forging mother’s jewelry (bracelets!)

mother's bracelets

Forging these bracelets pretty much touches the core of my love for smithing. The process allows me to start at the very beginning, melting down an ingot of metal. drawing the ingot into stock of the desired thickness, annealing the metal (heating it up), quenching the metal (cooling it down), and slowly forging the metal into the shape of a bracelet.

in this photo you see three bracelets, the first two showcase the birthstones of her four children. the third bracelet has the birthstones of husband and wife.

a perfect trio to wear forever.

four leaf clover pendant

lucky four leaf clovers

whimsical is not a word I would use to describe my jewellery, however when I forged a little four leaf clover for my cousin this christmas, I found myself feeling so … happy … it would seem that forging a good luck trinket was just what I needed to bring a smile to my face.

just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, I have 21 four leaf clovers to share with all of you who wish to spread a wee bit of good fortune this March, with free shipping this week to boot, so click here to get yours! (they are also the first trinket now available in my being-remodeled online shop– which is a story for another day. the peace signs, zodiac pendants and everything else will be up again soon)

sterling silver four-leaf clover pendantsunlike the rest of my trinket line, these charms are forged solid (rather than the outline). starting with an ingot of silver, I hammered the metal flat, cut out the rough shape of the lucky clover and then began filing until my four leaves had that happy heart shape.

did you know that according to legend, each leaf of the clover represents something?

the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck.

i love that :)

I am half irish, (with the temperament to prove it), and I remember my grandfather saying, “you know, the irish are historically an unlucky folk, but the grand thing about them is that they just don’t know it… they believe they’re lucky, and therefore, they go about life with a smile on their face.”

four leaf cloversto me that pretty much sums it up. luck isn’t something you have or you don’t have. luck is something you believe you have …

so if you believe yourself to be lucky, then just maybe you’ll be able to see the good fortune in the coming of each and every day.

so this st. paddy’s day, may you find yourself with a wee bit ‘o faith, hope, love and luck… and if nothing else, a tasty pint ‘o guinness in your hand!

burl ives, neil young, silver and gold

the kids have broken out ‘rudolph the red nose reindeer’ and once again the song ‘silver and gold’ keeps running through my head.

this has happened every year, even before silver and gold became my career as a jeweler. I have to launch into a good hearty rendition of neil young’s “powderfinger” to get burl ives out of my head :)

but for everyone shopping online, I digress…

a question people always ask about the trinkets: how do I wear my trinkets with my other jewelry?

the answer is ‘silver and gold’, or actually silver and platinum and gold most days.

wearing my 22k solid gold ohm pendant

rarely do I ever take off the emerald cut diamond that john gave me so many years ago. it is my version of my engagement ring. but gold vermeil is my offering this season and I wanted to wear my golden om.

so given the sparkly nature of the season, I am going to wear my golden symbol of calm right next to my sparkly diamond symbol of love. this sets the tone for lots of sparkly silver and gold as the holidays progress

silver and gold….

and now you’ll excuse me as I sing another verse of neil young, burl ives has taken over again.

finally, the ribbon pendant

ahhh, the ribbon pendant.

I have been procrastinating and not writing this post, because i get emotional and then don’t write well at all.

earlier this year, I forged a very special commission: a survivor ribbon for one who is battling breast cancer, from her husband, a gift of love, a pretty, sparkly, solid ribbon of hope & camaraderie, a ribbon that says…I stand with you, I support you.

sterling silver ribbon pendant with rubytender spots were hit as i forged this ribbon.

(scroll down for a better picture but without the stone)

it was quite the process, creating this piece for a most passionate husband.

I hammered in a stone for her, pink for breast cancer, and imagined forging ribbons in a myriad of colors ~ we all have our causes, after all.

of course, i am a cancer survivor myself, six years clear and counting. colon cancer, diagnosed 6/6/06, removed a week later, and forever clear… I believe blue is the color most associated with colon cancer. i see tanzanite in a platinum ribbon for me. now there’s a smile.

I milled my stock out of sterling ingot and created my version of ‘ribbon’. quickly it became apparent that the silver was not going to gracefully bend into a beautiful bow shape, as silk ribbon would. a turning point was needed, I needed a pivot around which I could hammer and forge, a strong pivotal point. I needed a fulcrum.

