Thursday, February 15, 2018

Making a Stamped, or Etched, Focal

Many of you have asked about the process to make a stamped focal. I still make them the old-fashioned way. I like the heavier weight. I think a heavier gauge of silver or copper, gives a nicer look to the finished product and, hangs better on the neckline and wrist. I forge two cuts together to get the heavier weight. For those who do not know how to smith metal, a machine stamped focal can be purchased from a jewelry supply house. They are a thinner finished gauge (because they are machine stamped) and they don't hang as well on the neckline, but they are available if you want to offer a low cost product. 

Most market and show organizers do not have a background in art and can't tell the difference between machine made and handmade jewelry: If a business starts with pre-made focal pieces and a market accepts that, it is not technically handmade, but the door has been opened and the time and effort saved on smithing from raw materials will be substantial to the business. I am not condoning being deceitful, in fact, it upsets me when I see new businesses who say they are handmade when they are, at best, hand assembled. But, that is the reality that has surfaced in craft shows and markets. It comes down to; how passionate the maker is about being authentic, the ethics of the maker, and the intelligence of the consumer.

This is my process:

Step 1. Cut two equal pieces of metal

Step 2. Forge the pieces together

Step 3. Stamp, or etch, your words or design        

  Step 4. File, drill, sand, and form the piece

Step 5. Patina, polish and finish

And that is how I make a stamped, or etched, focal. Thank you for visiting!

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