Taking a design from digital sketch to tangible object is a rewarding process, and the Custom Sea Turtle Pendant was no exception.

The first step in making this pendant was etching the Argentium Sterling Silver for the body of the pendant. The basic concept for etching is to apply a resist to the surface of the metal in some areas, and leave other areas uncovered. The uncovered areas will be exposed to a corrosive substance that will etch away the metal. My preferred resist is laser printer toner, which makes creating my etching designs on the computer ideal.

The artwork is printed out on a special transfer paper, and applied to the metal using a combination of heat and pressure. Laser printer toner is composed of plastic particles, so it can easily be remelted and transferred onto a variety of surfaces – in this case, Argentium Sterling Silver.

Once the resist is applied to the metal, the uncovered silver is exposed to an etchant. In this case I used a Ferric Nitrate solution to etch the silver. After the desired depth is achieved, the silver is removed from the etchant, rinsed thoroughly, and neutralized to stop any further etching. The resist is removed and metal is cleaned.

The next step is to cut out the circles and prep them for forming. The circles are formed using a wooden dapping block and punch. Wood is used so that the etching is not damage in the forming process. After forming the two halves are soldered together for create a hollow “pillow”.

Next I created the setting for the emerald. Stone setting burs are used to cut a seat in the thick-walled tubing used for the setting. The bail is then soldered onto the stone setting. I used a small titanium rod and titanium strips to hold the pieces in place while soldering. The stone setting (and bail) are soldered onto the body of the pendant. Stainless steel t-pins are used to hold the pendant vertical while the emerald’s setting is attached.

With all of the soldering operations completed, the pendant was cleaned and prepped for final polishing. The emerald was carefully set in its tube setting and the touch up polishing was done as needed.

Per the client’s request, this pendant was finished with an adjustable chain that can be clasp at any length from 16″ to 20″. Final photos were shot and the piece was shipped to the client.