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Monday, May 18, 2020

Reticulation

Hello!

So, the last few days I've been experimenting with reticulation. This is a process whereby you repeatedly heat silver, cool and clean it until you achieve undulations and waves in the metal which are quite beautiful! It originated in Czarist Russia and was used by jewelers such as Faberge to create interesting textures and finishes. Let me tell you, it's completely addictive, if time consuming.

Now, sterling silver is an alloy  and consists of  92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. Repeatedly heating, cooling and cleaning the metal separates the silver and the copper, so that the copper settles in the middle, and the pure silver on the edges. This means that when you heat the final time the copper and pure silver melt at different temperatures -creating waves and undulations in the metal.

Here are some pieces I created recently:-


I used liver of sulphur to heavily oxidise each piece, and then rubbed back so that the detail from the reticulation stands out. Each piece is different, nothing is uniform and you never know how it will turn out!
Let me show you how I created those leaf like earrings. First of all, I cut the shapes out of 0.8mm sterling sheet, and then annealed them, and cleaned them to remove the oxidation by popping them in pickle (a special acid solution).


I think I repeated this process maybe 8-10 times (I lost count!) and then the metal was ready to do its ripply thing... This is how they looked after they'd been cleaned up.


Finally, I soldered some jump rings to the back, oxidised them and rubbed them back.


I love the waves and ripples, as well as the slight curling at the edges. Very leaf like, but with a lunar surface! Moon leaves :-)

All of these pretties will be available in my showcase over on The Jewellery Show in Facebook Land on the 29th May. And I'll be making lots more as I am totally hooked!

Stay safe and well, and I'll be back in June
Sue x

21 comments:

  1. Really interesting with beautiful results x

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  2. Love the results, they are beautiful! x

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  3. I love the textures in your earrings! Thank you for sharing your process-----it always makes the earrings even more interesting.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting :-)

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  4. Thank you for the lovely post - so interesting! And I love the earrings too x

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  5. the components look really groovy and organic. Is there wastage or reduction of weight of silver in the technique?

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    1. Hi Divya. There is a little bit of shrinkage. Most often people will use reticulation on a larger sheet and the cut out the most interesting parts

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  6. Fabulous effect! Thank you for the very interesting and useful lesson too!! These leafies are beautiful. Look forward to seeing many more reticulated wonders!XOX:0)<3

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  7. Oh! These are so beautiful!

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    1. so glad you like them, Linda! They are such fun to make

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  8. These are super cool Sue. I've watched the process demo'd but I've never tried it.

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