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Silver Fishes

New Sterling Silver Fish Pendants and Earrings

I’ve been nursing these designs for a while, sketching them out and refining them. I wanted to make something reflective of the beachy feel of coastal Cornish towns like Falmouth. Something fun but wearable that would sit well with all the stripey, seaside clothing that I see here in the summer:

These sterling silver fish began life as wax carvings. I got into working with wax a couple of years ago and it’s a wonderfully quick, expressive medium – I know that I’ve sung its praises on the blog before!

Working with wax is incredibly forgiving, cut too much away and you can just melt some more on! For me wax is a fantastic bridge between a drawing and metal as you can turn the carving around in your hands as you work, fully appreciating the emerging 3D form.

Wax Carvings

From here I send my wax fish to a casting company in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter where they are added into their lost wax casting process – going from wax to silver. I then hand refine these raw castings, perfecting the master patterns which are molded for re-production.

The moulds made from these master patterns allow me to build whole shoals of little fish. I have them cast to order by a small, family company who make a point of using recycled metal in all of the silver work that carry out for small jewellers like me.

Cleaning my castings:

Back in the workshop I cut away excess metal from the castings then file, sand and polish each fish by hand. Though the fish come out of a mould they’re all very slightly different as small flaws occur here and there and the pressure of my hand on the sandpaper varies across the day.

I make links to hang the fish from with silver wire, wrapping it around a drill bit to make them uniform. I cut the rings loose from the spool with a saw before they are fitted to the fish with pliers and individually soldered into place:

As soon as they’re assembled the silver fish are ready to wear. Personally, I like jewellery that I can leave on for days, sometimes weeks at a time – so I’ve designed these to be sturdy and wearable with just enough movement in them to make a statement.

Fancy a closer look? The fish are on my Etsy store here.