Cufflinks and Pendants
Alan had his late fathers chain; his father had worn this everyday. Alan wanted to transform this piece into a pair of cufflinks for himself, and pendants for his five daughters.
The chain was solid 9ct yellow gold, so there was plenty of metal to work with.
Here is the first stage of the process; melting and pouring an ingot. Louise takes of photos of this stage, so our customers can actually see their gold melting and being poured. Reassuring them, that the gold they get back, actually IS theirs.
First the ingot moulds are warmed up by the flame, this stops the gold from spitting – which can happen if it’s poured into a cold mould. The temperature change from hot to cold can make to gold explode! – Definitely not what we want happening!
Then the chain is melted at high temperature back to liquid gold – something we could stare at all day!
Once liquid, some flux is added to help burn off impurities and ‘clean’ the gold – this is especially important with a chain because there is solder in each link. The crucible lip is heated to red hot, to help ensure a good pour. Once poured, it’s time to anneal.
Gold becomes very tough when it cools quickly; and it cools very quickly once its inside a warm ingot mould. Tough gold is very hard to rework.
Annealing is when it is very gently heated to cherry red (notice the different flame colour from the torch) and then left to slowly cool. This process can be repeated a few times. You can see the different colour of the gold once it’s slowly cooled. Then it has a dip in the acid to bring it back to the yellow colour we all love.
It was time to roll Alan’s sentimental gold out into a flat sheet. He wanted a pair of cufflinks made for himself, and five pendants for his daughters. Alan wanted round discs with two different laser engraving designs on. We managed to hand cut all seven discs out from his gold, and re-melt the remainder to make the jump rings for each pendant.
Reworking gold doesn’t always work out this exactly!
Alan supplied some artwork; he wanted these robins laser engraved onto one of his cufflinks. He wanted a plain heart outline on the other. Having sadly lost both of his parents within the past 12 months, he wanted to commemorate their joint love of birds. We love that these cufflinks don’t have the same engraving on both sides. (It would have been easy to squeeze a heart shape in with the robins.)
For his five daughters, he chose the same pair of robins on one side, and the heart outline on the other. So each daughter can chose which way round she wants to wear her pendant on any given day. Our laser engraver works best when it can detect contrast, Stuart uses black pen to help the laser ‘see’ where it’s going. This is cleaned off with acetone, before a final polish by hand on the wheel.
I’m sure you’ll agree, that our Stuart did a really lovely job with laser engraving this set!