… and i LOVE fulcrums.

a pivotal point, the point upon which something turns, that is what a fulcrum is. when blacksmithing, you almost always create a fulcrum for your job. I will forge an original curve and then weld it onto a steel table. when ready to turn my steel, I forge around my fulcrum and have perfect curves every time.

sterling silver ribbon pendant

when you’re battling cancer, you need a turning point. the point at which you realize that you are going to be okay. whatever the outcome, you will survive…

my fulcrum came to me post opt, through the morphine haze I heard what the surgeon said after removing the tumor from my colon. I listened to him talk about what the cancer looked like, what everything else looked like, and I turned a corner. I realized that I was going to survive, whatever that meant, I was going to be okay.

everyone who has every had a disease, been abused or forgotten, needs a turning point in their journey. they need to know that they will survive. live or die, they are powerful and they will survive.

believe that all is well, be strong and believe. for someone else, for yourself, for all of those who will someday battle. show support, give support.

so even now as I write, my throat swells, my eyes well, and it is why it has taken so long to share my little ribbon in anything but pictures, but finally I am so ready to really get these ribbons out there and forge right through the tears into the sparkly happy bits of life…

celebrate with me: six years clear!

i am a cancer survivor.

in fact, today as i write this tonight, i celebrate 6/13/06, my six year anniversary of being cancer free. six years ago, 6/13/06 a miracle doctor cut out an egg-sized tumor and 21cm of my colon–

from that moment on, i have never been better. ever.

if you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that this spring was a different kind of magic for me. for the first time i developed a fully production (not custom or individually crafted) line of jewelry in the trinkets and they got a tremendous amount of attention through their appearance on the TODAY show.

what you may not know is that the evolution of these trinkets pulled me through these past six years: the meditation of making each one individually, the people I’ve touched through them and the new friends I’ve made, and the universal meanings and messages contained in their symbolism:

  • the wishbone > our deepest wishes
  • the ohm > our rejoicing in being alive
  • the peace sign > our ideals of harmony & serenity
  • the zodiac > the eternal return of seasons & life milestones

a powerful lexicon for a mother, metalsmith and fortunate survivor of one of the greatest health scourges facing us today.

of course, my heart still yearns for the personal & private immersion of bespoke/custom jewelry design, and the universe granted me that in abundance this spring, too– one commission has actually given birth to a beautiful new life affirming pendant that will soon be an official new addition to the trinket line. (hint: some of you may have seen the photos on my facebook jewelry page last month)

anyway, i want to celebrate.

i always do this time of year, and especially this year, so it is with much gratitude for all of this, to the universe and to all of you that I offer my friends and fans my very best wishes indeed.

so here’s the deal:

small sterling silver wishbone necklacejohn made a special page with a special price on the most popular trinket of the Steals and Deals sale, my small sterling silver wishbone pendants.

if you already get emails from me, check them tomorrow morning (June 14) for a message from me with a special URL & password to get a small wishbone at a special price of $66.13 (regular price is $117).

The special is good for six days, or through midnight next Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

if you don’t, click here to sign up for my mailing list and check your email for the confirmation message. when you confirm your subscription, you’ll get the link and the password straight away.

the wishbones have made many powerful connections this spring that have made me so happy to hear, like this post (Facebook again) from my new beautiful friend Michelle wearing her wishbone necklace.

Michelle's wishbone necklace“Grandpa and I had a tradition of breaking the wishbone, I came across this piece randomly and had to have it! It came in today! Truly appreciated, thank you Heather!”
– Michelle

please feel free to share with your friends or anyone you think would appreciate the wishbone necklaces. just like Steals and Deals, there’s no limit, either, so if you need a few extra for gift-giving later…..

be so well,
heather

hand forged sterling spoon

in my packing frenzy, I found a hand forged spoon I made many years ago and thought some of you would enjoy ~

hand forged sterling silver cala lily serving spoon

still the most comfortable spoon to hold, for my hand at least. found the fork as well, but I never felt that I got that one right (the tines are not strong enough)… so no photo is to ensue

these iron scrolls however, are bringing back some fond memories. I think i must have forged the scrolls 11 years ago and i used them to make a table out of some lovely burled maple. they are covered with dust and cobwebs … I vow to give them more respect in our new home.

hand forged iron scroll brackets

and on that note, our new home in redding, connecticut is on quite a bit of land and has the perfect little setup for my gas forge (wedding present from my dad, so many years ago) and my lg anvil. weighing a mere 250lb, my “dropped forged” german baby has been living underneath our front entry way table for too long now, time to get it out, get dressed it dressed and get it dirty.

two stray diamonds for a dusty blacksmith

last night i found two stray diamonds in my jewel tray. funny enough, I had sat down at the bench to make a few improvements to the large forged bangle I have been wearing for years. The bangle, while lovely in its heftiness, was actually just some cutoff scrap, left over from forging a baby spoon years ago.

