We were contacted by Sandy who had a custom order request. She explained that her grandfather had made for her grandmother a bracelet from an old Magnex bottle. She had always wanted a necklace and earring set to go with it but was unsure how to go about having it done. She was quite lucky to have acquired an old Magnex bottle herself and had hoped that I could create this piece for her.
Like most designers I generally have a vision right away but it's not about my vision- it was hers that mattered in this piece. So we talked on the phone and messaged on Facebook until I was sure I understood exactly what she wanted. Then she sent me the bottle- and the bracelet.
This bracelet type is created by glueing shaped pieces of glass to what is called a "blank." The challenge was in finding a matching "blank" that I could create earrings out of. Through a bit of research I was able to find a distributor for the exact blank used by her grandfather. Once I received the bracelet blank I trimmed the blank into two dangling earring pieces. Since the "blank" was not made out of a solid silver colored metal the copper colored base metal showed through- this is often the case with most blanks. Luckily most silversmiths have the unique tools required to hide that imperfection- so for a fee you can have them re-plate the base metal (costs: usually between $20-100).
While the Silversmith was working with the earrings I removed the label and cut the bottles into several flat workable pieces.
I carefully ground down and polished small oval pieces of the blue Magnex bottle to fit onto the earrings created from the blank that I had found. I also ground down a larger piece for the necklace. Careful inspection of the original bracelet revealed that the blue ovals were adhered to the original bracelet with a yellow epoxy. This was important because the yellow epoxy added depth to the color of the blue in the bracelet that wouldn't be achieved if I had used clear epoxy. The company that makes this yellow epoxy had unfortunately JUST decided to stop producing the yellow epoxy as very few jewelers ever use it- but they told me how to mix up my own and it worked like a charm!
The necklace base was created from PCM Silver Metal Clay and fired in the kiln. It's a fantastic product that works like a clay. The clay is created from silver molecules, water and a binder that burns off at high temperatures. Once it is fired in the kiln, it leaves a nearly 99% silver finished piece- at that point I could polish, carve, and solder just like any other silver piece. It's not a cheap product to work with but, for this job, it allowed me the flexibility to match the original style of the bracelets fairly closely.
Final Product Pictures:
What a great piece to complete. I sent the bracelet, earrings and necklace back to her with the label intact and the left over piece of the bottle as well. I was really so honored to be a part of this particular project!
Recycling Is Beautiful