portfolio | Yellow Gold

heather-reilly, metalsmith | custom jewlery

yellow gold ring with rolling white gold diamond band

yellow and white gold rolling rings

a rather challenging ring to fabricate! the base is a yellow gold, forged concave band. a forged white gold band, studded with diamonds, rolls atop the yellow gold band.

my client, a most lovely woman with a real eye for design, had been looking for a jeweler to realize her vision. apparently, many a jeweler had turned her away! indeed, this was a challenging commission, but in the end, a most satisfying one.

heather-reilly, metalsmith | custom jewlery

platinum wedding band, 18k yellow gold miracle accent

do not try this at home….unless of course you absolutely love stressing about really expensive precious metals…melting and contaminating each other… ruthless.

this platinum wedding band with 18k yellow gold was the final piece in a client’s wedding ensemble.  i had already created her engagement ring and her wedding band.

and while forging his wedding band, was finishing a handmade chain with all the colors of 18k gold and diamonds in platinum.

so this ring was not the thing to, mess up, shall we say….

apparently, i did not think this all through when kris came to me with his wedding band design.  while i love mixing gold and platinum, do it all the time, i have never been quite so ambitious in my endeavors to join such a large surface area of gold to platinum.   these two metals have very different properties and when one joins them, the different temperatures at which these metals become liquid, (read, MELT!!!), combined with the radically different tensile strengths of gold and platinum make joining the metals extraordinarily difficult. top it off with the only drawback to working with platinum, it’s susceptibility to contamination from other metals at temperature…

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let me put it this way.  in conversation with three different jewellers, each one said they would have turned the job away.  well now they know where to turn… smile

i had forged the whole platinum band, made the gold band to fit perfectly next to the plat, and proceeded to join the gold to the platinum with solder.   proceeded being the wrong word…

in a flash, the gold covered the platinum (like a cheap suit) and the platinum took on the appearance of a clinker, in the bottom of your coal fire.  sorta like a heavy piece of lava rock.

lovely…

without boring you with the rest of the details, let it suffice to say that after lighting a candle, shedding a few tears, lighting another candle and saying a hail mary for good measure, i somehow managed to save the whole ring and weld the gold to the platinum.

i have always had a knack for “forge welding” and in desperation, i treated the gold and platinum just as i would treat steel. i hammered the gold onto the platinum before i even let it cool.  and no, it did not stress fracture!

the reason i write about this experience is because it literally is what keeps my craft so invigorating…best way to learn, the big challenging jobs that defy traditional smithing techniques.

this photo shows the inside of the band, i opted not to mess with it, keeps me humble…

and at the end of the day, fire transforms and lives are joined.

be so well,

heather

heather-reilly, metalsmith | custom jewlery

new wishbone rave

new rave, same wishbone.

this was just written last week on my Facebook Fan page by a client I’d lost touch with some years ago, about the wishbone necklaces i made for her back then– you’ll see why I want to share it with you now!

18 karat yellow gold wishbone necklace

“Dana and I are still in love with our jewelry pieces from you, Heather. It never fails that I get comments when I wear my wishbone; one of my all time favorite pendants.”

-Susan Brashears Wacker

heather-reilly, metalsmith | custom jewlery

your pot of gold

finally getting a chance to finish writing out this *great* idea, one inspired by my first custom LifeChain client and brought to you by the price of gold these days.

as we were talking about her individual life chain links and materials and watching the LifeChain videos together (on the phone and online…now neatly republished on my very own jewelry YouTube channel, she mentioned how she loved the idea of “reclaiming” old, treasured gold jewelry that went unworn, and her mom did, too.

(you can see me melting down and reforging gold of my own in the third LifeChain video).

could we make something smaller with their old gold? starting with a particular set of gold bracelets….

now if you follow me and my work and follow the gold market, you know i mean it when i say that it absolutely hurts to quote clients the price of a substantial, hand forged, custom gold piece of jewelry these days. especially compared with gold market of only five or six years ago, and especially as the holiday jewelry gift season arrives.

so it is with much joy that i credit one of my dearest clients with this new way of creating a meaningful piece of custom jewelry. remake your old jewellery into something you will love and wear or create a very unique, family heirloom type gift, just in time for the holidays.

your pot of gold

people always ask me (after they find out i’m a jeweller), what to do with their gold “scrap”:

  • old bits of gold jewelry
  • earrings missing a mate
  • bracelets too twisted to salvage
  • kinked chains
  • jewelry missing jewels
  • old wedding rings

…you know the jewelry you will never wear again.

what’s the gold worth? what can you do with it?

real gold and diamonds have real value, but somewhat diminished if just sitting forgotten in an old jewellery box, and just selling off old jewelry that’s been in your life or in your family forever has always put me off as a concept….

but i absolutely love this.

“do you think she could use my gold to make me something i will actually wear, make something i love
using this gold i’ve had all these years?”

instead of just old stuff, what you really have is your own pot of gold, gold that can be melted, milled, forged and transformed into something that will really reflect her style, something that she can wear everyday, a bangle, pendant, ring or earrings– we’ll find out (that’s the fun part, by the way).

find out more about the “pot of gold” transformation in the Life Chain videos or contact me directly here.

heather-reilly, metalsmith | custom jewlery

silver & gold bangles

I hadn’t made any bangles for a relatively long time, until the old hand forged sterling silver bangle on the



fortunately for my readers, the bangle (even at the really good price through the end of August!) hasn’t sold yet, and you could still get the deal of the year if you like this piece.

fortunately for me, posting this piece up for sale inspired a custom order for a little bit different bangle, which I just finished yesterday in this last round of bench work before packing up the studio for Pittsburgh.

John took a bunch of pictures of all the pieces getting their final polish yesterday, including the platinum ring I posted this morning; here’s the new bangle: solid gold but hammered very thin,with a couple of little 8 point diamonds flush set in the rim near the top:


new custom 14k yellow gold handforged bangle

new custom 14k yellow gold handforged bangle

heather-reilly, metalsmith | custom jewlery

14k gold engagement ring

14k gold engagement ring with sapphireI love this ring– its always so nice to see engagement & wedding ring clients a few years later, and the rings, too.

I made this ring in 2004 before I went to study jewelry in Italy, and just saw it again for a little clean-up while I made them an anniversary ring to go with it!

Here’s the original white gold ring with a central sapphire flanked by little diamonds.

 yellow gold ring with diamonds

and here’s the 5 year anniversary ring in yellow gold with three white diamonds.