I had never finished off the ends of the bangle and have always been a bit embarrassed to show it to people (felt a bit like the cobbler who has no shoes)…so imagine my delight when I found that these two diamonds (each approximately .40 ct) fit perfectly in the ends of my hand forged sterling bangle.

i took this photograph with my phone, minutes before boarding a flight to jfk. i say this to convey my new dedication to sharing my work via my blog, facebook (join my facebook fan page here) and to follow me on twitter.

those of you who know me know that such technology does not come easily to me, in the past i would have rather nailed my eyelids to the wall than go through the steps required to photograph my new work and post it online. but times are a changing; the kids will be in school in september and i feel that i am morphing out of baby mode and into a whole new phase of my life. quite exciting actually.

and here is my big news… we are moving to redding, connecticut closer to my family and my beloved city (nyc). a healthy, happy move into a lovely home with a fabulous work studio for me. bright, airy, sunny and best of all, quite perfect for a 250lb anvil and a dusty old blacksmith’s forge.

platinum and steel are such a sexy combination :)

be so well and enjoy august!

heather

the newest trinkets have been forged!!!

oh i am thrilled to finally be able to say that i have forged the first seven of my newest trinkets, the zodiac pendants!

in the spirit, size and style of my peace sign jewellery and Ohm charms, the hand forged zodiac signs join my ever growing collection of symbolic
pendants.

here they are, photographed with my favorite ball peen hammer, the rat tail rasp (round file) that i have become so enamored with while making these zodiac charms, and my anvil (which i am too embarrassed to show to my metalsmith friends… it so needs to be dressed properly!!!)

having always been fascinated with symbols, especially alchemical symbols, the zodiac charms seemed a perfect progression from the peace signs, Ohm pendants and wishbones.

the peace sign originated as the symbol for nuclear disarmament and the Ohm is the symbol of a sacred invocation to be intoned at the beginning and end of any mantra. the wishbone, well we all need to make a wish every once in awhile.

while the origins of the astrological symbols themselves seem to be lost in history, the symbols remain elemental expressions of the sun sign under which we are born. the starting point of each of our unique blueprints.

additionally, for us alchemical freaks, the twelve core alchemical processes are ruled by the twelve signs of the zodiac. (i find all this fascinating and yes, people think i am weird :)

the pendants however, are classic. not corny or literal, the twelve signs of the zodiac are universal and expressive. I am really digging the pendants on a piece of natural rawhide (with solid gold or silver lobster clasp).

on my website, however, the pendants are featured on the traditional rolo chains that so many of you have with your peace signs.

email me if the rawhide chain intrigues, i am always happy to cater to customization!

by the way, the rawhide looks great with a tan :)

starting with leo, the zodiac signs now have their own pages on the website. the remaining five zodiac signs are on my bench awaiting my hammer. so far my sign, aquarius, has been the most challenging to forge (still haven’t perfected the little bugger) and virgo, the sign of both my babies, has been the most fun.

and in closing, may i say a huge happy birthday to my many leonine girlfriends and my mom! leo is the polar opposite sign to aquarius and i do seem to attract the leonine women. the first leo pendant i forged in 18k yellow gold, in honor of all of you gorgeous lions!

be so well and radiant

heather

sterling silver forged bar bracelet

one of my classics, a hand forged sterling silver bracelet.

hand forged sterling silver bar bracelet

I start with an ingot of silver, draw it out with hammer and mill, and forge the bars concave.

the final result is definitely weighty, so sexy on a man, a statement of strength on a woman

this bracelet seems to forge itself to it’s wearer.

as beautiful Tom said…

“Thought you might like to know that the bracelet has fused itself to my being – hard to explain why. People have commented on… how naturally and well it seems to suit me. Feels that way from the inside as well.
”

gr tourmaline stackable mother's rings

stackable, forged sterling silver tourmaline rings

sterling silver stackable tourmaline rings

rarely do i effuse about an image of my work…always seem to find the one aspect of the piece that i would like to change, one more time on the anvil, but this photo really captures what I love about these silver rings.

i see the watery sparkle of the sea in these green tourmalines set in the buttery texture of hammered sterling silver– i love these rings!

this stackable design lends itself beautifully to mother’s rings, birthstone rings and other custom gemstone combinations.

the square top of each band is approx 4mm and the ring shank or round band is 3mm, which makes for a lovely, comfortable weight.

i want to make platinum bands like these with smoky blue, black and white diamonds.

anyone?

hand forged sterling silver baby bracelets

this past week, i fitted two baby girls with their first ever, custom made bracelets. absolutely scrumptious, chubby little wrists, eying me suspiciously, but how their eyes lit up when they realized this lovely band of silver was for them!

i am convinced the magpie gene is in all of us. what baby doesn’t love something shiny, heavy and cool, that is allowed in the mouth!?!

these bracelets are cuff versions of the hand forged bangles i have been making lately.
 
my two baby customers had their birthstones flush set onto the top of the bracelet, however i think i am going to dissuade everyone to set stones until the wearer is a bit older.

if the bracelet has no gemstone, we can size the bracelet for years to come, whereas once the stones are set, the custom fit is limited. so let us add a stone for an 8th birthday, for example.

i am really digging the simple heavy hammered pieces right now.

solid. like the 42 broccoli plants that i am growing, from seed…
one could say, a woman obsessed.

be so well
heather

baby bracelets in spring baskets!

sterling silver bangles at The Picket Fence Shadyside!

