Monthly Archives: July 2010

Life is an Adventure

Written by : Posted on July 27, 2010 : 8 Comments
Fire Opal Gold Pendant

Fire Opal - An Inner Flame of Vitality (Photo: Kiff Backhouse)

The term “adventure” is often associated with risk and danger. My own interpretation of adventure is that it’s a fun and exciting opportunity to live a great life – with some risk and danger thrown in for good measure!

Patterns of Success

Once upon a time, I had the trappings of a successful career woman, living very comfortably. Heavenly holidays, sumptuous restaurants, new clothes – you know the sort of thing. I’d achieved respectable qualifications and secured senior roles through results based merits. My life had a pattern that it’s easy to associate with success.

However, I didn’t feel fulfilled. Many of the really fun things, the adventures, had to be squished into the small spaces that were left after I’d given enough of myself to my work. The balance wasn’t right.

I met several inspirational people along the way, some of whom are now my closest friends. However, whilst I was interested in doing my job well, I wasn’t passionate about the work itself.

Choose Your Direction

So I took a risk and changed direction! Now, in truth, I can’t tell you that this happened in a calm and timely way – rather, my impulsive nature stepped in and things began to happen. I left my work and changed course. As part of that, my husband Chris and I also moved to France!

Be Yourself

I’m now doing what I love. Creative and mechanically inclined, I’m fascinated by the challenges and rewards of being a goldsmith; and there will always be challenges as I’m someone who wants to keep exploring and trying out new ideas. When I’m in my workshop, I lose track of time. I’m fulfilled. My designs are inspired by the fascinating path of life, the secret patterns of who we are. We are each of us unique and my creations celebrate that individuality.

These days, my work and my adventures are now bound together, they have become one. I’m living my life the way I choose to and take delight in meeting interesting people from all over the world.

Each piece of jewellery that I create is made with a passion. A passion for life – my passion for life.

Stone Setting

Written by : Posted on July 25, 2010 : 2 Comments
Setting a Stone

Traditional Stone Setting

Bringing Jewellery to Life

Setting the stone unites the stone with the jewellery creation for which it was designed. This is usually the last process involved in creating a piece of jewellery.

The union of the stone and its setting brings the jewellery creation to life. So much so, in fact, that it’s sometimes difficult to resist just popping the stone in for a sneak peek before all the work on the actual creation is complete! However, the risk of the stone getting stuck is too great and it needs to be kept away from many of the processes preceding the setting. Each jewellery creation calls for the transformation of gold and silver using a variety of skills, tools and techniques, many of which would harm the stone.

Traditional Skills

When incorporating a stone, I favour what is known as the “rubover” setting. With this setting, the stone is held in place securely by a continuous band of gold which is, literally, “rubbed” over the the edge of the stone. In my workshop, this “rubbing over” is achieved the traditional way using a setting punch and a chasing hammer.

Sensing the Rhythm

Firstly, the band is pushed gently over the stone in four points equally spaced around the stone. Then, a series of continuous and rhythmic taps of the chasing hammer deliver the required force to the smooth tip of the punch, easing the gold over the entire outer edge of the stone. Manipulating gold in this way, little by little, is one of the many satisfying aspects of being a goldsmith. Seeing and feeling how gold responds to the forces applied means I can make fine adjustments for a perfect finish.

A Creation to Cherish

After a final polish, the creation is complete and ready to be cherished!