I recently participated in a Makers’ Exchange. The friend of a loved one - who has access to woodworking tools in a maker space - was looking for a jewelry gift. Knowing their gift recipient adores her dog I suggested a personalized, silver dog necklace.
We agreed to a trade - Me: one custom silver necklace and Them: one wooden pour-over coffee stand. (See photos on Indyspire Art’s social media.)
Upon completion of the necklace, I sent an email to describe the crafting process thinking it might be fun to read from one maker to another. They were surprised. I was met with, “Wow! I didn’t realize what was involved! Are these details on your website? I thought maybe you bought a bunch of dog charms and just stamped an initial onto them.”
You may enjoy hearing about the process as well. Let's walk through it:
I have a product from Rio Grande Jewelry Making Supplies called Cold Mold. It's a two-part silicone mold putty. You combine both parts, working to blend in your hands (it's a clay like consistency), make an impression into the substance, and let the putty cure to become a reusable mold. A while back, I found a vintage button engraved with a dog. Pressing the button into the putty created a permanent cast of the shape and tiny dog image.
Another product I use is precious metal clay (PMC). This truly is a clay made of fine silver particles joined with a binder. I press the PMC into the mold and pick up an impression of the dog to create a pendant. Once completely dry the PMC can be fired in my table top kiln. When fired, the binder burns away leaving an object that is 99.9% silver, more pure than sterling silver at 92.5%. (Something I appreciate about PMC is that it’s created with recycled silver.)
The silver piece is cleaned up after firing, filed and sanded. It retains some of the unique hand-formed clay traits. Using a jeweler's saw, I then cut a tiny heart out of sterling silver sheet. The heart is filed and sanded, then personalized with the customer’s initial choice using steel stamping letters.
I solder the heart onto the dog, then solder a jump ring to the pendant. The pendant spends a few hours in the tumbler and gets some final polishing with a Dremel. It receives a patina, light sanding, and a chain.
These necklaces are beautiful gifts for anyone wishing to honor the bond with their furry friend. They also serve as lovely keepsakes for those who have experienced pet loss.
As always, Indyspire supports the World Resources Institute with every purchase. Sales of pet related jewelry - dog or cat - generate a donation to a pet rescue here in Indiana.
XO ~ Amanda