Along with everything else, I am so grateful today for the tremendous response to my custom bangle and bracelets idea for the holidays– so thanks to you, everyone who got in touch and everyone who passed the idea onto their friends and family!!

I’ve been having a fun time making the first bracelets and getting a chance to actually speak with new friends and old friends at the holidays; I really can’t think of a better Christmas bonus than that! John’s been taking some pictures in the studio and we put together this gallery of holiday bangle and cuff bracelet pictures for you to check out:

handforged sterling silver bangles in the studio
handforged sterling silver bangles in the studio

handforged sterling silver bangles in the studio
handforged sterling silver bangles in the studio

handforged sterling silver bangles in the studio
handforged sterling silver bangles in the studio

And to round everything out, I’m doing my first trunk show/live event here in Pittsburgh at The Picket Fence tomorrow from 11am to 4pm. The Picket Fence is a fun, intimate little boutique in Shadyside that specializes in bringing unique designer finds for women and kids from around the country to Walnut Street in Shadyside, and so I’m honored to be featured on a major Pittsburgh shopping day– so if you’re out and about in the ‘burgh tomorrow, come down to The Picket Fence to see these pieces in person and design your own custom bracelets or bangles for the perfect holiday gift.

design a custom hand forged bracelet

I awoke to real frost on the ground this morning,
and as we pulled the last of the tomatoes from the ground
and Hunter pulled out the holiday decorations, I thought to myself, 

“Be clever this year, give myself time to enjoy, 

and give simple gifts, unique and special."

I want to offer you a way to create something totally custom, totally cool,
and yet simple, affordable and easy to get done in time for the season,

so I thought of my hand forged bracelets.

These pieces wear so beautifully over time, making terrific keepsakes. Because I hand forge the silver, the bracelets become hard and dense, while the surface stays soft and buttery, polishing itself every day against your skin, and they're simple to customize, too.

Add birthstones, diamonds, no stones… add stones later.

Think simplicity, think significance, and think of the person you are designing for, because like your loved ones, no two of these bracelets are ever exactly the same.

For babies, forged bracelets are fabulous teethers, and become beautiful, easy to wear first bracelets.

All my alchemists moms, remember: chewing on sterling is a fabulous antimicrobial!

Here's my baby Logan modeling hers:

So if any of the special people on your list this year, from the wee to the tall, would think it absolutely fabulous to receive a solid hand forged sterling silver bracelet, designed by you, forged by me then here is your chance!

Just email me, or call me and tell me you who on your list would love a bracelet designed by you (and forged by me!)

Get started between now and Black Friday, (Nov. 26) and I'll take 27% off the price of your custom creation for being the cleverest of my subscribers this year!

Enjoy the change of weather everyone, 

Be so well and breathe so deep,
heather

chunky forged sterling silver bracelets

the gold market is really a bit of a drag these days… especially for a girl who likes to forge heavy.
so i am going to tell you about silver for the holidays.

for my reason why, lets turn to today’s metals market with current precious metal prices:
Gold: 1339.00 ↑ Platinum: 1673.00 ↓ Silver: 23.71 ↓ (the little arrow indicates up or down from yesterday).
all you need to know here, is that gold is pricing seriously high, and silver is so affordable.

so my solution for all of you who want to impress with a custom piece of jewellery for the holidays?

go silver and go chunky.

been forging some of my old classics and reinventing the styles by milling out a bit more silver than before, being a bit bolder and weightier.

here is are a couple of photos of recent forged sterling bangles, with and without stones.

so for the holidays, i see silver chunky bangles, bracelets and cuffs.
a custom forged bracelet for someone special, designed in an easy, affordable, yet totally custom way.

i am working out a way to make “custom” affordable and accessible to the most people i can this holiday, especially my fans and subscribers.

look for my next post, when i will share with you all the details of my “design your own” online holiday trunk show, where you can easily design custom bracelets for holiday gifts

so get your designing caps on and get thinking about a special holiday gift for those on your list. mom’s, dad’s (yes, i do bracelets for men!), daughters and of course, yourself!

the sooner i get forging, the easier your holiday shopping becomes~