When my kids were small, they enjoyed playing with rubber stamps. Of course, I sat at the kitchen table and stamped right along with them. I especially enjoyed our set of alphabet stamps, using them to put together words in irregular, interesting ways. So when I discovered that similar stamp sets existed for putting letters on metal to create jewelry, I had to give it a try. I signed up for a class at my local bead shop; this was the first piece I ever created.
Metal stamped jewelry is pretty labor-intensive. Each letter is placed individually using a metal stamp and a mallet; patina is added to make the letters “pop” and the excess removed with a buffing cloth. Giving the piece a domed shape is also possible; I did this with the “GRANDMA” and “AUNT” pendants I made for my mom and my sister-in-law at Christmas time, similar to this one I recently made for myself.
Finally, I felt that I was ready to hit the big time and work with sterling silver. The prospect was a little daunting; metal stamping is completely unforgiving. One false move and your piece is ruined, and whereas a one-inch copper disc sells for 70 cents, a one-inch sterling silver disc costs ten times that much.
Well, so far, so good. I made another “GRANDMA” pendant for my mom for Mother’s Day
|Each grandchild is represented by a crystal birthstone.|
and a “NANNY” pendant who special ordered it to give to her own mom on Sunday.
|The silver pieces were hard to photograph because they are so very reflective. But this pendant is shaped exactly like the “GRANDMA” pendant.|
Then I made a pendant for a friend’s birthday to celebrate her accomplishment running her first half marathon this spring; she said it was one of her favorite birthday gifts of all time. That made me feel like a million bucks. Here’s a picture of the one I made for myself.
|I chose a black crystal because I wear a lot of back. Other options are pearls and crystal birthstones.|
I am hooked. I am saving my pennies for a set of alphabet stamps in a fancy font; I have tons of ideas for future projects. To quote Louisa May Alcott, I like good strong words that mean something. And now I can use them to make jewelry that means something.