I’m having a bit of a love affair with freshwater pearls at the moment. They come in such a delicious range of colours, and the lustre of their surface is really gorgeous. The oval shape makes them particularly useful for my designs – they make excellent berries, nuts and acorns when combined with silver or copper leaf shapes.
The tiny acorn in the photo above is just under 1cm long. The pearl is a particularly lovely one, in a rich milk chocolate colour, but it has dark golden highlights where it catches the light. It’s sitting in a silver cup, made by doming a circle of silver sheet with a brass doming block. It’s threaded onto silver wire, which has been formed into a loop and one end, and slightly flared at the other end to hold the pearl in place.
The acorn is the charm on a bracelet of oak leaves, each cut by hand from a sheet of copper. They look terrible when you first cut them (see below!) – it takes a lot of work with a file and different grades of sandpaper to buff them up. Each one also has to have two tiny holes drilled to take the silver links which join them together. I wanted the leaves to look a bit crinkly, as if the had turned brown and fallen in the autumn, so I gave them some texture with my trusty hammer, oxidised them with a torch to turn the surface black, then buffed them again, leaving the dark oxidisation in the hammer marks to emphasise the texture.
Phew! All that remains then is to join the leaves with silver links, and add the clasp and extender chain, with the acorn charm dangling on the end. Here’s the finished bracelet.
I’ve been thinking about this design for a while, and I was working on it alongside other projects, so it’s nice to see it finally finished. The whole idea grew from that tiny freshwater pearl acorn. You can see more photos of this design, and several others which also feature freshwater pearls, in my online shop.