Claire started our Beginners Silver Jewellery Course in January 2017. By the time she got married in September she had made her own wedding rings and gifts for the bridesmaids! I asked Claire to share her story with us, so grab a cuppa and dive in!
Claire and her beautiful bridesmaids
Why did you start jewellery making?
I started jewellery making as its been a keen interest of mine since I was a teenager. I have always been a creative person and thought of doing something that was just for me , to learn new skills and make silver jewellery while working full time still ……..i jumped at the chance. I also wanted to gain new skills so I could in the future make and sell my own silver jewellery.
What was the first silver course you did and why did you choose Hampshire School of Jewellery?
The first course I did was the Beginners Silver Jewellery Making course, last year. I was very excited to go to my first lesson and knowing I was going to do something new and exciting after my 9-5 job made the working day much more bearable! I still remember my first lesson where we all made our first silver rings, I was very excited to show loved ones what I’d made in two hours and how easy it was.
The main reasons I chose the classes at Hampshire School of Jewellery were the accessible lessons at different times ,the variety of lessons and courses available and also the small class sizes attracted me as you feel like you are learning more from Laura.
Claire’s silver and copper locket
What has been your favourite technique to learn so far and what else are you looking forward to learning?
My favourite technique would have to be silver work especially texturing silver with a hammer , I just love how such a simple task of hammering silver can make it look so much brighter and different. I would also have to say making various different style of rings has been my favourite technique I’ve picked up.
What is your favourite material to work in?
Silver and copper either alone or together are my favourite materials as with simple sawing and texturing you can change the way they look very easily. I also find them quite easy to work with.
How did you make your wedding rings?
During my time in the Intermediate course I was due to get married and Laura and my self had a brilliant idea of making both wedding rings and also my gifts for my bridesmaids.
For my wedding ring I wanted to stick with the same material that my engagement ring was made from, platinum. I didn’t want a plain band I wanted something that would catch the light and stand out against my engagement ring, so we got a plain platinum d shaped ring and I added the brightness to it by hammering it to add light and texture, after a couple of lessons my ring was complete.
The weddings rings
For my husbands ring he wanted something low maintenance and a hard wearing metal, so Laura suggested titanium I wanted to add something to to the plain band so I used emery paper to dull the shine on the ring and to give it a matt look My husband was very pleased with both rings, as were our friends and family. It felt great to have something for me and my husband that will last a lifetime that I made myself.
What did you make for your bridesmaids?
For my bridesmaid gifts I wanted something personal to each of them and to match their mint pastel green dresses on the day.
I had four bracelets and charms to make, Laura had the idea of making the round charm discs from silver clay. Which I hadn’t used before but Laura advised I could make the charms in one lesson. It was great to learn a new skill using silver clay and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. I then personalised the silver clay disc charms by using an initial stamp on each of them we also added an engraved print to the other side of the charm to add some texture. We finished them with a turquoise bead that I attached to a silver bracelet chain with silver wire. After a polish they looked amazing and I couldn’t wait to give them to the bridesmaids on my wedding day.
The Bridesmaid Gifts
What was the reaction when they opened their gifts?
All the bridesmaids and the flower girl loved their bracelets and were shocked that I had made these for them, it was one of the best things I’ve made especially making something for other people.