Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Latest Piece: Granulation + Keum Boo

I have been wanting to combine the techniques of granulation and keum boo. I love both, and they both add such great texture, shine, detail and pattern to jewelry pieces. I had 2 marquis-shaped opals, bought separately but very close in size and color, that I've long wanted to use, and had thought up a design plan recently....

I wanted to create a template, since that usually results in a better product- more uniform, even, and polished-looking. Even better, I used Illustrator to measure the exact size of the stones I'm using so the template was more accurate. Even though I like to plan things out, things happen during the construction process that I'm open to, and sometimes I make changes. More often, it's about leaving the interpretation of a sketch open to variations, depending on how the design process goes. I like having a plan, but I also like having the opportunity to 'see how things go'.

Happy with the template, I cut it out from cardstock and traced it onto 24 ga. Argentium, since I'd be granulating. I cut, filed, and sanded my base sheets.

I first created the bezels and fused them onto the base sheet. I then decided to use the 'coins' at the top, since they are lower and wouldn't obstruct the bending of the bezel walls while setting the stones. I liked that the 2 rows of granulation were different but the same- one row with granules, one with coins, but they mirrored each other nonetheless. Above is a pic of them once they were fused to the base sheet.

Next I created the earwires and soldered them onto the back.

Here I folded the earwires and created a notch of wire on the back of the earrings for security. I then plopped them in the tumbler with fine abrasive to smooth them out and give them more of a surface for the keum boo to stick to. This was an experiment; usually I fuse the gold foil on a more polished surface. 

Next the keum boo process: cutting out the triangles of gold foil, placing them, burnishing them down while on the hotplate. It was challenging to burnish so close to the granules. Next time I'll leave more space. I then dipped the pieces in liver of sulfur. I think the fine abrasive texture helped to create a darker patina. I then buffed the high points of the granules and coins with my blue satin 3M disk.

I set the stones and compared the finished product to the sketch. Not exactly the same but similar in spirit and the design idea is still there, even if the execution allowed some variation.

Every piece I make is an experiment of sorts. Sometimes I have questions when I finish. Should I have polished the earrings more? Sanded down the coins so they were smoother? I like creating modern pieces that are inspired by antiquity. Are they too much antiquey and not modern enough? Would they look more modern if they were polished? Should I have used another layer of gold foil? Should I have oxidized them less? 

Next go around with a similar piece I will try polishing more, adding a second layer of gold, and oxidizing a bit less to see if I can add some better finishing touches.


  1. Beautiful work! Has a very Egyptian feel to it which I love. You have a new follower! xx

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