How it all began

My first make was a necklace, made of dried honeydew melon seeds that I dyed with food colourings and threaded onto elastic. I believe I was about 7 at the time and had forgotten all about this until many years later I bumped into an old schoolteacher who said that she remembered me for my multicoloured necklace. I also vaguely remember having a kit where I glued a pretty filigree end cap onto a piece of what I now believe to be green moss agate gemstone to make a pendant. I seem to remember the piece of stone being curved and smooth and very tactile.

Jewellery never really figured in my life for a long time after this, I had kids and went to work to pay the bills and only wore the pieces I was given as occasional gifts. Then changes in my life meant I was socialising a lot more, dressing up to go out and costume (or junk) jewellery was widely available, I loved having different pieces to go with different outfits. I bought myself some basic tools and took pieces apart so I could turn them into different designs, or I would add extra beads and embellishments to make something unique.

I do like things to be colour co-ordinated though and would not be happy if I had a outfit with no suitable piece of jewellery and I’m not really a lover of a simple pendant. I decided that an unusual chain would be a good ‘go to’ piece of jewellery, something that still caught the eye but was easy and comfortable to wear with any outfit. I had also decided by this point that I preferred the look of silver to gold so when I saw a silversmithing course available at a nearby school I signed up. I had a design in mind but no idea how to make it, unfortunately the teacher didn’t seem to understand my design and I spent half a dozen evenings making something that wasn’t right. I did however learn a few things about silversmithing and realised I was keen to learn a lot more.

A few weeks after starting the course I found a new day job and had to move house, too far away to be able to attend more lessons. I had caught the silversmithing bug but couldn’t find any lessons near me, so with the help of my family buying me tools as gifts for birthdays and Christmas I began to teach myself, using youtube, books and a lot of trial and error. Eventually I worked out how to make my original design and my Square links chain necklace came to be. It is not made perfectly, mistakes were made along the way but it is so satisfying to wear it knowing how much effort went into learning how to make it.

Posted by Gill Melly on October 26th 2020

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