished 1st year General Course and hadn’t started in Jewellery and Metalwork so I knew I would have to keep it safely.  At the end of the semester this year I had time to have a look at the shell again and think about what I could do with it.  I decided to set it in silver and started to make a setting for it.

I spoke to my friend and mentioned that there was a possibility that the shell would break whilst working with it. She totally understood and told me that it wasn’t a problem.

I played around experimenting with casting with two 3rd year Jewellery students: Fay and Deanne who were kind enough to spend time with me. I cast the shell in pewter and it looked lovely.

I did this as an experiment and to learn a bit about casting, never thinking for a minute that the cast would come in very handy.

The  silver setting for the shell was ready and all I had to do was set the shell into it.  I was getting on well until I must have pushed a fraction too hard and the shell broke in half!  I was really disappointed with my attempt.

I though about how I could rescue the situation and wondered if I could set the pewter shell instead of the original one. When I met up with my friend I told her the story. She wasn’t surprpised as I had pre-warned her what might happen and she really liked the pewter casting of her shell! I carried on making the pendant, setting the pewter shell and santinising the surface of the cast and I added an extra silver wire decoration ( which I later removed)

I finally added a pearl as a finishing touch and my friend was delighted with her pendant.

She’s now on a trip to America for 5 weeks and she is wearing her pendant on her travels!
I wonder what she’ll bring back this time? I cn’t wait to find out.


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