Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buckeye Jewelry

As promised here is a peak at what was hiding in one of the other boxes in the pretty present post.

My sister-in-law has been waiting for this jewelry for about two years.  She gave me two buckeyes and asked me to make her some jewlery out of them.  I knew I could make something but I just hadn't been inspired to do anything with them until about two months ago.
I have to give the back story about the buckeyes so you can understand why she wanted jewelry made out of them.  Stephanie grew up in Ohio...that could pretty much sum it up but the real story is even better!  Her Great Grandfather worked as the head grounds keeper for the 34 acre estate at the Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio.  Apparently there are a lot of buckeye trees on the grounds and Stephanie's Great Grandfather would always carry one in his pocket, kind of like how some people carry a coin or a stone.  He had one special buckeye that he carried and rubbed like a worry stone, he carried it and rubbed it for so long that he made a perfect imprint of his tumb right in the middle of the buckeye.  Stephanie's mother still has that buckeye; she gave Stephanie a bunch of others that her grandfather had collected, she has them displayed in a dish on a little table in her living room.  A few years ago I asked her about them, she told me the story and asked if I could make some jewlery out of a few of them, this is what I came up with....a necklace and a ring.
 
 

I didn't want to just drill a hole in the buckeyes and wire it to a chain or just wire wrap them, I wanted to make them more substainal pieces of jewelry.  So I soldered copper foil to the backs of the buckeyes and then I tinned some copper wire and wrapped it around to prevent them from falling out of the foil and then soldered the wire to the backs.  It was really tricky soldering nuts, I had never done it before and wasn't prepared for how much moisture a nut can hold!  I had to be very patient with the solder because it kept "bubbling", the heat from the solder iron made the moisture in the nut boil, but after a little while I was able to get it to stop bubbling/boiling and finally get a smooth solder.  I made the ring base out of copper and made it sizeable so she could wear it on different fingers.  I gave them an antiqued copper patina, I love how the copper looks with the brown buckeyes.  I really like how they turned out and I think Stephanie did too!

2 comments:

Bead and Needle said...

Lucky Stephanie! These are WONDERFUL...I just ran across buckeyes in a store the other day. Great idea, soldering them...as usual, you amaze me! Happy Friday, Mandy - Tanya

Laurie said...

hey Mandi! It's been a while but I was getting caught up on blogs and saw that yours had moved. Loved your strawberry dessert. Will have to try that soon. Hope you and Troy and doing well!
laurie