Winter’s over, time for some updates!
I really like shiny things. I decided I needed more shiny things, but pretty shiny things are extremely expensive. I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone and learn to make more shiny things myself, while saving some money. I chose to make a circlet for myself because it gave me the opportunity to make something particularly visible and gaudy. I used sterling silver, 14k gold, and fine silver, because only thralls wear brass, and chose sapphire and amber cabochons to mount on it, because my arms are Or and Azure. I chose to use seven gems, for the simple reason that seven is not six – I do not want this mistaken for a Baronial coronet.
I first amassed my materials, then used a small ball pien hammer and a 15 pound anvil to give the entire body of the circlet a hammered finish. This serves several purposes: it’s aesthetically pleasing, it work hardens the metal, it hides a number of flaws in my workmanship, and it removes the need to laboriously polish to a smooth mirror finish.
I then began attempting to solder the silver roping to the strip. This failed. Not knowing why, I reached out for help on social media, and was contacted by Master Artemius Andreas Magnus, a Laurel in the nearby Barony of Delftwood, whose areas of expertise are jewelry making, stained glass, and lapidary. He invited me to his home and shop for a private class on jewelry making (and some fine fajitas as well). After learning the many things I did wrong (wrong torch, wrong flux), learning the many things I should do differently (use different grades of solder, pickle my work to remove fire scale), and getting some hands-on practice in his shop, I returned to my shop to buy new tools and begin anew.
Using the techniques taught to me by Master Artemius, I was able to produce better results. I soldered the roping to both edges of the strip, then bent the strip to fit my head, and soldered it closed. I then marked out where my gems would go, and very slightly bent the gold discs so they would conform to the curve of the circlet. The discs were soldered in place, then the bezel cups were soldered to them.
Once all the soldering was done, the circlet was left overnight in a chemical pickling bath to remove the discoloration from the torch and flux. Upon removal the next day, it was covered with a fine white residue. I removed this on the inner surface with a wire wheel brush, and on the outer surface by hand buffing it with a green abrasive (Scotch-brite) pad. Once the residue was removed, I used my pedestal buffer charged with a brown medium abrasive compound, then with a fine green polishing rouge, to give the piece a final polish.
After all polishing was done, the gems were mounted in the bezels. A small drop of superglue was placed in the bottom of each as a safeguard against accidental loss, the gem inserted, and the bezel made secure around each gem using the specialized bezel mounting tools.
Finally, a piece of soft brown leather was cut to line the inside of the circlet, both for comfort, and so that I did not have to polish the inside. The edges of this were folded over and glued down, to present a finished appearance, and the strip was glued inside the circlet.
This was entered into the A&S Pentathalon at Ice Dragon in 2018. Full .pdf documentation here: Circlet