Category Archives: Jewelry Notes

Handmade Sterling Silver "Honey Dagger" Earrings

I call these earrings “Honey Dagger.” A little bit sweet, and perhaps a little bit dangerous! The dangling dagger is actually carefully filed and sanded so you won’t harm yourself or anyone else. However, the quick glance hints at what could be…

Handmade Honey Dagger Sterling Silver Earrings (c) Nancy Lee, 2013, all rights reserved

My wonderful friend, photographer, graphic designer, website developer, artist and all around creative type and good guy, Adam Parsons of  act4 + Krisp made everything look more…well, just MORE!

Progression of Learning – Heavy Bezels

Recently I had the pleasure of deleting myself from my studio and adding myself to Myra Perrin‘s home studio for two days. She was hosting goldsmith Michael David Sturlin for several days of workshops. My interest was piqued by a “Heavy Bezel” workshop. Without further consideration into what that meant, I enrolled myself. It turns out we were doing exactly what the workshop title promised – we made heavy bezels for gemstones. The examples here show the use of 16 gauge (1.25 mm) sterling silver sheet to make the bezel and 18 gauge (1.09 mm) as a back plate.

In the workshop, all of us students revisited measuring with precision and testing out underused Pi muscles. We filed piles of silver dust – hours of carving away metal to reveal the prongs you’ll see in the photos. No soldering here – these prongs were created simply through the careful sawing and the use of needle files and escapement files.

Side View of Bezel
Reverse View of Bezel
Bezel with Temporarily Set Black Onyx

Most of the time I was intent on doing a lot of talking with Michael, Myra, and my wonderful fellow students. I was like an animal led to water, thirsty for not only knowledge, but the sharing of experiences with like-minded metal lovers.  This all led to me not quite finishing the piece I was working on. But, when it’s finally ready, I promise to post a photo of the completed work.
Be sure to check out the photo, below, of the jeweler’s saw frame. Look carefully, and you’ll see a file loaded in the blade location. It represents a tip that Michael passed along. This particular file is called a chenier file, or a joint needle file (and likely known by some more names) and is often used when making a “U” shaped slot into which the knuckles of a hinge are soldered. The edges of this file are slightly rounded and contain the cutting surfaces. The broader, flat sides of the file are normally where you’d see these cutting surfaces. But on this file, they’re smooth, or “safe.” This makes for a very handy tool adaptation to assist in filing level and straight across two bezel surfaces.

Jewelers Saw Loaded with Chenier File

Handmade Jewelry – Introducing "The Ceremony of Tea "

Just finished several pieces in my new line of jewelry called “The Ceremony of Tea.” Completed just in time for the journey to Arrowmont School in Gatlinburg, TN, to fabricate a teapot from metal in a workshop titled “Delightful, Diminutive Teapots.”

Handmade Sterling and Moonstone Tea Ceremony Necklace by Nancy Lee
Handmade Sterling and Moonstone Tea Ceremony Necklace, alt view, by Nancy Lee
Sterling Silver Tea Leaves Earrings, handmade by Nancy Lee

The whole teapot fabrication thing has been on my mind for weeks! Driven to distraction while preparing for the trip, I decided to create this line as a way to commemorate the impending journey. The instructor is John Cogswell, a fabulous teacher from whom I have received instruction twice before, as a student. This time around, I am happy to be participating as Instructor’s Assistant – and also a little nervous. Will I have time to actually fabricate the teapot I am envisioning? Or will all of my time be spent looking for scribes and hammers and sandpaper? Or maybe I’ll have plenty of bench time, yet my pokey, meandering ways will allow the sands of time to drain from my Cinderella hourglass, and and I’ll go home with a spoutless teapot belly with no soul.
All will be revealed to me in due time. Departing tomorrow morning for Arrowmont, as the next adventure in my story unfolds.
In the meantime, enjoy these photos of my newest work! These can also be found in my online shop – click HERE for more info.